Thursday, December 8, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Grenada Post Office Moment

My sweet Momma sent me a package for my birthday (which was October 12,  about 7 weeks ago). I expected it to get here, oh I dunno, the end of November.

After my birthday, I asked my office-landlady's-assistant-girl which neighborhood post office I should go to if I had a package to pick up. She told me that I wouldn't even have to worry about it: she would get the phone call from the office and she would pick it up for me! Cool!

And November came and went.


Could it be that maybe those jerks kept my package!

So, I finally got fed up and just CALLED the Post Office myself. And the lady's like "Yah! You've got one!"

ACK! If you want something done right, you better do it yourself!

So I bussed over there, terrified of them telling me this package is going to cost $240 or something. I began to feel like I was going to an audition. And all my ex-boyfriends were the judges. Yikes! I took out the big bills of my wallet, just in case I'd have to put on a big show: "Oh, I don't have $50! I only have a $20! That's all I have!" (cue back of hand to forehead)

So I waltzed in there, in my nasty gym clothes (wearing them helps the drunk men sober up enough to recoil) and got the attention of the lady behind the counter. She was actually nice & efficient (by Grenada standards), and it only cost $5.75 EC ($2.14 US)! I got the feeling that the post office folks didn't hate me, but wanted me out of there. Fine by me!

Inside the little box, were Dove chocolates (that were gone two days ago), a birthday card, and a nice, specialized fiber supplement I asked for. I was tickled pink!

Here's the clencher: I think the date of arrival was written on the box: 10-21-11. Sigh.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Week, Part 3/3. Overall, a successful dinner!

Appetizer - slash - Lunch

Dough that's becoming rolls...

Chicken with minced onion & garlic, pre-cooked

Rolls in the oven, for the dough's third rising

Sigh, all your hard work is making me tired...

Halfway done! :-)

All the way done, and half-way gone

My salad, roll, and chicken breast. Yum!

With butternut squash soup!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Week, Part Two

Wednesday: Make Pumpkin Pie! Boil potatoes, defrost chicken.

Sigh, the infamous pumpkin pie. I got everything out before I realized I didn't have a rolling pin. Blurg! Or a shortening cutter. Double blurg! I made twice the amount of pie crust that I needed, making plenty of room for error.

Tried the white/green plastic plate as a rolling pin, but no cigar...

... But the potato masher was an incredible shortening cutter!

Here is my invention of a rolling pin: off-brand Pam wrapped in plastic wrap.   

Success! Thank you Alton Brown for the plastic wrap idea!

Lots of drama to get to this point. I'm glad I made lot-sa crust!

Almost done! Looks... okay.

After a long time of trying that cool finger-pinching thing my mom does to her pie crusts, I forked it! Ugh, now it looks like a trashy diner's chicken pot pie. Oh well.

Don't tell me nutmeg isn't in the recipe for the pumpkin part! I will not have it! It will be freshly grated in the batter regardless!

My moment of anxiety: Did I halve this recipe? Will all this batter fit in my pie crust?

Oh good! Yes it will!

Pie in the oven, chopped potatoes in the water...

Ugh, here's my non-Moonshine yam. It's supposed to be orange! Blurg.

Finished pie product! I hope it's good tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Week! Part One of... lots more posts


I decided to make Thanksgiving Dinner for Ryan and me--ALL BY MYSELF! On account of being far away from family, friends, and Momma's stuffing. This is a rare time when a 25-year-old Mormon granddaughter can learn everything and won't be discouraged from participating in the large extended family pot-luck.

And my rule for this series is: I will not proofread-slash-edit-slash-filter my experiences. It will be difficult. I am a Public Relations undergraduate, notwithstanding. Even though this is a fabulous opportunity for me to display to you all how glorious-slash-talented I am in the kitchen. (Oops, that was filtered, I guess.) This series will show my bumps in the Caribbean Road to Thanksgiving.

I figured this can't be too intense: I have an unlimited supply of free time, knowledge of my kitchen  equipment's limits, an easy-going husband, and a neurotic, finish-WELL-in-advance personality.

The Menu:

  • Chicken 
    • (settle down! A small turkey costs $60-100 EC here. A chicken the same size costs $21)
  • Rolls
    • Must be part or mostly wheat, requires no bread maker in recipe equipment
  • Butternut Squash Soup
    • Should be problem-free... I've made it before...
  • Candied Yams for me, Mashed Potatoes for Ryan
    • Ryan's a potato tramp, so I'm an expert. I've candied yams once, two years ago... yikes!
  • Spinach Salad
    • a foodie's wet dream: Poppy Seeds in the dressing, and bacon!!
  • Stuffing
    • Ick. Pillar of Salt. I'm gonna make one serving, then throw it away. If it's not Mom's stuffing, I'm not eating it.
  • Pumpkin Pie
    • Pie crust from scratch. Never been done before by me. I'm partially terrified. And I have no pastry cutter!
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
    • Strictly for friends. I have no self-control with things like this. Meaning, I think I could eat an entire loaf in 1 hour, and not feel that bad about it.

Monday: Organization Day, Splurge Day.  (85% successful)
    Tuesday: Prepare salad dressing, butternut squash soup, & pumpkin bread.

    Before shaken: looks like Chewey's sick.
    After shaken: yummy dressing, permeating in opium.

    Squash cooking in oven!

    Squash (taken out of the microwave to finish cooking) to be mashed and blended.
    Finished product, ready to be stored away! Hopefully letting it sit for so long will increase the spices.

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread in oven....

    Oh, this picture's much better

    My yam! There was also a brand of yam called Moon Shine.
    Maybe I should've bought one of those just in case the dinner went for the worst.... ?

    Whew! Now off to bed and have visions of pie crusts dancing in my head...

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    The Mystery of Junk Mail...

    I have much time on my hands here in Grenada.

    (I know this the first time all of you have learned this.)

    With this time, I've tried to master areas of fitness, yoga-teaching, nutrition, and homemaking. There is also plenty of time for long, drawn-out conversations about ethics, philosophy, politics, law, and religion with spouse, friends, and acquaintances.

    But right now, my pondering turn to my Spam or Junk Mail.

    There is something, I wonder, about my Internet identity. I seem to be recieving mail from:
    • Wen Hair Care: "What Wen formula are you?"
    • Local Hookup: "You have been invited to hook up for sex"
    • The Scooter Store: "Looking for a Power Chair or scooter?"
    • Men's Health: "Get 6-pack Abs by December!"
    I'm 25 and healthy, so I don't need aid in mobility. I don't even know what Wen is; and admittedly, I love Men's Health magazine, so getting spam from them is not horrible. I am indeed invited every day to hook up for sex, but the invitations are from someone whose underwear I wash and enjoys fireworks.

    This garbage must be very easy to send. And it must be profitable.

    Weird. I guess "there's a sucker born every minute."

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Pills? Or No Pills? That is the Question...

    It is an averse thing to experience one's body secrete its own life source in response to a minor infection.

    It is a doubly averse thing that this response is also occurring during the specific secretion process in which one's body possibly rejects another human soul.

    I am quite incredulous towards this offensive and cruel irony of extreme counter-productivity and weakness. To endure the pain of the body is honey compared to enduring the pain of weakness and an insufficient defense.

    I'm told these small, white pills will temper the minor infection into nothing. However, it will enhance the many premature and explosive effects of such said latter rejection process.

    Honey is easily hidden, but unleashing the angry swarm of bees will surely expose all.

    Now I ask:

    Is it better to entertain one's hubris of staying face and not bring to pass the End of the World before humanity's time, than to succumb to the authority of hundreds of years of research and medical practice?

    To take the pills, or not take the pills, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them?

    These secretions are definitely a sea of troubles.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011


    The thing about me and my embarrassing stories, is that my brain is way to snooty to hold onto any such memory, thus it quietly files it away like some blackmailing office assistant.

    I remembered one today, however...

    Krystal (BF in Grenada) and I went grocery shopping one afternoon. I was excited; today is the day that the store's staff restocks the new shipments of food! And it's just like Grenada--instead of waiting til wee hours of the morning to re-stock when they'd be out of people's way, they begin at 3:30 in the afternoon when the store is already a mob house.

    We weave our way into the produce section--finally! Lettuce! :-)  There's an older gentleman blocking my way to the lettuce, but the cart behind him is totally full of bags of it. Well, I won't get in his way, and I'll help him out by taking a bag so there's one less thing he'd need to restock. Oh, I'm such an angel!

    La la la, havin' a happy day in the grocery store! I finish getting all of my items and head for the check out lines, which are just as chaotic as the aisles. I'm looking for the shortest line, naturally, when I notice the older gentleman I grabbed lettuce from paying for his groceries...?


    Gasp!! He wasn't an employee! He was a customer! And I blatantly snatched one of his bags of lettuce right in front of his face! I stole produce from somebody's grandpa! I wasn't doing a good deed like I thought, I was being a snotty and entitled white girl.

    Oh crap.

    Krystal laughed at my expression; she said she saw and understood the entire thing while it was happening, and he hardly reacted, she made a judgement call and didn't say anything, don't worry Jess, it's not a big deal...

    Moan. He was out the door before I had decided if I was going to go after him...

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Interesting "Begging" Moments in Grenada

    My parents took me to South America several times during my adolescence where I saw atrocious poverty. The trips were very positive experiences, even tho I'd seen starving children and a 12-year-old girl jailed for prostitution. Impoverished people don't look you in the eye; they've aged 50 years; they stink; their teeth are wretched. It's unbelievable, heart-breaking, shocking, unjustified, and confusing.

    Then I moved to Grenada, where there is a different stage of the lack of human dignity. I'll call this form Self-Entitled Demands:
    • I've been demanded a dollar from a man who is wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt.
    • I've been asked for a dollar from a man, who, after I rejected him, then asked for my phone number and which hotel I was staying in.
    • I've seen about a dozen kids running around, laughing, having a fabulous childhood... Stop when they see me, try to self-induce tears, and ask for my leftover food in my hand. Or a dollar.
    • I've had a heavily-muscled guy holler at me from across the street to give him a dollar.
    • I've seen an older woman dump out the same sob-story, while wearing a different outfit every day. 
    • My friend has been approached by the same guy ("Please miss! I'm blind!") several times until she finally had the opportunity to call him out. Once he got frustrated with her: "Take your headphones out! Stop ignoring me!" To which she replied, "If you're blind, how do you know I have headphones in?" She got a stunned silence in reply.
    I've been told by our local security guards, Gary & Dwayne, who by the way are fabulous guys, that most of these people are fakes. Why else do they ask for money from white strangers? Because the folks who live here know they're liars. For example, those particular "begging" kids go to a private school and are kissed good-night by their parents. The older woman goes home to her wealthy son's house to sleep and eat every night. And I'm sorry, but if you're wearing a high-end brand of shirt that is clean and smells nice, you're not starving.

    What makes me the most crazy about these bull-sh*t beggars is that they make things worse for real beggars. Plus, they don't even have the decency to try to con me! They think I'm that stupid! At least in Salt Lake City, the con artists have the decency to dress the part.

    Now, before you get too offended by my indignation, I know that these entitled behaviors are human, not limited by culture or race. I do see a few people who are struggling. There are two really old guys, an old lady, and a 30-year-old guy who I thinks must have schizophrenia. And I get the feeling that the community keeps its eye on these individuals. I think even one of the old men and the old lady goes home to a family.

    I'd want to grow old and senile here. That's a nice thing about living on an island where everyone knows each other and it never gets below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You get to wander around, do what you want, probably leave when you want, and it's highly likely that you're being observed by another human being is who knows you.

    So to rationalize and feel better about all of this, I've donated a little bit of cash to Grenada's "Feed the Homeless" program. I'm definitely not a saint, but I'm not heartless!

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Another Kid's Yoga Moment...

    At the Kids Yoga class that I teach on Saturdays, I mixed up one of the girls' names with her sister's. 
    I told her I was sorry and that names are hard for me sometimes, that I'm not very good at them. To further help this 6-year-old realize my error wasn't personal, and perhaps teach her about empathy, I then asked her, "Is there anything you're not good at?" 
    She looked up at me with big eyes and solemnly replied, 
    "No. I'm good at everything."

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    My delightful birthday!

    Ryan gave me a delightful and simply simple birthday--it was fabulous! I also had many kind wishes via Facebook and email. German pancakes for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and French onion soup & baked coconut shrimp for dinner. Ryan gave me a yoga watch, crazy big chocolate bar, and protein powder. The red guy on the black tub has a cartoon bubble per Ryan that says "I'm strong like Jessi." Ha ha! I also finished my textbook like I'd planned, and didn't clean one dish or anything else! :-)  I have a very full Love Tank.

    Can you see the cartoon bubble?

    The onions for the soup were the most potent my eyes have ever felt. This was my solution...

    Divine French Onion Soup

    Crispy Baked Coconut Shrimp....

    .... with some homemade sweet hot sauce

    Monday, October 10, 2011


    Cute, sweet doggie with his favorite toy

    Psychotic & possessed little beast on the verge of a killing spree

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    A post about running...

    On my run this evening, a guy asked, "Runnin' some fat off?"
    I betcha he's single....
    I wished I'd replied, "No, I run so I don't snap and kill people."

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    I would quit my grocery store job....

     ... If my boss made me wear a Santa starting October 7th!!!

    The music playing was Dolly Parton's "Home for Christmas." So much for Halloween & Thanksgiving.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    "She's going the distance, she's going the speed..."

    The Distance - Cake

    Key moments you know you're not Running-in-the-US anymore:
    • You're just as wet after your run as when you started.
    • Buses honk at you to see if you need their services. 
    • You must say 'hello' or 'good afternoon' to every person you come in contact with. But they can ignore you.
    • Fat girls don't move out of your way, and they try to shoot lasers at your face from their eyes. Sometimes it's scary; you know they could do you damage...
    • On your run, you pass a guy on crutches because his lower right leg has been amputated. Slightly embarrassing, mostly awful. :-(  
    • Comments made by men:
      • "Where you runnin' to?"
      • "Can I run with you?" Only if you're a woman or gay. Or both.
      • "Hello dah-ling! Hello?" 
      • "Take your time!"  I'm confused
      • "Want some watermelons, sweetie?"  Seriously?
    • Adolescent boys on their bikes stare at you quizzically as you pass, while simultaneously not moving.
    • On your run back, you pass all the same locals again.
    • Cars and motorcycles graze dangerously close to you, even though they have the entire Utah-suburban-sized road to drive, and you're halfway in the gutter.
    • When you're finished and stretching, you notice in the mirror that a few bugs have drowned in the sweat on your chest.

    "Welcome to hell yeah, Oh we're so happy that you're here today..."

    Welcome to hell

    For those of you who don't know, Chewey, my sweet and dumb little shih tzu, deals with demodex mange (a type of parasite that gives him scabby and itchy zit-like bumps; it's an immune system thing...) Anyways, his two vets in Salt Lake City that have been practicing for over 20 years each, concluded that this is a chronic condition that we'll just have to do skin-scrapings and medicate for the rest of his life.

    So, now we're here in Grenada, not only dealing with his demodex and my allergies, but also the infamous school's vet hospital....

      1. Overall, it is a preview of hell.
    For 5 years, I worked at a very competent orthodontist office. We employees took a lot of pride in our jobs, especially in our efficiency and quality of customer service. The front desk ladies definitely won the gold stars for their foreheads—they were unbelievable! You could be a patient's mother on the phone with one of them for 4 seconds, and get 17 things done and taken care of. And by the time you hung up, you were felt so good about yourself. Fabulous! I betcha random moms would just call them only for the reason that someone "behind the counter" is on their side.
                There is nothing like that at this vet hospital. What a fool I was to think I could possibly be getting anything resembling the KrisAnne treatment.

      2. The receptionists are the most incompetent workers EVER.
                I have lots of unusual chores down here on the island—making ice twice a day, washing some clothes by hand sometimes, hanging up all the laundry outside to dry while standing on angry ant hills, returning to the grocery store(s) several times a week to see if they’ve stocked cottage cheese yet, ignoring the scurrying cockroaches in our food cupboards, washing dishes at least four times a day in our small sink, and telling our landlord that the Internet is down. Again. Well, I’ve learned to tolerate everything! The only time I complained (went postal is more like it) about any of those last week was when Ryan used up all the ice just so he could put it in water to dump over me when I was in the shower. (Side note: he won’t be doing that anymore.)
                But the one chore I refuse to do down here is call the vet hospital to make an appointment:  (this is my January experience)
    Receptionist: (Phone picks up. Long pause) “Hello?”
    Me: “Uh, hi, good morning! I’d like to make an appointment for my dog please.”
    Receptionist: “One sec.” (Puts me on hold. For several minutes.) “Can I get your number please, I need ask a doctor, and I can call you back?”
    Me: WTH? “Um, okay. It’s 533-1785.”
    Receptionist: “5-3-3…”
    Me: “1. 7. 8. 5.”
    I didn’t get a phone call until the next day. We didn’t get an appointment set until a week later.
    So now Ryan calls the vet hospital to make appointments. Ryan said ordering pizza from the stoned 17-year-old kid gives better phone customer service.

      3. "All the exam rooms are full" doesn't mean everyone working is busy with animals:
                So… Chewey and I show up early for our appointment yesterday, and strangely enough, the waiting room is totally empty. The receptionist (not the same one from the hellish January phone call from #2) tells me that “all the exam rooms are full” right now. I’m thinking, yah, I remember working at a doctor’s office and everything was full, I can be a good and patient patient right now. No worries!
                So I got out my life-saving Kindle to finish reading my trashy vampire book. Then I notice after a few minutes (like 15 minutes) that a vet and a few assistants in scrubs are bringing in some potted plants from outside… and arranging them in different places throughout the hospital. And laughing. And not working. And this goes on for another 15 minutes.

      4. No one knows how to read.
                After a half hour, the receptionist takes pity on Irritated Me and Chewey and takes us into an exam room (that hasn't been cleaned--there's course black dog hair on the metal table). And she’s in scrubs, and she starts doing the verbal physical exam.
                First of all, we just had a physical exam the last time we were here 4 weeks ago. Why are having another one…? So we spent 15 more minutes of me answering all the same questions that I have already answered, because she obviously thinks that I cannot read. And then I have to hold Chewey while she takes a rectal temperature twice because the first time she messed up. So just when I’m starting to hate her for making me an accessory in the anal rape of my dog, she has saved the dumb questions for the very end: “So he’s a shih tzu?” “He’s 3 years old?” Yes, lady, that is what it written on his file. Sigh, I should’ve said “No, Chewey’s a German Sheppard puppy!”
                Then a vet comes in (not the same doctor that has been working with Chewey) and asks me why Chewey is there. Don’t they have the reason for Chewey’s appointment written down in their notes? Ugh! So I begin to tell him why we’re freaking there in the first place all the while wondering why no one has bothered to read Chewey’s file! It’s written down! It’s not my job to tell you what is on your medical paperwork! Then I had a Eureka Moment: the people at this hospital are illiterate.

      5. I hate them so much, I refuse to cry in front of them.
                Chewey was there for a skin-scraping to see if he had any demodex mites. This is the part where they take Chewey out to a different room. Except today. The Illiterate Vet and Dumb Questions Scrubs Rape Lady held him still on the torture metal table while they took a razor blade and scraped off bits of his skin several times right in front of me!
                I looked away, thinking of the comedian sketches I heard that morning from Patton Oswalt and Louis CK, cuz dammit, I will not burst into tears in front of these illiterate, condescending, incompetent, and insensitive people.

    Chewey and I are set free 2 hours later.

    This is where bad people go when they die.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Fish Friday

    This weekly outing with the girls is one of my top favorite things I look forward to... Today's catch was sailfish, mahi mahi, tuna, and red snapper. Krystal (black hat) came for snapper--an incredible white fish. Sarah (white shirt) came for mahi mahi.


    (It's hard to obey that rule sometimes)

    The ladies sell and weigh the fish...

    ... and the gentlemen clean the fish however you'd like!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    "Bereft of passion & imagination! That is not who I am!"

    Yes, I know I've been publicly tearing my hair out while here in the Caribbean, but that's mostly because I'm crushed no one told me that adventures sometimes have dull moments. I sure wished Indiana Jones helped me out with that one..

    (On a really quick side-note, you've GOT to check out the first few paragraphs of this article: Harrison Ford to the Rescue ) (It would be worth getting lost in the woods, if you ask me...)

    Anyways, I was talking to my dad on Skype tonight. I, of course, was telling him about my sunny Groundhog Day life here, and he helped me remember that at least 'I am living a little.' That reminded me of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that I re-watched recently.

    • Background with my Star Trek experience: 100% delightful! Apart from it being a part of my childhood, I have always enjoyed the morality and philosophy, as well as the characters' interactions. And when the suicide bombers in Afghanistan, global financial crisis, and the gang-raping of women in Africa become too much for me, I enjoy watching the posterity of a high-functioning society from Earth in the 24th century. I recommend it, whole-heartedly. (Except for the first season; I can't believe how cheesy everything is!)
    • Background of this Star Trek episode: Captain Picard experiences a near-death experience with Q, an omnipotent and rather asinine entity. Q sends Picard back in time when he was 21 to make a different choice that had, in effect, led up to his death. When Picard fulfills his Different Choice, he returns to the present. He is not the captain; he is a forgettable low-rank officer in astrophysics. Picard cannot take the limited life he's ended up living, so he seeks out Q...

    (Click the title to see the scene:  "Tapestry" season 6, episode 15 )

    Picard: You having a good laugh now, Q? Does it amuse you to think of me living out the rest of my life as a dreary man in a tedious job?

    Q: I gave you something most mortals never experience: a second chance at life. And now all you can do is complain?

    Picard: I can't live out my days as that person. That man is bereft of passion... and imagination! That is not who  am!

    Q: Au contraire. He's the person you wanted to be: one who was less arrogant and undisciplined in his youth, one who was less like me... The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did not fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember. That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. He never led the away team on Milika III to save the Ambassador; or take charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed. And no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe - and he never, ever, got noticed by anyone.

    I don't want to live a bland, vanilla life. Instead of allowing the negative emotional blows be the most emphatic events in my life, I want the colorful and strange experiences and exotic achievements outshine them by light-years!

    Thank heavens that I grew up in a home where we Carpe Dium-ed!

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    An Educational Week...

    I learned that if I'm going to be stuck in Grenada Groundhog Day, at least it's a sunny Groundhog Day.

    I learned that too much fried Chinese food will not make me sick during the night, surprisingly.

    I learned from When Harry Met Sally that I'm "the worst kind [of woman]:" I think I'm low maintenance, but I'm really high maintenance.  (Ha ha, Know Thyself)

    I learned that finally snapping back at someone who has harassed you 3x at the gym induces a strong sense of pride and justice.

    I learned that I like wearing purple.

    Ugh, I learned how severely un-intellectually stimulated I am down here to learn that I like wearing purple.

    I learned that Ryan is really, really going to love his birthday/Christmas present... Dun dun dun...

    I learned that Star Trek: the Next Generation maintains my hope for my future and society's.

    I learned that I'm being singled out by the school's gym staff because they are bored.

    I learned that mosquitoes are brazen and fearless when they travel in flocks.

    I learned how to make an incredibly fabulous chocolate cottage-cheese-protein shake.

    I learned that I have roughly 11 weeks and 2 days left here. Sigh. (But who's counting?)

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    September so far...


    A Saturday night sunset

    Oh my--?  Who sleeps like that?!

    Good thing that guy has a hat for his hair...

    Stormy, stormy Thursday night