Category Archives: goals

A Slight Shift for the Better


Posted by Cassie

Dominos in Plaza
Men playing dominos in the Rincon plaza after Maria

It only takes ridding yourself of all you have had to appreciate once again. In other words, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. But when (and if) it comes back you will feel tremendous gratitude. Our water came back on last Saturday.

IMG_1954
Woman guarding the generator that is powering the pump for water

We had seen the women sitting in camp chairs guarding the generators near the water pumps and anticipated it might come on any day. One day passed, two, three and we began to lose hope. Then we came back one evening after being out and about to an overflowing cistern. Our cup literally overfloweth.

Filling up at the terminal
We no longer have to fill up our trash can with water and bring it to our cistern!

Conversations often revolved around which utility would be better to have back on if we could only choose one and nearly all would agree: water. Humans (and most forms of life for that matter) have lived without electricity for most of time, but we have always needed water. Also, we can run about 10 hours of electricity to our whole house with our little generator using only about 2 gallons of gasoline. One the other hand 2 gallons of water, while cheaper only flushes a toilet or two.

La planta
Our hard-working little generator has made our life a lot easier!

With the arrival of water to our place there has been a slight (ok, major) shift for the better. We are more energized for everything especially now that the weather is a little cooler and less humid. In the collective consciousness there is a little more joy too. Most people now have water and some even have electricity.

IMG_1950
Navidad Boricua is upon us!

But more than that it is the festive Christmas season! Musica navidena is already being played on the radios, karaoke bars and even roadside makeshift Spanish guitar drunken sing-a-longs in the dark.

We can do it
Si, se puede! We can do this!

Additionally, more and more food can be found in the stores though we have still become accustomed to the can aisle and even boxed milk instead of fresh anything, not only because of the accessibility of these items in the stores, but because we can’t run our fridge very long.

Box milk
Boxed milk for the win!

Water in econo
Bottled water is now available in the stores as well

The packages we received from friends and family (AKA some of you!) really helped to lift our spirits as well. What we haven’t been using, we have passed on to others in need like our friend Glen who is homeless and lives at the gazebos in the balneario. He recently ran out of bug spray and had a bout of sickness.

When we heard of others losing so much more than us, it also helped to put our situation in perspective. We know at least three people who have lost nearly everything -their house and all their belongings in the storm- and yet they still get up every day and even have a smile on their face, at least when we’ve talked to them. Our other friend Hector lost his entire house and had to live on the streets for a few days after Maria. I can only imagine how scary and devastating to his life that must be.

Hector in house
Our friend Hector with the remains of his house

There is still a little sadness that permeates every conversation. ‘How are you?’ is answered pretty much always with ‘bien mas o menos’ or ‘good, all things considered.’ Everything is couched in the fact that we all know we have been through something traumatic, but are pulling ourselves through it.

Hector and house
Hector with his destroyed house

Britton and I have been trying to enjoy the down time and re-energize ourselves. We have spent some fun moments with friends and are planning some projects around the property.

Bill and Jenn FriendsAt the Castillo Serralles haunted house in Ponce

Now that we have water we can do some of those concrete projects that we have put off and clear more areas of the property. We are looking forward to planting more fruit trees and ornamentals.

Clearing more space
Britton has been throwing logs while I clear through the vine mess

I have noticed that living in Puerto Rico really is somewhat enchanted. Strange, unexplainable and life shaking moments are interspersed with a peace, beauty and happiness that is hard to compare. Being in the Bermuda Triangle they say can do that. Radio frequencies shift ever so slightly and a Katy Perry song turns into a salsa song and back again.  And so it is now on la isla del encanto: a slight shift for the better. This is not to say that it is easy; it is still super hard to do anything. It is like reading a book in a dream or trying to run a marathon in 3 foot deep mud. For instance, it has taken me three trips to different places for internet on two broken laptops just to write this simple post. But seguimos pa’lante, we keep going forward! It’s the only way.

Gypsy future
When will the electricity come back on? The future is uncertain, but one thing’s for sure: playing dress up is fun! ;-)

IMG_1951
With one of the hardworking people putting back together the power grid

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Ron y Cloro: 8 Ways to Solve Your Problems in PR


Posted by Cassie

There is a joke people sometimes say here. What’s the solution to Puerto Rico’s problems? Ron y cloro. Rum and bleach. Rum, because well everything is just better with a little buzz and bleach because it will wipe everything clean again! So I thought I would write a little about how we use each of these to solve our daily problems in Puerto Rico.

Cassie drink (2)
¡Salud!

1) Things just break down and get so much dirtier here than it ever did in Colorado. We have to keep a cover over our washing machine because the dust settles so heavily over the course of a week and then makes the clothes or sheets dirtier than they started! So you must use more bleach! ¡Más cloro!

Washing machine cover
Washing machine cover

2) I always wondered why so many people had a broom in their hand whenever we would drive around Puerto Rico. Now I know! I must sweep the house at least 2-3 times a day. And it still gets grimy. So…then I need to mop! Más cloro!

3) Not only are we near the sea, but it is constantly humid and so anything metal starts rusting and corroding very quickly. We have learned to buy most metal things out of aluminum or galvanized steel because it is much more rust resistant. But, even still, never trust anything that is held together with metal. Here’s a case in point when the deck to the cabana completely broke!

Broken deck
¡Ay, bendito! The screws rusted out on the ledger!

So you learn that you need multiple back-ups. Especially because on this island you NEVER know if you’ll be able to find the part you’re looking for. Even if you buy online don’t expect it to arrive anytime soon. Britton ordered a part for the Mustang from Ebay and it took nearly a month to arrive because they put it on a ship rather than airplane! ¡Caramba! No wonder things take so long to get fixed, if ever! Island time…means you often have to wait and be patient, so why not go have a drink. Más ron!

Deck repair
To repair it we added two more legs to the wall and cross-braced. Must be prepared for the inevitable future breakdown

4) Even clothes break down faster here! The elastic in our underwear breaks down and the clasps on swimsuits rust out! When I was in Colorado I had clothes for 10+ years! Not here! Plus you have to clean clothes with bleach which breaks down the fibers even faster! But at least we don’t need to wear as much since it’s always warm out! Más ron =menos ropa! :-)

Dirty windows
Even aluminum windows start breaking down after a while! And windows constantly need cleaned (Más cloro!)

5) Bugs! Of course there are bugs everywhere, but here there are a couple that most people who are not from the tropics are not as familiar with: termites and cockroaches. ANY wood you use here including for cabinets, furniture and of course structurally should be made with pressure treated wood! (Madera tratada). We bought some beautiful eucalyptus doors for the cabin, and it said they were insect resistant. What it should have said was that this wood was the most delicious food ever for a termite! Bleach will kill them, but you have to get to their main hive and so we had to take the whole door apart and put it back together again. Más ron!

termites
Termites in the doorframe

As for the cockroaches, unless you live completely sealed in an air conditioned house surrounded only by concrete (and even then), you will have some. They especially love any kind of fresh produce or old food. They poop and are just plain gross with those long antennae and I do not want them around! So this means you must keep your kitchen super clean and no dishes in the sink and everything must be organized and reorganized on the regular. Easier said than done!

Roach
Look, a paradise beetle! haha

6) But they do not like bleach! So bleach floors and counters often to keep cockroaches somewhat away. Another trick we learned with cockroaches is to grab the spray bleach bottle and spray the heck out of then. It slows them down enough that you can then smack them with your chancla (flipflop). (Haha, yes, this is part of our life!) Más cloro!

Spray cloro
Not just for toilets anymore!

7) Bleach also takes away most of the mold that will grow on all sorts of things. Even our pillows, behind framed pictures, anything leather and plastic trashcans! It is just amazing how much life there is here!

8) Rum or rather its boring cousin rubbing alcohol (as well as H2O2 and Neosporin) is the preferred method for all the infections and scrapes we get here. A simple splinter can cause a pus-infested swollen finger in a matter of days because there is just so much stuff always growing here. My skin always breaks out from the various forms of life -whether plant, bacteria, fungi, whatever! Alcohol neutralizes the poison in carrasco, it also helps clear up the stinging red ant bites. We also eat copious amounts of garlic since it is a natural anti-bacterial/anti-viral/anti-fungal agent. It’s no wonder garlic is the main seasoning in Puerto Rican cuisine!!

Haole Rot
In Hawaii they call it Haole Rot because it affects white people more I assume -tinea versicolor

Todo tiene solución. Everything has a solution. And for these problems, and more: Ron y cloro! But don’t forget a nice course of Vitamin Sea with a rum piña colada and a good sense of humor to help these problems and others just melt away!

Beach Sat
Ahhh…Rincón balneario

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Random Update: July 2017


Posted by Cassie

Once again it is time for the slices of life that don’t necessarily deserve a post of their own but have been fun and/or interesting.

We recently went to a beautiful celebration of life at a boutique resort in Añasco called Yukayeke. It was very touching.

Sunset
Amazing sunset

Beach Memorial
Gathering of friends

Yukayeke pool Playing music at Yukayeke
And a pool party

Crab cage
It’s still crab (Juey) season here and a few people are out on the street offering them for sale

Abandoned
I love to stop and see the abandoned buildings and the fantastic graffiti art

Cassie mural

Doorway

Flamingo
Even a flamingo!

Closet
We finally hung the closet pole and shelf!!

The cars on this island are almost as fun to watch as the people! So many questions…

One car
From this… a custom car that could never clear most of the potholes here

Two car
To this…a makeshift moving van?

Car balneario
To this…an abandoned and stripped out car. Why are there so many jugs of water?

Harvest
Back at the farm, we’ve had quite the abundance of food and beauty!

Breadfruit
Breadfruit – Pana in Spanish is also an expression here that means pal or friend

Peace Lily
Peace Lily is blooming

Limes
Our first limes from a tree we planted!

Bridge
The cabin side of the property is filling in nicely with plants and the afternoon rains cause the quebrada to flow beneath the bridge

Ms Puerto Rico
The clothing selection in some stores is pretty fun -I had to try this one on: Ms Puerto Rico!

Broken Piraguas
Even the piragua cart breaks down sometimes!

Cassie and Britton
And the beach is always awaiting us

 

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Update: Limber de Teta, Demolition Derby, Flower Power, Rincón Film Fest, Etc


Posted by Cassie

Rincon beach road
Rincón Back Road

Wow, it always surprises me when I think of what to write about for the blog. I think, I don’t really have any good topics. Then I look through my pictures and I see that we have actually been out doing quite a few things. Here are a few of them:

Rincón International Film Festival
We enjoyed a beautiful and elegant evening at Rincón Beach Resort for the final night of the Rincón International Film Festival also known as ”Best Of Fest.”  I like to watch all the short films that have been sifted through and chosen as the top picks. As for the resort, I have never been to this one and it was really nice. I have seen it advertised on Wheel of Fortune and it definitely has that sort of all-inclusive resort vibe. It even has a swim-up pool bar that is connected directly to the beach.

Rincon Film Fest
With friends at RIFF 

Cassie Rincon Beach Resort RIFF with Markus and Daisy
Fun at Rincón Beach Resort

Limber de Teta
I saw a sign for Limber de Teta and it made me laugh. What could boob limber possibly be? So we stopped and tried it out. It was a limber (like an icee) but sold in a little baggie the shape of a boob. Pretty clever!

Britton sucking teta
Sucking on a parcha/piña boob

Limber de teta Artesan Boobs
At the Limber de Teta stand just off the 115 going towards Aguada

Demolition Derby in Moca
A friend of ours invited us to a demolition derby in Moca that was a fundraiser for his friend’s adolescent daughter who has a very aggressive form of cancer. I see a lot of fundraisers around here for various causes, but this was one of the biggest. We hadn’t been to a demo derby since the Greeley Stampede many years ago. Here it was definitely not regulation size or even in a stadium. People just sort of hung out everywhere, but it somehow worked.

F Cancer Demo car
One of the demolition cars

Demolition crowd Demolition Derby from above
Quite a crowd in the middle of a cleared out field!

As we were watching the events unfold a the derby, a young girl walked by that caught my eye. What was in her hands? Snakes! I was intrigued and began asking her about them. She could tell that I wasn’t afraid of them and said, do you want to hold them? I tentatively said yes and she put the large python on my neck and the baby in my hands. You never know what you may find in the randomest of places!

Snake Cassie edit
Cassie the Snake Charmer. Starting to get a little tight around the neck!

Flower Power: Playing Music
We played our most recent show at Willie’s to the theme of Flower Power/Hippie Night and it was a lot of fun.

Willies Hippie Night
Playing out at Willie’s

Hippies Kenny Markus Cassie Hippie Night
Good times! Peace, Love and Happiness!

On the Property
We have been focusing on property landscaping a little more lately and cleanup. While we’re not completely done with the house, it is functional. So now we are making it and the surroundings pretty! The finca has grown a lot in the last 3 nearly 4 years and we are starting to see the literal fruits of our labors!

Japanese Nispero Flowers
Nispero Japones aka Loquat first flowers!

Cassie Jungle 2 two
Amongst the flowers of our gardens

Kola cola nut flowers
Kola Nut flowers!

I hear something BK
In the jungle of our yard…Hey! What’s that sound?!

We have been clearing out some pretty nasty spiky and poisonous plants lately! Check them out:

Huge Spider Huntsman
Huge harmless spider (on a 2×6 to give you scale)…a huntsman

Cross that bridge
We’ll cross that bridge when we get there

As I was clearing some bromeliads and underbrush from behind the cabin, I found this old liquor bottle. We have determined based on the markings that it is from between 1932-1964! That’s a long time to be sitting out in the middle of the jungle! This old treasure says: Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reuse of this Bottle. John Walker and Sons Ltd Kilmarnock Scotland 4/5 Quart.

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Before it was Johnnie Walker, it was John Walker and Sons Ltd

The chickens and turkeys are all doing pretty good. We have to protect them a little more especially now that we are at the cabin and not as close to their coops. We collect quite a few eggs and enjoy their silly antics. Here’s some voodoo magic you can do with a chicken!

Out and about
And then of course there is the randomness of being out and about around the island. You just never know what you might see.

Whole lotta cans
Like a HUGE can of cans!

Muscovie duck
Beautiful duck, I think a Muscovy in a lagoon

Surfrider crewHanging out with Surfrider and a high school science club doing water quality testing 

Mural
Cool new mural on a derelict building

Cassie derelict house
And nature reclaiming this one

Not even for one second
This sign made me laugh…No! You can’t park here, not even for one second

Sana
One of our favorite little food stands, Sana, moved across the street by the Post Office

Socato fruit
And at the Pulguero in San Sebastian I spotted these huge fruits. They call them Socato

Chilling cassie
Hanging out at one of our favorite bars, Olajas in Aguada

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