Memories of my brother

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Memories of my brother

This will probably become a larger series of things I recall about my brother.
I like how things just pop into my head and remind of yesteryear.

Today it was apple juice that I was sipping as I strolled back to my abode that made me grin like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.
cheshire cat in night

I hope I’m not the only one who recollects things all the time, my brain keeps on spinning all these memories to me, I only feel obliged to write them down, you see.
So as I was sipping on the bottle of apple juice, and I remembered the time my brother was in the hospital. Our mom was already there, so I was all alone in a big house with many caring neighbors around me.
Basically, as I was walking back to my home, I saw myself in Polanica-Zdrój, and I was 13 years old.
The hospital was on the other side of town from where we lived; even passed the river and if I remember correctly, passed Park Zdrojowy where a dozen springs of mineral water are squirting from the waterhole in the main building.

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Several spouts around this octagonal mass flowing with a variety of mineral waters; hot, cold, not so carbonated and extremely bubbly…

Polanica-Zdrój is where the International Chess Tournament occurs every summer.
My mom, brother and I always looked forward to that each year for our own particular reasons. I guess my mom looked forward to some international company. She entertained many master chess players in our house. My brother was the chess aficionado and I spoke some English. We made a happy threesome and became friends with the best chess players in US, Philippines, Argentina. I’m sure there were other chess players we knew, but those three I remember dearly. So for a few weeks every summer I could practice my English, my brother played with the best and our mom partied with them royally after we went to bed.
We grew up watching Monty Python every weekend. In Poland, it was called “Roses of Montreaux” so brought some confusion when I got to US in the 80’s…
school of funny walkers- mmie

Needless to say, my brother and I were brought up by a very interesting woman. I believe it’s genetic somewhat. I wish my brother had more time here to express himself, he probably would be the new Andy Warhol (or someone else screaming of eccentricity).
To prove my point, as he was in the hospital, he asked me to bring him some apple juice.
This was in the 70’s and commie Poland, so it was only luck that they had apple juice for sale that day. You might not be able to conceive an empty store, but that’s what happened rather quickly. One day we could shop, the next day we stood in a line at 3am for food or shoes or anything else. The shoe delivery was odd. Soon you knew who else stood in that line- we all had the same shoes.

My mom was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, a couple days later my brother was there with a broken leg. Oddly enough I was there a year later with a fractured heal. It’s only to say we are not the gracious type.
So I visited my mom in her room, then saw my brother in the kid ward, I brought him the apple juice he does not like so much.
He opened the can, had a couple of sips, poured some into a container and set it aside.

Eventually, a nurse came by and he told her he has a urine sample.
She was surprised and said she doesn’t think they needed one, so he twisted the cap open and drank what she thought was pee. I wish cameras were so common back then. My brother was such a hoot to be around. Like my mom, I miss him every day.

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The Kohana in me ends with wild animals

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The Kohana in me ends with wild animals

Living off-grid will teach you a lot. You’ll begin to appreciate the sun and find ways to utilize its sheer power of making things live (and run), to collect the rain in barrels from all gutters that you can install,  even take a moment to enjoy the wind chimes in a breeze and watch a mongoose popping its ugly head from the old pile of coconuts.

I thought that living in communist Poland taught me enough about sustainability, but I sure learned a lot more about it when I lived in Hawaii.

To anyone who is not familiar with WWOOF, it’s a network of permaculture and sustainable living projects. The acronym is confusing since it can be World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms OR Willing Workers on Organic Farms.

Hungry for an experience you must be.

Let’s just say I tired of being a stellar property manager in Seattle, WA and decided to manage a territory with coconuts, timber bamboo, and the amazing breadfruit trees instead.

It changed my existence forever.

I got there with gardening gloves, a spade to till some dirt…
Many folks were amused by the tools I had.

Any lands I lived on prior to Hawaii had good old terrain below the crust. It was a surprise to me that I could not even scratch more than the surface of it with the spade I had. For a while, I kept on looking for some earth. There is none, as in there is no soil. None. The entire island is pure rock!

It should not be a surprise, I know what a volcano is, I’ve seen Etna when I was a kid and Mt Rainier and St Helens prior to my venture. Outside the voluminous volcanoes, you had prime black dirt, so I expected the ground to be rich in minerals and…I was so wrong.  This place WAS and IS a bunch of volcanos. I saw it when I took a ride through Saddle Road, the least traveled road and one that rent-a-car agencies tell you not to go through. That’s where the permaculture came in.

Getting water tanks, a shithouse and a battery was not the big deal there. Heck, on the Big Island a company called Hawaii Jon will deliver a portable toilet to your property that is serviced every week. That was an amazing offer, I never needed to clean the toilet room or worry about the paper. So even if you only had a tent on the land, you had a toilet, the dept. of health won’t be questioning you or the landlord. Pretty cool, no?

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Looking back at it I wonder how they disposed of the liquids within…
There are many gaps here, besides the goo that Hawaii Jon would dispose of.

As you ride around the island- from West to East- Hilo to Kona, it’s wonderful that the buses are free. They don’t even charge you for luggage (just don’t go there with five big trunks like in the movie “Joe and the Volcano”).

I departed SEATAC. Little did I know but this was my second to the last departure from WA.
Building Manager, Property Manager, Leasing Agent and an avid gardener for all properties.

My plane landed in Kona, on the west side of the Big Island and it was “voggy” that day.

Take my advice, if you want to go to Pahoa, just take a plane directly to Hilo, the extra cost will serve you well in the long run.

After a few loops around the spews of Mauna Loa, or Kilauea, or Hualalai (frightful as I am on planes, I didn’t even ask, I just wanted to land), and we eventually did. WHEW.

It was hotter than I expected! Not many times I’ve been in tropical climates anyhow, so I wore a sweater and jeans covering me to my ankles.

I’m not a fashion freak and perhaps I had a pair of shorts in my suitcase, but putting them on would show how little sun I’ve had from living in Seattle for 17 years. Folks still knew I just got there, silly of me to think otherwise.

It was nice to hear a different version of English language; folks called each other Bradda, Sista, and around the property I lived on there were many signs that said “DON’T PIK COCOS FAKA”

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I lived there long enough, that when I talked to a friend in Seattle I was told I sound like The Nanny.  Mind you, I am of Polish descent and never had a Brooklyn accent, never looked to obtain one, but there it was.

My mom loved Hawaii. It’s not clear which island she visited but she sent me colorful postcards every time she went there.  Taking a ride from the Kona airport was something I never expected- drab, dry and dreary at most. Nothing a postcard would feature.

In the black rocks sometimes you’d see signs made with white rocks- Amy loves Jimmy, Ken and Barbie, etc.

The extra expensive taxi takes you to the town where you take the free bus to go to the other side of the island. That’s where I saw the land my mom fell in love with- the cascades and luscious jungle, it’s absolutely magnificent. Then you get to Hilo. People gave up on reconstructing it after a hurricane in the 60’s. That was it, You have to take another bus going further South for four hours to get to Pahoa.

Pahoa is a very fine town, it scared me at first when I arrived at night, but like many places in the world, it’s better to see it in the daylight.

I skipped the town and opted for a tent in the Ahalanui Park as I waited for instructions from my WWOOF host.

It was great, I had an entire two-story house which was close to the ocean, it was amazing!
The abundance of fresh fruits and veggies- all around neighbors had cartons of freebies, there was so much love there, so much ALOHA…

Yet, when I walked outside with my spade to plant something in the yard…

“Oh, there’s a rock here, let’s scoot it over a bit. NO, another rock.  And eventually the shining “Oh this entire land is a rock!”
It really is, so you have to elevate your gardens. Soon enough I met folks who have lived there long enough and made amazing projects. One of them is a little distance from the first streetlight in town. I only say this because by now there might be another. That’s when I really learned about permaculture, I was ashamed of my lack of knowledge.

So, to learn more, I volunteered my skills as a researcher to Paul Wheaton and spent a few months in a cabin by the sea in Hawaii. It was a fantastic experience and a great introduction to WWOOF that I still maintain at 52.

Oh, and besides getting eye to eye with nature, watching the devil-like mongoose staring at you, giving names to the geckos that surround you or watching the parasitical leaf-cutting ants working relentlessly day and night (so long there is some light they’ll keep on moving).

It seems everything needs more explanations, I would not know where to start, so without you, my dear reader, I am only obliged to hear your opine or answer your questions.

Living in this off-grid world, I could rest easier, you had the coqui frogs singing and I am glad the house I lived in wasn’t close to their colonies. It’s a tiny frog, but you can hear it for miles. It’s a hundred times worse than having a cricket inside your house, believe me. The cricket will fly where the light is, so just shut them and let it go away.

(check out the decibel level of a coqui frog here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZUOiZG84c0)

I felt rather safe walking on the street at night in my neighborhood, but then someone told me about the wild pigs running about at night. Boars so to speak and their talons ripped many legs and destroyed some lands.
The WWOOF place I stayed at was their former territory! But it was leveled and filled with stuff (mostly the trees that were torn down). I say “stuff” because one day walking about that land my foot sunk into a hole. The owner told me there are a lot of these holes and she had no idea how deep they are. Well, a hole that seems deep and going back to the level of the ocean, I imagined myself falling into one and being stuck in it until…I have no idea what but was glad to know there are no snakes in Hawaii. Just the rats that play at night and the devilish mongoose that taunts every day.

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a face only a mother would love

Truly, not one night passed that a boar entered the property, but seeing the injuries of others made me leary to go outside after the dark.
Many problems we can find at night, and I lived in many cities, but never wanted to bump into a wild pack of pigs with razor-sharp teeth with long canine dentures on their side.

Needless to say, I still go to bed very early (with the chickens) and wake when the roosters call. My mom always said it’s the best way to run your day.

Memories of last year’s Trumpkin Tuna

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Memories of last year’s Trumpkin Tuna

(Revived from last year’s archives)

It was a stressful moment.

I don’t know why it occurred because am usually ever so careful with assembling the ingredients.

When I learned Donald Trump was actually elected president, where the majority of voters opinions do not matter, that the government actually can accommodate a chauvinistic, egoistic, homophobic, racist Zionist.

I had a panic attack. But I was hungry.

And always wake up with food in mind, so mentally prepared a snack, perhaps with a tuna flavor.

When I have tuna, it’s usually the one packed in oil. Tuna is full of Omega 3 fatty acids our bodies need, I actually have a craving for tuna every so often. And before I learned of the treacherous news, tuna was in my mind.

I prepare it as many with mayonnaise, but when I lived in Hawaii, this lady I met in a church made cute little bite-sized sandwiches that had tuna, but also finely chopped onion, which was not a novelty, but what got my attention is that she added some capers.

With a little slice of cheddar cheese, these little sandwiches made with the small, thin slices of rye bread made an impression on me, so remained in my memory, and I try to replicate them every so often.

You just need to open up a can, a couple jars, there’s very little to chop, then you add the ingredients in a bowl and Voila! You’ll have delightful and refreshing canapés.

A Caper, as we know, is in the Olive tree family, possibly it is some offspring, but has no pits. And I never had a taste for olives, but I do enjoy capers.

There is a major difference in the size of your capers, pending on where you purchase; they were so tiny in Hawaii- you just opened up the jar and rolled out twenty onto a tablespoon, but in Latin America, they are much larger! It would be wise to cut them into fourths rather than adding five whole capers to that tuna salad.

So I had some crackers at the ready, the chopped capers too.

Yet I was curious what the election results were which in turn gave me a panic attack.

My head was spinning as I walked away from my desk. I was rather flabbergasted by the news, and mind you, on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico when the announcement was made.

Walking back into my kitchen with thoughts of legalized belittlement of women and approved groping, hatred for anyone with brown eyes, hatred for pretty much anyone who does not have the lower half of his face- the scorning grin. It’s bad if you’re an immigrant like my parents were, it’s horrible news if you’re from Mexico, where I live most of the time…

This really frightens me, as I lived in communist Poland in the 70’s and 80’s and DT seems definitely steered to a pretentious state for the country.

I usually drain some oil from the can of tuna for my Kudra. And I did that.

But I mixed up my salad without the onions. I mentioned before, a dog cannot eat them, Kudra’s diet exemplifies my own somewhat.

As I prepare a meal for Kudra and myself, I added her dog food in a bowl and stir it up. I thought it’s rather a hefty meal, but then realized I put her food into my very own bowl.

And that is the first way DT messed up in my personal life already.

An ode to an ol’ dog kennel

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An ode to an ol’ dog kennel

We found you at an animal clinic in Nayarit. It was love at first sight- you fit our needs and we bought you in an instant. The ten knobs for assembling! You were quite a workout and at times made me feel like a mad professor; you were resistant yet I respected your purpose. Large and heavy you were, but you served our need for many years. We appreciate your sturdiness, the comfort you provided Kudra in the luggage compartment of ADO buses or others…

Having you around for all these years made Kudra think you’re part of our family; when the time came to move you, she was right there at your side. She just did not want to see your insides ever again.

We will never mention you in our “Donde esta Kudra?” books; only because it would add a different tone to the tales. But here let us recollect your adventures.

Sorry that we did not note any of your past journeys- we never learned of them. But in the company of Kudra and I, you’ve visited eleven states of Mexico and two other countries. A total of five boat trips you had; two in Zihuatanejo, two in Lake Atitlan, and one from Livingston in Guatemala to Punta Gorda in Belize (oops it is six if you include the Macal River flood in San Ignacio). You just had an amazing and persistent presence in our lives, so we thank you!

Once we got to Guatemala, riding on backs of trucks to San Pedro la Laguna you became a sturdy container. Still, we needed you. Stacked up with your two parts you never served well, you were bulky and not graceful to move around, just indispensable.

All on your own you had quite an adventure in San Ignacio, Cayo District in Belize when Hurricane Earl (2016) washed you away from under a cabin at Mana Kai. Amazingly about a week later, you were recovered with all your three pieces!

If you could write, I’m sure you’d have a better story to tell.

Eventually we reunited in Bacalar, Quintana Roo and this is where we say our good-bye.

We’ll (sort of) miss your presence. And remember you forever. But your occupant is almost a Mexican citizen now; she can enter the bus like a passenger.

After all this love of ours, we have to declare now:

Large hefty kennel for sale in Bacalar.

 

Irma- the contest of meteorologists

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Irma- the contest of meteorologists

Since January I’ve been working for a firm in Florida. And eight months have been amazing, we have moved up with SEO keyword ranking for most our clients by 300%   It’s been five days that we haven’t maintained much productivity, but under the circumstances, I won’t press about it.

This super Hurricane Irma, to meteorologists, is like finding an ancient Mayan tomb to archeologists, I believe. This is their Magnum Opus; you can hear the excitement and anticipation in their presentations in the least. They’ve waited for coverage like this all their lives, the male meteorologists probably get an erection.

I watched the reports yesterday and today. I saw live footage of some choice Youtube shares of Irma approaching and amongst others, found a video from Washington Post with four cameras to watch the action. Three were “live” and another was a graph of the winds. Every once in a while I saw the camera move to another place- still grayish and breezy at best. The graph was somewhat mesmerizing with the colors and waves and tiny arrows showing the currents…But watching it can be rather stupefying, you know? After a while, I felt like I was watching the chunks of drive C Defragmenting. Take my word for it if you haven’t done that yourself.

It’s amusing to see reporters trying to withstand high winds. These guys/ gals will crack walnuts with their ass cheeks tomorrow. (So far one got almost blown away by a wind gust as I saw, others barely could stand on their feet sometimes- why do they do that?). The whole idea of a trio of major systems was going on at the same time is something I have never experienced.

Natural disasters are never pleasant but they always fascinated me; Avalanches, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Infernos, Mudslides, Tsunamis (check out my spooky creepy TV shows list if you care).

Today my preoccupations got much lighter; as I watched a live stream I also joined the coinciding chat. Many folks were saying “fake”. Fake wind, fake rain, fake damage. fake teeth, fake clothes…Certainly, in the same spirit of the White House, I had some fun with that!  

However, in the course of the day what really stood out to me is a video of the news van passing through the streets of Miami. They actually filmed a human being beside some shopping center.

guy in hurricane irma

The camera stayed on him for a minute or so and only his dreadlocks twirled in the wind. What I find disconcerting is that they just kept on going. I hope they called the authorities before moving along. Sure the man looks rather shady, but personally, I’d be somewhat disturbed to find him on the list of victims. Maybe he did not hear of the hurricane from being on crack or meth the last few days. Perhaps he’s been there for other storms because he appears unconcerned. I doubt anyone one would trust having him around, and beside a jail cell, where would this guy go? The vehicle started moving again and just a few meters away and around that corner the wind was ripping at 40mph.

The snapshot was “snipped” from a live feed about 8 hours ago.

This is only a lengthier version of my original post on FB from today found at:

Irma- FB post

Like owner- like dog

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Like owner- like dog
Too many dog owners let their pets get territorial. This evening we walked into Posada el Refugio and one of the guest’s dog got aggressive with Kudra. We diverted, but upon our departure some 30 minutes later (and another route that Kudra actually picked on her own), the dog ran away from the owner and was quite nasty. I know not to get between dogs, and fortunately, Kudra defended herself with her swift Ninja moves; she was never touched. Lucky dog because I was ready to whack it with the heavy end of Kudra’s leash I had hanging about my neck.
However, some dogs should just always remain in a sort of containment. They really do not deserve to roam free like the good dogs. Many times the owners should maintain themselves as well, a sort of prison of their own.
I should mention now we had some “situation” a couple weeks ago with another individual who ostensibly left his dog with my neighbor. The night before he left he was at the shore which is Kudra’s playground. The dogs were OK, but he called his over and when I went to the ashtray near them (yeah. I’m still smokin’ cigs) I noticed that he had a large rock to maim Kudra. I say this because there is a difference when you scare a dog with a little stone or have one large rock to really hurt it. And this guy had one that was big enough to do that. I like to discuss things and told him HE is the aggressor and eventually told him that if he does not put that rock down I will find another, much larger one to hurt him.
Although I get very distracted by issues that come aside, let’s get back to today’s story. What troubles me is that we have some ignorant owners of aggressive dogs that still live around us. That is a horrible thought to me, I love all creatures besides scorpions, snakes, alligators and centipedes etc, but I am very impartial to geckos btw. This stupid dog is supposedly going to San Diego, CA very soon. WTF? That dog was attacking a female dog that has no hormones. WTF?
So all that made me wonder if Mexico has different restrictions on kennels for dogs nationally (CUN- TIJ) because the one he has is more than likely not large enough for it to stand in it comfortably, that’s all. I doubt it and am only talking about the canine here, not the idiot. Really, because I believe if he had a chance he’d probably say his ego needs the room to be on a separate plane.
Anyhow, Kudra would have fit in a smaller kennel, but the reason to have one like that is not to cripple the pet should there be a mishap, right? It’s too late for me to ask “where did you get this dog?” etc.
After some belittling and chauvinistic remarks, when I said he needs to keep his dog nearby at all times, as I was walking away I shouted out that although he is the tallest of all present, he is as smart as a doorknob. He liked the phrase because I got it right back. How that dog tried to get her until the owner called him back, the ballet of moves that Kudrusia made, it was akin to Arya Stark in the sword fight with Brianna in Game of Thrones. I wish I filmed it but hope it’ll never happen again.
Originally posted on FB 31 Aug 2017

Bacalar’s Posada El Refugio becoming one of the best budget hotels in 2017!

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Bacalar’s Posada El Refugio becoming one of the best budget hotels in 2017!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico, January 27th, 2017 – Since the New Year begun, Posada El Refugio has been on the forefront of short term rental options and provides lodging, camping, parking for RV’s and campers, or lounging; for many travelers since 2007.

This spacious property offers a building with private rooms, another with two cabanas and a five-person dormitory, a huge palapa in the center of it all with hammocks, or a smaller area up front under a palm thatched roof where you can watch locals walk by, to have a “siesta”, or read a book. All guests have full use of the community kitchen with a gas stove or if you seek more flavor, you can cook something over firewood.

From almost everywhere you can see views of the lagoon for half the price of the sophisticated hotels nearby.

The Parque Ecologico sits just one block away from Posada El Refugio.

“It is a pleasant surprise to be recognized in the hospitality industry of this region. We will always strive to keep our clients happy and are grateful to accomplish this.” commented Nicodemus Arjona; Owner and manager of Posada El Refugio

Posada El Refugio is on Avenida 3

At the intersection of Calle 36 in Bacalar

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

You can visit them on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/PosadaElRefugioBacalar

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