Monday, March 30, 2009

Surfer Mom

Sometimes I wish I could be an actual surfer… or perhaps a boogie boarder, because even getting up out of bed is a struggle for me at this point in time, but I’m afraid that’s not in the stars. Taking a tumble at Jones Beach, when I was a kid ruined me for life; sand in my suit, tossed around not knowing which way is up, gasping for breath…it’s an experience I don’t want to repeat. Even now I need my sister, or some other person I trust, to take me past the break and tell me what to do. My heart pounds as I look behind at the wave approaching and yell, “What do I do?” “Jump”, my sister says…or “Dive through it!” Exhilarated and panicked, I’d wait for the next one…but that was years ago. Nowadays I’ll stick to the beach.

Sometimes I would bring a cheap boogie board to the beach…just in case. Just in case meant that if something went wrong, I would leap in the water with my boogie and save my child, Bay Watch style. My motherly instinct would overcome my fear and I would save the day!

As the years went by, my fear diminished as I saw my boy’s body change. He became a surfer. No longer a bony “flaco” (skinny boy), he had broad shoulders and fit arms. He paddled, duck dived, and rode the waves. He wasn’t a grouchy teenager; he became a nicer person when he surfed. It had some sort of “Zen” effect on his being. I spent more time reading and relaxing at the beach and I often missed him riding a good one. Soon he was driving on his own and he didn’t need me to take him to the beach. My only rule was that you should never surf alone and that someone should always be on the beach. I don’t know if he paid any attention.

I miss my days as Surfer Mom. I live up in the mountains a half hour from the beach. There’s a different climate where I live. It could be raining a downpour at home and sunny at the beach. I have to make sure I continue my beach trips. I too feel my “Zen” at the beach. No longer clad in a bikini, not even a bathing suit; I go fully dressed with a hat and a shawl to cover my sun damaged chest and I leave my white legs peaking out from my capris to try to get a little color. I bring my books and magazines and feel like I really live in the Caribbean. It’s been over twenty-five years and my mountain jungle is definitely my home, but the sun and the wind and the blue water is island life. Even without my son or my daughter I have to make time for the beach. I’m a Surfer Mom and pretty soon I might be Mom to the Arecibo locals as I make my way to the beach alone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Perfect Wedding in Puerto Rico

It's the perfect place...a bride's dream: romantic with flowers all around....and I think the groom would feel probably the same: a casual setting in the open air in which there were lots of nooks and crannies to hang out ... or hide?).....

Hacienda Siesta Alegre in Rio Grande is a private Mexican style house on a horse farm in the hills of El Yunque Rain forest. A picture's worth a thousand words so check it out....From the entrance path up to the main house, to the grass walk down to the ceremonial altar, Siesta Alegre is beautiful...bouganvilleas abound overflowing from the clay tile rooves.

After the ceremony the guests were ushered through the house with cocktails passing the lit fireplace. As evening approached, the fire warmed the cool crisp air of El Yunque. The dining tables surrounded the open air patio dancing floor and music filled the air. There were no down pours, but there was a sprinkle of showers on and off that did nothing to inhibit the party. There are various hotels in the area and the bride and groom were wise enough to hire a van to drive their guests to their hotel where the party continued.

And so now you know...if you're looking for the perfect wedding locale in the Caribbean, check out Hacienda Siesta Alegre....and then enjoy your honeymoon at TJ Ranch....just ask Carlos and Melissa. They ended their week long travels on the island at TJ Ranch and then were ready for getting back to the "real world."

We may not leave the farm often, but when we do it's worth our while. This was a wedding to remember!!

Best wishes for a happy life together, Carlos and had a great start!!! Felicidades!!!

(Please excuse the graphic layout of this blog...I can't seem to post the pictures the way I want ...and can't get them to move around!!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Going "Greener" ???


I'm writing this blog in response to Antigonum Cajan who has left me two comments on my blog. The last one I couldn't seem to comment back to him (or her) so I thought I would make a blog dedicated to the issues. Here is the not so nice comment which was written after my Art in the Mountains blog.

"I mentioned it before too much lawn, in turn= pollution with lawn mowers, trimmers, blowers. A total contradiction while looking for nature... Get it on ..."

of all I'd like to say again that specific suggestions are welcome. Talk is cheap. We would love to put away our tractor, mower, trimmer and machete. We're not only growing coffee and oranges, we're growing tired...anything we can do to make maintenance easier and "greener", we're all for it. In fact I'll be telling you about our "green" cookware in a future blog.

But first of clarify...where exactly is our lawn?
Is it this? This is the goat pasture...which isn't very "good" grass for the goats, but is great for Sr. Villalobos who comes and harvests it to twist the grass for his furniture.

Or perhaps you're talking about this lawn? We have the view out the yellow casita into the coffee farm...not exactly "lawn"....

We do have green spots between the parking s
paces of the that what you mean?
...and then there's our "pond"...please tell us how to get rid of the jungle which is invading our wetlands...

We also have grass at the bocce and horseshoes court connecting the pool area and restaurant. Is that what you mean? or the space between the parking area an
d the restaurant?

There is a lot of grass here, but I would hardly call it a "lawn". Your profile shows a beautifully landscaped urban about some jungle farmland?

We're always looking for experts...we built TJ Ranch poco a poco...learning as we go. There's always room for put on your overalls,
Antigonum Cajan, and show us your stuff!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Art in the Mountains

Wilma and Angel, two of our frequent gusts, told me about their trip to Jayuya and their stop at a gallery with artesania and paintings. They told us of meeting Miguel Angel Guzman, painter and musician, who not only impressed them with his painting, but delighted them with his guitar music and voice. They were so enthusiastic, I had to get off my mountain and check this place out!!

As you wind on Rt.140 heading towards Jayuya from Utuado there is a white building with bright Taino graphics and paintings outside. Galeria Saguay open Fri,Sat,Sun. 9-5

Olga Reyes welcomed us into the gallery and showed us her latest work.

After chatting up a storm and looking around, selecting items for us to sell at TJ Ranch, Olga led us downstairs to the gallery where her husband paints and displays his art work. A combination of Puerto Rican lore and Picassoesque brightly painted canvases are displayed in the cool cellar of the gallery. Miguel took his time to explain his work and his life in New York and on the island and then delighted us with a concert on his guitar. It was truly an afternoon to remember.
To top off the excursion, we headed down the hill on Rt. 140 and found a comfortable place to get a bite to eat...a pincho stop on the road...with cool breezes and delicious munchies!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Extreme Sports - February

Next year I hope to post these events before they happen:

February 11-15th: Arecibo hosted Puerto Rico Freefall Festival...the picture above shows Fred packing up his parachute which he takes as "carry-on" back to Ohio. The skydivers do most of their diving at the Arecibo airport in order to get as many dives packed in as they can...the last dive of the day, they can do at the beach.

Fred and Donna enjoyed staying in the mountains. It was a close trip to the airport...about 30 minutes....away from it all....and they had plenty of time to take day trips to the beach.

February 28 -March 1: Corona Surf Contest: Domes Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico...Watch the pro surfers battle it out for the $15,000 prize.
winners were: Brian Isabela local and Karina Petroni from Florida.