Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What I did on Wednesday

I went to work.

Here is the sunrise I drove into at 7:30.

And here is how the light rose behind me in the west.

I was up bright and early so I could take GED tests in to the jail. It was 28 degrees when I got into the car, but happily the roads were dry, so traffic rolled along quite nicely.

The tests went smoothly, and I was able to make it to my writers' group in good time. And one of our group has completed her NaNoWriMo novel. The NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month - a challenge wherein all participants attempt to write a 50 thousand word novel in a month. Aubra did it in 27 days. Then, according to our group tradition, she brought in goodies to celebrate. Usually it's a bag of bite-sized candy bars. Aubra brought in made-from-scratch apple muffins with apples from her family orchard. She does all this while studying full time and playing in the local youth symphony. Oh, did I mention that Aubra is 17? And she writes like a flaming genius!! Her new novel is titled, "The Black Bull of Norway." I hope this one sees publication!

Home at 3, and time to catch up on some CSI episodes on TIVO while I finished a scarf for our favorite waitress.

She wears lots of peridot green, so this should work well. It took two skeins of Sensations Petalo (60% nylon, 40% cotton) and two skeins of Lion Brand Fun Fur Prints. I used size 11 needles, and knit with one strand from each skein, held together. I used the no-counting long tail cast on. You just measure out three times as long as you want the scarf to be, put in a slipknot, then start your long-tail cast-on. When you get to the end of the tail, turn and start knitting the work. I just garter-stitched the thing lengthwise. It's dense, but not heavy, and oh so fuzzy! Machine wash cold, dry cool. The fun fur is on sale at the local Joann's I might have to go buy more.(Succumbing to the lure of the dark side . ..)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rum balls recipe

Single batch

Crush a box of Nabisco Vanilla Wafers to powder. (I use a meat grinder now. You can wrap them in a muslin tea towels and pound them with a mallet or put them in a pillow case and let the three year old run trucks over them for a few hours. Or teach your elephant to tap-dance on it.)

1C chocolate chips
1/2C sugar
3Tbs light corn syrup
1/2C rum
2 1/2C finely crushed vanilla wafers

Melt chocolate chips (in the microwave is best - 1 minute on high Or, if you prefer, use a double boiler, but take it off the fire when you add the rum. Kitchen flambe is not nice)

Add sugar and corn syrup. Stir.

Add rum. Stir.

Thouroughly mix in the cookie crumbs. Let it cool for a while. When it is warm enough to handle, shape into balls about the size of a small walnut and allow to ripen in air-tight containers for at least several dys. "They'll never know what hit 'em!"

Variations: 1- Use Amoretto, bourbon, or Grand Mariner intead of rum. (or Curacao, or Drambuie, or Framboise, or Creme de Menthe, or . . .)

2 - Add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the rumballs.

3.- Add a jar of marmelade to rumballs.

4 - use honey instead of corn syrup.

White chocolate chips and coconut instead of cookie crumbs is pretty yummy, too!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What I did Tuesday

I was planning on backing up all my writing to CDs in case the computer (God forbid) goes south. I tried. But there must have been some upset in the ether that sent evey telemarketer in the world to call me. We do NOT want new siding, new aluminum window frames, a new roof or a refinance on our mortgage. Nor are we interested in prizes we have won that require us to spend 45 minutes in a brief informational seminar.

The snow quit, so I gave up and went outside to do battle with the rose bush. This is a Queen Elizabeth climbing rose, and like her namesake, she is a tough old girl. In her first year she devoured a flimsy little lattice affair we had foolishly put up to give her something to climb on. We transplanted her next to a telephone pole and tied her up with the legs from ruined panty hose. The next year, she ate those. DH tied her up with nylon string. I think that was when she got a taste for blood. She has turned carnivore. She ripped free from her synthetic bonds and now is lunging at passing bicyclists. I heard that one of the neighbors is missing a yorkshire terrier. There seems to be something like a little red collar in the midst of the canes.

I have gone with the nylon string again - lots and lots of it, even though she has fought back fiercely. There are gashes and rents in my hands and clothing. She snatched the hat right off my head and repeatedly lashed at my eyes. She is restrained for now, but who knows how long this will last?

If I tell you that DH's favorite gardening tool is the flame-thrower, you will see why I am reluctant to let him deal with this, but he may be right. Is it time for a tactical strike, or is there something that is guaranteed to restrain a viscious rose bush?

She's out there now, mumbling to herself in the dark and chewing at her bonds. I worry.

After the holiday

Here are two more finished red scarves. One more to go, and then I start with some quickie Christmas knits. I have a request for a willy warmer(for a friend of a friend), but that will have to wait till Valentine's day.

Yesterday, I finished the Christmas cards, addressed, stamped and sealed them, and dragged them out to my patient postal person. She's a DEAR!

Then I took the thouroughly pulverized vanilla wafers and commenced with the rum balls.

This is what I use for rum balls. Note the microwave. Saves all that messy double-boilering for the melted chocolate chips. Note the quart of rum. Yum. Note the normous bowls. I make rum balls in quantity!

And here we see the result of my labors. These tins are FULL of rum balls. About twenty POUNDS of rum balls. Now they ripen for two weeks, then they get portioned out and shipped away (except for a few that go to work with me, a few for the locusts that DH works with, and a few for the elegant ladies of the Ladies' Knitting and Philosophy group.)

Oh, crap! It's snowing again. Punishment for rum ball hubris no doubt. Apologies to everyone who loves this downy white precipitation, but all I see is freezy skid stuff. I gotta drive up the hill tomorrow to take GED tests to the jail. The road crews had better sand the heck out of every hill in Oregon City is all I can say. Else you will hear the wails of anguish and the terrified cursing all the way to Boston and points north.

Does anyone else scream in their car? Alone? While driving? Can you keep your eyes open while doing so?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A day of rest

Kitties rest in nests. Isn't she adorable?

On thursday, I finished half our Christmas cards before we drove to MacMinville to enjoy a sumptuous dinner with C. and J. at Bistro Maison. I TRIED to be moderate. Really I did! But we started out with a Kir Royale (champagne and cassis liquer. I want this for my last meal if I ever have to be executed.)and it hit my empty stomache like a ton of fireworks!I became giddy, witty, reckless, and infinitely attractive. Moderation? Bah! A hobgoblin for foolish mortals!Salad was baby greens dressed with extra virgin olive oil. Well we wouldn't want our babies to go all naked, would we? C & J had the turkey feast. DH had the steak au poivre. I had the penne pasta with a sauce made from tomatoes stolen from McGregor's garden by commando bunnies. The tomatoes were then dried in the magical Mediterranian sunshine on the Isle of Capri,lightly roasted over a fire of maple twigs picked up in Vermont forests by blonde 8-year-old girl children and shippped at great expense to professional tomato roasters in France who process them in small, customized batches. Our chef just happend to obtain his stash of tomatoes in a poker game with a Japanese industrialist and two Texas oil tycoons. And the less said about that, the better. Needless to say, I very nearly picked up my plate and licked it. By the time the pear sorbet was on its way down my esophagus, my brain finally began to register satiation. Too late. I ate too much, and groaned all the way home.

The next day, according to our long-standing tradition, we met up with C & J again to hunt down the wiley Christmas tree. This is what the well-dressed Willamette valley tree-hunter will wear. Note the rubber boots. Note the hat. Note the red rain-proof layer ready to be pulled on over the fleece jacket. There were times on Friday afternoon, when it rained like a cow peeing on a flat rock.

It took us three hours, but at last we tracked down a tree farm that was open the day after Thanksgiving and had Grand Firs for C. She loves their particular tangerine-ish fragrance. DH and I marched through the mud a scant three hundred feet, found the tree of our dreams (a nice Douglas Fir), and sawed it down. Then we went to find J and C. They had discovered the tree of their dreams as well, and C. assured us that it was a Grand. We sawed it down, dragged both our trees back to the sales shed, and were ssurprised to find that we had TWO Douglas Firs. It was starting to get dark, the rain was fixin' to pour again, and C decided that this would be a good year to have a nice Douglas Fir.

We loaded the trees, delivered C. and J. and their tree to their home, and hit the road in the wind and the rain and the very dark night.

The next day I decorated the tree, hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and set the house up for the holidays. This morning, I got up at 6 and left DH sleeping while I took a cup of tea and sat in the livingroom with only the Christmas tree alight. Sitting in the dark with a lighted Christmas tree is such a superbly contented feeling! Life is good

All that driving around did give me lots of time to knit. Two more red scarves!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am thankful for:

I am thankful for DH. Without him, life would be cold and grey.

I am thankful for health and strength and modern medicine and chiropratics.

I am thankful for a warm, dry house with indoor plumbing. It's 40 degrees outside, and raining like someone left the sprinklers on all night and all day for fourty days and fourty nights. And the wind is blowing. The crows are huddled in miserable wet wads, and the squirrels are slipping on the wet branches. The overcast is so heavy that you don't cast a shadow.

I am thankful that no one is shooting at me and that I can sleep through the night without hearing bombs and terror in the street.


I am thankful


for happy kitties


in cozy nests.


I am thankful for orphan balls of yarn (picked up without lables at estate sales) that have more yardage than I can knit up in one evening! This will be a looong red scarf with interesting purple shadings in its soft and fluffy bounty.

I am thankful for the rumball suggestions. How could I have gone all these years and never thought of Amoretto rum balls? Must buy Amoretto!

I am thankful for modern technology and the way I can now visit so many kindred spirits in the blogsphere! I'm thankful for you, friends!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And it's Wednesday again!

On Sunday, DH cooked a small turkey for us. (We are going out to eat on the big day. No over the river and through the woods to Grannys for us.) He makes a dried fruit dressing that is sooo delicious, and he cooks it seperately in muffin tins, so each serving has lots of crispy bits. In his opinion, Thanksgiving is all about the gravy. If you cook the dressing seperately, it leaves more turkey juice and drippings for the gravy - and he makes gravy that is so mouth-wateringly superb that it would make you want to rise up and testify! As for me, I can take gravy or leave it alone. It's the leftovers - specifically the hash, that trips all my triggers. Two days after the primary feast, I take the broken remains of the meat, the left-over potatoes, vegetables and gravy, mix them together, reheat, and feast. It's the way the flavors combine, the textures complement one another, the remenents become glorified! Yesterday was hash night. Today, it's hash for my lunch! Oh, I am a happy girl!!

Thanks for your input on the cookie question. I will pick up a can of orange juice concentrate and a can of raspberry juice concentrate, and take it from there. Plain rum, cinnamon, orange, raspberry and bourbon. Yep, that should be a good selection for the chockaholics on my list!

Last night we had our final dance class for the year. It's excellent exercise and lots of fun. But it did get in the way of me finishing another scarf. Tomorrow.

So I close with a picture of the hat and neck gaiter I knitted for Miz G. lo these many weeks ago. She confirms its weather-worthyness, calling it, "Below zero accessories."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday with rain

Here is our fourth black and white kitty - Gordo! Gordo is quiet, doesn't eat much, never poops in the house or needs to go to the vet. On the other hand, Gordo doesn't snuggle worth a damn, and the purr is completely missing. Gordo is showing off yet another red scarf (one an evening on these whoopty twelves!) Jack is longing for a chance to sit on the chair and be pretty, too. But when I offered to let him pose, he snubbed me. I have given all the cats their flea drops today, and everyone is snubbing me. Everyone except Gordo, that is.

Yesterday, I got a real, hand-written letter from a woman who grew up in the same area I did, and who had read about my book in the home-town newspaper. She wrote to congratulate me on actually making it to press. I was shocked with the pleasure and delight of it. A real letter! I have gotten to thinking and have decided to write a real letter or two a bit more often. Even if it's just a note to say hi. Getting something in the mailbox with a handwritten address was WONDERFUL and I want to spread the goodness around.

And I confess that I love Christmas cards, too. Bragging family newsletters, or just a quick signature on a small card, all make me happy. Some one thought about us enough to put a stamp and an address on an envelope and stick it in the mailbox. Then I get a moment to think about them, and the connection resonates. If you would like a Christmas card (or a "holiday" card if you want to be P.C.)just give me your address. I enjoy sending them out almost as much as I enjoy getting them.

Today, I think I will begin the annual rum-ball blitz. Roxie's rum balls are the stuff of legend. While I run the vanilla wafers through the meat grinder, I will debate on this year's flavor variations. Cinnamon was a good addition, as was orange juice concentrate. I'm still looking for a strong hazlenut flavoring addative. The flavored syrup for coffee isn't quite enough to balance the chocolate. And I have an unfortunate predeliction for the bourbon ball variation. I might not give any of those away. Rum-soaked raisins were well recieved by one friend in particular, so I'll have to add some into his batch. What else goes well with chocolate and rum? Peanut butter wasn't good, nor was peppermint. Maybe some coconut? I have ten boxes of vanilla wafers which will equal 5 batches to flavor. Decisions, decisons.

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some knitting content

Today's blog is brought to you by the blue-striped grunt. Don't you just love the names for these fish? Almost as delightful as the wonderful colors and patterns they wear.

Here you see the product of a weekend's knitting. You can see the whoopty-12 needles stuck in the ball of yarn. I have the same size in circulars with aluminum tips, but the feel and sound of the wooden needles is so much nicer - even if I DO have this long stick waving wildly around in the air and tantalizing the kitties.

If anyone should run across the old Susan Bates nylon circulars,any size, any length, please pick them up and send them to me and I will not only reimburse you, but also send you a present in return.

Do you notice the drop-stitch element in the length-wise striped scarf? Good solution when you didn't cast on quite enough stitches. And length-wise stripes make it so easy to use up odds and bobs and leftovers of yarn.

These are for the Red Scarf Project.

DH and I took a friend for a drive in the woods on Saturday. We put in over 100 miles in three hours, and probably went further than he had strength for, but gosh we saw some gorgeous scenery! He told us how, as a boy, he and his buddy used to ride their bikes thirty miles up into these mountains to go fishing. The heat would shimmer up off the asphalt as they labored uphill on their 1-speed Schwinns. Of course they were gone all day, and they must have been pooped when they got home, but I bet those were the most delicious fish ever caught. Can you imagine allowing a couple of ten-year-olds to go out on their bikes for that sort of jaunt today?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

get wet!

Today's blog is brought to you by the friendly fish of De Palm Island, Aruba.

Starring - barred Hamlet (Yep, that really IS this little guy's name.)

Romantic lead is played by French Angel

Kyle salutes a sunken plane.

Roxie salutes the troops.

And we close with a toast to the inspired SeaTrek folks who made this wonderful walk possible.

Knitting? OK, Tomorrow, knitting pictures. Pictures are so much fun!

Friday, November 17, 2006


Today's post is being brought to you by Jack and fly

And also by Candy and her alter-ego, Pickles (whose motto is, "Don't make me cut you."

Low tech lawnmowers in Barbados

We visited the Foursquare Rum Refinery

The plantation house had an enviable lawn ornament.

Every well-bred British family has a suit of armor hanging around somewhere - right?

Upon returning to the ship, Roxie proceeded to get down with the staff.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It may be a firewall thing

Today's post is brought to you by Fly, the velvet cat.

It's entirely possible that the desktop firewall interferes with JPEG uploading. I can load pictures just fine from the laptop. (I can't believe I am actually using these words. I might even be using them correctly! The old dog CAN learn new tricks!)

Here's the silk pennance I have undertaken. The armholes are too big and I desperately need waistband ribbing and my favorite colors are becoming loathsome in my eyes. The armhole thing is easily fixed. But waistband ribbing and sleeves? Will I ever be done? On size 1's it's too small to knit in the dark. I can't feel the yarn that fine, so it's daylight knitting only. This may be named the Sysiphus sweater. Feels like I will be shoving this rock up the hill forever!!

Close up. Alternating three colors of yarn has slowed the work just that little bit more.

And here's a shot of a rainbow from the balcony of our cabin. I will continue to season my blog with cruise shots until you tell me to knock it off.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More pictures?

I am pretty much useless for a week or so before and after a trip. Sort of like a hermit crab settling back into the shell. ( Now where did I used to put my second left leg? Here? This doesn't feel right. Over there? No . . . Maybe I have the whole thing on backwards.) Mostly, I want to sleep, but after calling me on Monday and telling me that I wouldn't need to come in all week, the boss called me on Tuesday and asked if I could come in on Wed. afternoon. Hey, I'm sure there are lots of people who would love to have a part-time job to whine about. And after all the $$ I spent on the trip (Gotta have those professional photos. the pros make us look so good!) every little bit of income helps. So I need to pull my socks up and get in gear here.

It's just magic how the digital camera photos load right up! OK, it's supposed to be magic. I'm trying to load a picture of the silk blouse I have been working on for freaking ever till I am so sick of it that I want to throw it away, but I can't bear the idea of throwing away silk. Never again will I knit on size 1 needles. What was I thinking? Was I thinking?. And Blogger is not co-operating one little bit.

Has anyone tried the Blogger upgrade? I'm hesitant because they say you can't go back. Is it better? In what ways?

For Amy and everyone else who loves kitties, here's a picture of the twins who live at the customs house on the dock in Aruba.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006



The pink silk yarn had waayyyyy too much fun on this vacation, and needs to be completely re-wound.

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There was a big windstorm while we were gone and the maple trees across the street threw all their clothes onto our lawn.

Now I can show you the hot sunshine hat and scarf I knit for George, our favorite waiter.

Here's a red scarf for the red scarf project. I need work on my camera skills.

Jack is, under protest, modeling a blue seed-stitch scarf. Love those whoopty twelve needles!

Jack modeling hand-dyed rayon chenille scarf. "Why are you being so mean to me, Mom?"

Monday, November 13, 2006

Home at last

I woke this morning to the most wonderful sound. Jack was sitting on my chest and purring hard enough to shake his old bones apart. He was SO glad to have us home!!

American Aaaairlines didn't make much profit in Orlando last night. They had an entire airline full of fooolks to put up in a hotel because their plane to Bogata Columbia didn't get off the ground. They over-booked nearly every other flight going out that night, and were offering $300 vouchers and first class seats on the next flight out (at 2AM?)to anyone who would give up their seats. But most of the trvelers were parents with multiple kidlets, and the kidlets were overstimulated and exhausted to the screaming point from a week at Disneyworld. It should be considered child abuse to fly 3 thousand miles and drag a child under the age of six around a theme park just to meet some poor teenager in a cartoon-character costume.And often, the parents are just as cranky as the kids. I heard the guy behind me snarl, "No, I won't hug you. I'm watching the movie!" I wanted to stand up and bitch-slap him.

Our flight was almost an hour late getting out of the gate because it took that long to persuade four people to give up their seats. Then they had to hold our connecting flight for us because about thirty of us would have been stuck in Dallas-Fort Worth overnight if they didn't. They had an agent standing just outside the door of the plane, and directing us down a metal stair to a bus standing ready on the tarmac. We were then whisked around the outside of the airport to our proper gate and dragged our sorry asses up another set of cold metal steps in the darkness to find our seats on the waiting plane. Of course, everyone already on board was vexed with us for keeping them from home - as if it were our fault.

So, at the end, we landed at 12 instead of 11, all our luggage arrived with us, and we made it home through driving rain and wind to find that our cat sitter had done a stellar job! And for the first time in over ten days, I got a lovely soaky hot bath!!! Yayyyy!

I will post some more pictures just as soon as I unpack the cables and stuff.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday in San Juan, noon

Sunday in San Juan, noon

Saturday at sea was the last chance to do whatever it was you wanted to. Many, many people spent most of their last day at sea down in the bowels of the ship, doing laundry. We are carrying home three bags full of dirty laundry. Instead, we ate, packed, strolled the decks, went to the debarkation lecture, hit the steam room (with the floor to ceiling windows over the ocean) and rested, rested, rested.

Sunday is the saddest day of the cruise. I am SO not ready to be done! We were tied up at the dock before dawn. Our luggage was taken off and thoroughly sniffed by contraband detectors. (Big shiny black dogs wearing sunglasses and spiked collars, and carrying machine guns. They wouldn’t let me take pictures.) Then we were reunited with our frightened bags who all promised to be good forever after, and made our way through all the back and forth lines through Customs and Immigration. We passed!!!

We dragged our bags out to the taxi and cruised to the airport for more back and forth lines through security where we said farewell to our bags again, then took ourselves through the x-rays. And again, we passed. Unfortunately, while I was putting my hand lotion and lipsticks into a clear plastic sandwich bag, I misplaced my boarding pass. It was in my shoulder tote, but that’s sort of a black hole – and I nearly had to dump the whole thing on the floor to find my pass. I just hate it when I do that. However, the San Juan security folks were very patient and kind, and DH was a pure SAINT, and all’s well that ends well. And thanks be, we had lots of spare time to solve all possible problems. There is a three hour wait till the plane starts loading. Time to sit, knit, catch the breath.

Sunday in Orlando, 5:42

The flight from San Juan was smooth and easy. Orlando has been a clusterfuck. Can I say that on a blog? There has been some weather, so some flights have been backed up so some people are missing connections. And, there is a flight to Bogata, Columbia that was due to leave two hours ago, and is still under the car of the mechanics who are fixing the flaps. Flaps are VERY important to a plane. Unfortunately, many of the people who are waiting feel that they are too important to be kept waiting. "When will it be fixed?" they demand in several languages. And the incredibly patient desk clerk never once screams, "How the hell should I know? I'm not a freaking mechanic!"

So the stress crackles around us like heat lightning, and we have 9 more hours till we touchdown at home. No worries, though. I am with my darling man, and I have wi-fi access. Add a kitty, and I could survive anything. Next stop, Dallas Fort Worth - then Portland Oregon and home!!

Tomorrow, I will catch up on everyone's blogs from the past week. Hope life has been good and you have left lots of interesting things for me to read.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Final report at sea

Thursday at sea was an idyllic drift through lazy bliss. We started at 8 AM with spa treatments. DH got an hour in “the egg” which encloses the guest in an 8- ft long shell that vibrates gently, plays soothing sounds, blows warm air across the skin, and displays lights which are designed to re-tune your alpha rhythms. The only time I ever tried one, I came out convinced that I am an alien. I was chilled, tense, irritable and I had a headache. DH comes out floating in serenity.

So while he was in the egg, I had a hot-stone massage. I am going to put the massage therapist in my next book. Dennell and her mystic stones. You get a massage with lots of oil, and then somehow, magically, the therapist has smooth warm stones in her hands and is drawing them along your muscles, just ironing out the tensions. Then the stones disappear, and all you feel is clever loving fingers. Then the stones materialize again . . .Later in the massage, the warm stones are placed on certain pressure points and left there, radiating warmth into you, while the therapist goes to work on your extremities. Ahhhhh! My hands and feet feel as if they were snarls and knots of stress, and she carefully combed them smooth. I floated out of there feeling as languid as a large iguana on a hot rock.

We just hung out for the rest of the day. I fought with Blogger and burned nearly an hour’s worth of minutes trying to get pictures loaded. But I did, at last, succeed. I have fifty four minutes left, so, depending on Blogger this may be my last post.

As we were headed for dinner, we noticed many people dressed to the nines. So I asked, “Is it formal night?” Yep. We raced back to the cabin and in five minutes ripped out of the casual clothes we were wearing and into the full formal rig. Five minutes!! Damn, we are good! (We bought my outfit in a section of Los Angeles that has become a little India. There are several Indian photographers and officers on board, and they were WAY impressed! )

And then there was this lady in her Nigerian dress. Enlarge the picture. The dress is a stunner. My camera skills don’t do it justice.

Aruba. Ahhhhruba!
We took the tour bus to De Palm Island. What a delight that place is! We did the undersea hard-hat dive, where they give you an acrylic helmet to which they pump air, then three scuba divers walk you around on the sea floor, twenty two feet below the surface. WOW!!!! First of all, it’s just too cool for school to be breathing normally under water. Second, the divers feed the fish so they just SWARM around you. Third, at De Palm Island, they have sunk two dead airplanes and an old bus, where the coral grows,and the fish hang out in secure schools (must be a school bus.) The divers lead you around and show you things: anemones, flocks of fish hiding under the plane’s wings like chicks under a protective hen, and one patient, persistent conch that was dragging his shell from one airplane to the next like a tourist with much too much luggage. And they took pictures and even a short video. Wheeeee! Yes, we bought the CD.

De Palm Island is an all inclusive place so everything was included in the price of admission: food, drinks,alcohol, scuba and snorkel equipment, and all the time you want in the water park. Oh the water park! My inner child just played and played! Slides and water guns and suspended buckets that slowly fill, then suddenly, unexpectedly dump gallons of water on your head. I took all the slides and after I had worked my way up to it, I took the big enclosed tube five times, and SCREAMED the whole way down! It echoes and it feels so good and it was just so much fun! There were no lines to wait in anywhere. After we got exhausted playing in the 80 degree water, we ate in the restaurant, got virgin coladas, and spread our towels on recliners in the shade of rustic thatched shelters, and watched the sparkly, sparkly waves roll up onto the pristine white sand beach, then pull back into the green and blue ocean. I think, when I’m one hundred and ten, and my mind is gone, and they can’t keep clothes on me, I will be back on De Palm Island in my memories, lying in a beach chair next to my darling man, sipping a frozen fruity drink and marinating in contentment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

After Barbados

Barbados is a green, sweet, sleepy place. If you want to get away from it all, this is about as far as you can go. I understand there are some stellar golf courses here, and Tiger Woods got married at the Sandy Cove Resort where, in high season, beds go for $1000 per person. Kentucky Fried Chicken does well here, but McDonald’s went out of business. Go figure. The cruise ship is not only the tallest building on the island; it is very nearly the highest geographical point as well. When we pulled out, the next highest building was a four story hotel that is nearing completion.

We took an island tour through quaint villages of solid cinder-block homes, and “chattel houses.” The chattel house is built on land leased or rented from someone else. It is a small wooden structure perched on chunks of coral instead of settled on a solid foundation. That way, if the landlord and tenant disagree, the whole house can moved. They’re like shabby wooden trailers.

And they have to be narrow, because the roads are just big enough for two busses to pass one another with ten inches between them. They drive on the left, which is disorienting to Americans, and everyone goes like a bat with its butt on fire. When our bus encountered another bus, it was a religious experience. I was sure I was going to see God. I was on the side next to the oncoming bus, and as we passed, I could see that the tourists in the other bus were just as wide-eyed and terrified as we were.

Between the villages, the roads meander between sugar cane fields, with occasional patches of sweet potatoes, or Sea Island cotton. But mostly, it’s sugar cane. Even in the bus, you can’t see over the tops of it. We saw miles and unending identical miles of sugar cane.

And then we got to the rum distillery. God loves us, so he gave us fermentation. And Roxie loves rich dark rum. The air was redolent with the scent of it, and as we penetrated the depths of the building, the guide warned us not to take photos, because there was so much alcohol in the air that any spark could make it explode. It was a heady experience! Yes, my Christmas cookies are going to be extra tasty this year. I bought a quart of Old Brigand! The rum is aged for four years in used sherry and bourbon barrels. Imagine a fire in this place! It could be seen from the moon!!

Next we were off to a plantation. The plantation house walls are built of coral blocks, cut from the island itself with two handed steel saws (misery whips their called.) The walls are 25 inches thick all through the house, and the place has stood solid through any number of hurricanes for 150 years. Wide, open airy rooms with high ceilings and big windows. And a huge, native mahogany table.

Very gracious and beautiful. I was thinking I could live there quite happily until I noticed that the baby’s crib was standing on glass casters about two inches high. I asked the guide what the casters were for, and quite offhandedly she said, “Oh, they keep the ants from climbing up and biting the baby.” Oh yeah, tropical insects. Maybe I wouldn’t care to be a Caribbean plantation belle after all. And we were told frequently how lucky we were that the winter winds had started early. I imagined enduring ninety degree heat, with ninety per cent humidity, in a whalebone corset and seven petticoats. No thank you!

But the ladies had time to do gorgeous handwork. Detail of a child’s nightgown.

There was a spinning wheel in one of the bedrooms. The paint would have protected it from the insects. It wasn’t set up of course. They never are.

Dave mentioned DH's snazzy red vest. I wove the fabric for it and sewed it up for him. This fact has given me inordinate cachet with our Thai and Indonesian waitresses. They brought their friends over to show them the vest and made a BIG fuss over the fact that I WOVE the fabric. Ah shucks. Shazam, shazam, shazam!