HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2012

Jeesh! Time flies especially when a year goes by in the course of a week! Here we are caught up to 2012 already!

January 12, 2012

Happy New Year!  One of my resolutions is to be more diligent about my journal; it’s hard to believe eight months have passed since the last entry! What’s been happening? Well, pups of course, and a trip to the States to visit family and friends.  It was great to see how mature my middle-aged sons have become, how much the grand kids have grown, how old and fat my ex-boyfriend has gotten. (My other resolution is to lose 10 lbs.)

But let’s face it; portly or svelte, I’m out of the First World loop. Every time I head north I realize how far I’ve drifted from the mainstream that used to be my culture. My wardrobe lacks bulk, so I’m always cold. The recycled air makes my nose bleed. The over processed food, which I so look forward to consuming, makes me sick. The sedentary lifestyle focused around watching professional athletes play sports on TV leaves me restless.  But because I have spent the last 20 years driving on the left side of the road, it would be just plain dangerous for me to face high speed traffic on the right. I always travel with a long wish list go with a long list of that are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive in the Caribbean, but  I can’t really go anywhere until someone volunteers to drive me–everything is so spread out in suburbia, and everybody’s too busy. Oh, well.  Beyond a trip to my favorite thrift store and the art museum, it’s nice just to spend time just relaxing with the kids.

After spending two weeks in the land of manicured lawns and wall to wall white carpeting, my home in the really real world, as I lovingly call Dominica, looks and smells like a barn in the jungle. But the dogs are all still alive and happy to see me, the river is still running clear, and there is still food falling on my head. Really, what more could an island granny ask for?

February 29, 2012

Leap Year! No wonder everything seems out of whack! So far it’s been a funky dry season here in the rainforest. The gloomy, cold weather that began last December has lingered all the way through February. Dogs are shivering, laundry refuses to dry, seedlings drown in the garden, and I have long since run out of clean socks and sweat pants. What is going on? Usually by Carnival time the cool weather turns around and it begins to warm up. But this year the rain refuses to stop, and the sun refuses to shine. They say there’s been a lot of solar activity. Shall I blame the crummy weather on sun spots? Or is the world heading toward some sort of monumental astrological disaster?

Despite the foul weather during the day, the night sky has been extraordinary. Venus was so bright in the early January sky that I was sure Dominica was being invaded from outer space. The planets have also been putting on a show. Last week, Jupiter aligned itself with a bright orange waxing moon, causing an eclipse-like ring to form around the circumference. In early March, they say the planet Mars will also be visible—a virtual tropical planetarium! But what about lonely Planet Earth?

According to Monument Six, an ancient Mayan stone tablet, the end of the 13th Baktun will occur on December 21, 2012. At that time a mythological god will purportedly descend from the sky, and the sun will simultaneously line up with the center of our Milky Way Galaxy for the first time in 25,800 years. as a result, our sun will appear to rise in the same spot as the center of the galaxy sets. Or something like that. An Islamic prophecy warns us that the end of creation will occur in just about the same way–‘When the sun rises in both the east and the west.’  Kablewi! Are these two predictions just  a spooky coincidence, or do you think 12/21/12  could it really mark the end of the world? Nah. 

HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2011

Aha! Apparently 2011 was filled with favorable omens and magical surprises!

January 16, 2011

We have only one species of owl in Dominica: Tyto alba, the West Indian Barn Owl. In Patois we call it Chawan.  12-17” in height, it is a long-legged owl with a heart shaped face. The West Indian Barn Owl lives in caves, old buildings, and sometimes church steeples. It feeds on small fury animals such as bats, rats and mice, as well as small birds.  Its voice is a hissing scream, and sometimes a loud clicking. Although I have often heard its call at night, I have never seen one out and about during the daytime, as it is said to be nocturnal.

Okay.  Then why did I spend half an hour between 6:30 and 7 a.m. watching this one up close and personal (as close as 20 ft. away) as it perched on my garden  gate? Facing away from me, it slowly turned its head and stared straight at me for about ten minutes, blinking its big black eyes. Then it swooped to the roof of the guest cottage, and finally flitted to the top of a  convenient banana tree, all in broad daylight. It seemed to have some sort of territorial issue with the family of Little Blue Herons that frequent the fish pond at dusk and dawn. But it also showed plenty of curiosity about me.

The Barn Owl is a spiritual bird for the Kalinago Indians and superstitious Dominicans in general. Depending on the number of calls it makes, i.e. one, two, or three, its appearance signifies a pregnancy, an illness, or a death in the area. But intuition told me that this bird was a harbinger of #3, — spooky and strangely familiar looking. According to local folklore, the  spirits of the dead hang around for 3 days before they travel on to wherever they’re going. Indeed, my neighbor Oliver, who had a heart-shaped face and big black eyes, died 3 days ago. Coincidence? Hmm. Maybe. Or maybe not.

January 20, 2011

Call me crazy, but out of all the people who attended the funeral mass of the very same friend and neighbor, Oliver, I was the only one who noticed the intense  rainbow which arched over the steeple of the Catholic church where he was buried. Was the rainbow, like the Barn Owl that was perched on my garden gate, a favorable omen? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. For instance, while I was making my bed this morning, a six inch long centipede flung itself from beneath the covers onto the floor.  If I had been bitten during the night by such a brute, I might now be in the hospital instead of telling this story .

Speaking of magic and realism, one of the reasons I enjoy living here in the really real world is that there doesn’t have to be a logical explanation for everything. In fact, if you can explain it, it’s probably not magical. Living so close to nature, however, gives one time and reason to consider these universal clues. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, there is a word in Sanskrit: Antevasin. It refers to a person who leaves the hustle of the worldly life behind in order to seek spiritual guidance in a natural setting.  Here in the rainforest., surrounded by the towering trees, the hum of the river, and the music of birdsong, I am free to follow my intuition and take whatever risks I choose. Lucky me.

September 30, 2011

Although Dominica has been spared from hurricanes so far this year, two major natural disasters have occurred within the last 60 days. The dam at the Miracle Lake burst on July 27th, sending millions of gallons of water and tons of sand down through the Layou Valley. Then a freak lightning and thunderstorm on September 27th caused bridges to be washed out along the west coast, landslides to block interior roadways, and vehicles and equipment to wind up in the sea.

The lake dam burst around midnight. A wall of water gained speed as it rushed down through the gorge and took out the concrete bridge that connects the west coast and the interior. Luckily the road was abandoned because of the late hour, but animals tied along the river bank weren’t so fortunate. Cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and a couple of dogs disappeared. Local residents clung to their roofs as their houses flooded. The impeccable greenhouses at the Chinese agricultural station were severely damaged. According to a witness, a 40 foot steel container full of chainsaws, lawnmowers, and brush cutters, also belonging to the Chinese, shot down the raging river and sank abruptly when it reached the sea. Various Bob Cats, tractors, and pickups were likewise never seen again. The sand and debris that the flash flood left behind rendered the Layou road completely impassable.

A freak rain storm that was the tail end of Hurricane Irene attacked the same general area exactly two months later.  13 landslides blocked the Imperial road, the only other route from the west coast to the interior, and additional flooding cut off the north from the south. Some vehicles parked by the coast were left battered and floating in the sea. Children had to be rescued by the fire department from the roof of the adjacent school. I personally was struck by lightning standing at my kitchen sink, which is a story in itself. I had a hand on each of the metal faucets and was letting water run over a head of lettuce when lightning apparently struck the cistern in the forest. I heard a sharp crack and watched in amazement as a sizzling bolt of sparks traveled from one faucet to the other between my hands. The jolt knocked me over backwards, flat on my back, and for a moment I wondered if I might possibly be dead. I was later advised that if I hadn’t had both hands on the faucets, or had been barefooted instead of wearing rubber sandals, I probably would have fried. Double lucky me!

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HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2010

February 17, 2010

Will the party ever end? Close on the heels of the celebration of Christmas, New Years, and a special holiday to celebrate the victory of the Dominican Labour Party, this year’s Carnival has come and gone. And despite the languishing state of the economy, it was a good one.

Initially there was much talk about changing the date of  Real Mas because there might not be enough time to for calypsonians to prepare their material after the election. Never fear! Corruption, lack of transparency, bribery, and general bobol  provided a wealth of material for the songsters. It’s interesting; people down here generally tend to take what they get without much thought of revolution or rebellion. Calypsos, however, provide a traditional, entertaining way for the populace to express social protest without getting into too much trouble. During Carnival, lawless lawyers, embarrassing ambassadors, and dishonest politicians have no choice but to take their verbal blows.  Through the popular language of Calypso, important issues are addressed, names are called, and judgments are pronounced all in the disguise of fun. Even those who voted for Labour found themselves jumping up to catchy tunes like “Looking for their Pocket,” “In de Garbage Bin,Dr. Finger,” and “He’s a Boy.”

But eventually Fat Monday’s joy dissolves into Ash Wednesday’s hangover. And trust me: a good portion of Dominicans are suffering from the kind of brain damage which results from drinking too much rum in close proximity to the loud speakers of the Carnival band. I suppose that’s why the Catholic Church created Lent. Those that misbehaved will have to behave  themselves, at least until the next scheduled official holiday, Easter Monday.

Oct 13, 2010

Today is my birthday. Last year a great dog died and a twelve- year human relationship came to an end. Sad, but not disabling.  Indeed, life goes on. The question now becomes how to pursue one’s passion without falling in the trap of reinventing past memories. Hmm. Should I buy a new car? Install solar electricity? Have more puppies? Get a new boyfriend? The first two items were accomplished with the help of a loan from the good old U.S. Bank, my Ridgeback dogs were more than happy to help me out with number three, but I think I’ll pass on number four for the time being.

As I get older, I sometimes reflect on  what caused me to decide to live in such an innocuous corner of the world in the first place. Was it my choice or my destiny to leave the green fields of Ohio in order to migrate to the Caribbean to watch the full moon sink into an electric blue sea? Was I born to worship the magnificence of the tropical rainforest and the rush of the crystal clear river instead of the movie stars and sports heroes of my own culture? Is early morning birdsong truly more inspirational than rock music on the radio? Is it possible that swirling schools of tropical fish and leaping dolphins are more entertaining than anything I’ve ever seen on TV? Could there be more beauty in the sinuous curve and subtle shading of a double rainbow than in the most famous piece of architecture or art?

There is a word in Sanskrit: Antevasin. It refers to a person who lives on the edge; one who leaves the hustle of the worldly life behind in order to seek spiritual guidance in a natural setting.  Perhaps that’s what I’ve been doing here in Dominica for the past eighteen years. What will eventually become of an oddball like me? I will leave the books I’ve written behind, and then, like everybody else, I’ll rise into the air or sink into the sea or settle into the dust to nourish those who come behind me.

December 21, 2010

Did you see it?  The total eclipse of the full moon? No matter how many times I study the scientific explanation for this phenomenon, the information passes through my brain like a sieve. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested. Why else would someone rise at three o’clock in the morning on the Winter’s Solstice?  As I stumbled from my bed out onto the veranda, the full moon was fully shadowed and glowing a rich copper umber. Crickets and frogs had ceased their nightly chorus, but the air was extra-sweet with the scent of honey suckle and jasmine. I thought about those who had to bundle up and brave the cold to view this magical event. Barefooted, I settled into a wicker chaise with a cup of homegrown coffee and my binoculars wearing only cotton pajamas, lucky me.

Although I had missed the waning part of the eclipse, I witnessed the entire restitution. As the sun and the full moon and the earth did their once in every 372nd shortest day of the year tango, a multitude of stars blazed in the clear, darkened sky. The Big Dipper pointed resolutely to the North Star, which strangely is much more visible here than it is up north.  The gigantic constellation Orion lifted his arms in salute. The “Star of Wonder” twinkled brightly, still westward leading. All the while a meteor shower called Ursid performed luminous miracles.

As for the moon itself, it was perfect: Perfectly dark, perfectly light, perfectly round, perfectly beautiful. It shone with such silvery intensity as the shadow slowly receded that it was impossible to imagine the Universe had plans for anything but a bright and positive future. Yet there are those who believe in the negative–that the world as we know it will end on the Solstice, December 21, 2012. All I can say is that I’m grateful it wasn’t tonight.

 

HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2009

March 9, 2009

What? No entries for more than a year? The six major events that came to pass since my last journal entry are as follows:

*The European Union, bless them, gifted my nearly impassable feeder road with a cement two-wheel track all the way from the end of my driveway to the main road. For three months I trekked ever further to reach my transport, which was eventually parked 1-1/2 miles away from my home, bearing loads of groceries, dog food, propane tanks, etc. But boy was it worth it! The new road isn’t perfect, but it’s a helluva lot better.

*Due to the improved road, I resurrected the guest house. I’m getting French families because of the two bedrooms and the pool, and I find them delightful and intrepid. They appreciate my cooking, and, despite the rainy weather, I get a chance to take them hiking while practicing my French.

*Unfortunately, the last litter of puppies had a lot of problems, perhaps due to the cold, wet weather. There were plenty of vet bills involved, and I’m beginning to wonder if I have the emotional, physical, and or financial stamina to keep on trying to breed nice dogs.

*Speaking of financial difficulties, the bank in the US lost ¼ of my income in last year’s banking crisis. Luckily my social security kicks in at the end of this year. I’ll be 62 and SS actually asked me if I wanted to wait so I could collect more! Are you kidding? I want it NOW!

*Since dogs seem to be the main focus of my existence lately, I write about them. I sent out several a queries for my a collection of short stories for young adults, Mutant Mongrels: Six Hair Raising Tall “Tails” of Extraordinary Dogs and Their Human Companions to literary agents in the States. Wish me luck!

*And best of all, the bare-eyed robin began to carol yesterday from the edge of the forest, a sure sign of a drier, warmer spring.

December 24, 2009

Let it be known to all those concerned that as an American I do not vote in overseas elections. It’s illegal according to the US, and somehow it wouldn’t feel right despite the fact that I have been a Dominican citizen for the past ten years.

On 18 December, 2009, the Dominican Labour Party led by Roosevelt Skerrit won the hastily called general election by a virtual landslide. DLP retained 18 seats in Parliament as opposed to 3 for the Opposition. Disgruntled minorities  on the radio  wonder if their fellow countrymen are serious Dominicans or merely Dummies-in-a-can!  Ha! Gone are the days of Dame Eugenia Charles and her well-orchestrated alliance with Ronald Regan, PM Edison James and his grass roots association with banana farmers, and even Rosie Douglas’s maverick socialist vision. By re-electing Skerrit, Dominicans gave thumbs up to government’s coalition with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Alba, and Petro Caribe. They also sealed our commitment to a One China policy by kicking out the Taiwanese. Élas, they even agreed to a fishing partnership with Japan, including the hunting of whales.  

The victory celebration will surely continue through the New Year. But here in the rainforest I prefer to concentrate on peaceful living instead of robust politics. The spirit of Christmas is in the air regardless of the heat generated on the campaign trail. Days are crisp and clear, and the nights are moonlit and star studded. The chatter of parrots, the rush of the river, and the cool breeze blowing across the ridges and ravines make the nearly hysterical red and blue flag waving by the roadside seem irrelevant.

But don’t worry. It will take much more than convoluted politics to make me lose faith in the essence of this beautiful place that I have adopted as my home. Long live the true essence of the Nature Island of the Caribbean—green, unspoiled Dominica!

HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2008

Over the years, I bred hundreds of quality puppies at River Ridge Farm. The joke was that the island might eventually sink under their weight!

May 27, 2008

The breeding of dogs or any species of animals for anthropocentric reasons is a serious responsibility under the best of circumstances. Here on a small island it’s downright scary. What if there’s a hurricane and no commercial dog food can be imported for months? You’d better make sure even the highest of breeds will eat ripe bananas  and breadfruit boiled with fish. What happens when the customer base is broke or exhausted? You’d best lower your price and your expectations. What do you do in an emergency when there’s no vet? You’ll have to resort to folk cures and herbal medicines and hope you’ve chosen the right ones.

As a breeder of Rottweilers and Rotts crossed with Ridgebacks, I do my best to place the right pup with the right owner–I have even been known to refuse to sell pups to certain individuals. In my mind, a well matched combination of dog and owner is made in heaven. It doesn’t always have to be a lovey-dovey, gooey-wooey baby talking affair. Sometimes it’s just the meeting of an eye, a gentle touch, or a kind word gets the chemistry flowing.

Apart from the callous criminal who abuses animals (and probably people, too), the bond between human beings and canines is a pretty basic instinct. Ancient mythology is full of miraculous tales of doggy devotion to their masters, wonderful epics jam packed with loyalty, love, and adventure. My personal favorite is one of Aboriginal origin. It tells of how, at the beginning of time, the crust of the earth split open leaving a pair of two-legged creatures (a man and a woman) on one side of the chasm, and two of each of the species of four-legged animals on the other. At the last possible moment, the dogs attempted to leap across the abyss, but fell short, hanging by their claws on the side of the cliff. The humans helped them to safety, and the two species have been living harmoniously ever since. 

As if there wasn’t enough written on the subject, I’ve just compiled a collection of short stories about Ridgeback dogs and their owners.  Mutant Mongrels: Six Hair-Raising Tall “Tails”, is set around the world and covers several thousand years–from the Stone Age in the Arctic Circle; adventure on the high seas of the Indian Ocean; Ancient Egypt; the coliseum of the Roman Empire;, the Post-Classic Era in the Mexican Highlands, colonial times in Southern Rhodesia; up through real time on a Caribbean island. Whew. I learned so much and had so much fun in the process that maybe I’ll get around to publishing it someday!

HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2007

Hi Folks, We’re getting there. Only  six more years to go!

April 26, 2007 

As an American who grew up in the Mid-West, my traditional celebrations were patterned around the cycles of the four seasons. That worldview, however, does not apply to living in the tropics.  The weather here in Dominica is two-faced–too wet or too dry—take your pick. One has to be clever to live in sync with such extremes.

This duality affects everything from gardening to animal husbandry to roof repair. The window of agricultural success opens and closes abruptly. Although root crops like dasheen and yams can make it most anytime, a good portion of the year is much too wet for soft vegetables to flourish. January, February, and March have suitable rain for seeds to germinate, but ruinous downpours can occur even into April. May marks the onset of kawenm, the dry season. As soon as the gloomy days become luminous, animals instinctively take advantage of the bright weather. Puppies frolic, chickens lay more eggs, goats produce healthy, lively offspring, and Boas come out to  bask in the sun.

As a person who attempts to live in harmony with nature, I, too, revel in the sunshine. But I also make sure that repairs and preparations are completed by June when the fearsome spirit of Huracan threatens an unwelcome appearance. From then on there’s nothing to do but keep good supply of batteries, a pantry full of tinned goods, and your fingers crossed until December.

August 19, 2007

I should have had an intuition–things were going along much too smoothly here in the rainforest. The garden was producing like mad, and so were my dogs. River’s puppies had sold nicely, so when Valley, my other female Rott/Ridgeback, and Roxie, my pure Rottweiler, came into heat at the same time, I took a chance and bred them both. Voila!. Valley had eleven pups on May 16th and Roxie had five on May 17th.  Sixteen puppies, and every one survived! It took all my patience and marketing skills, but they were all finally settled in good homes. Now, I thought, it was time to relax. Maybe I’d take time to go and visit my family in the States before the next round of puppies arrived. But then there was talk of Tropical Depression # 4. I tracked it diligently as it rolled around in the Atlantic trying to make up its mind where to pass. Unfortunately, it seemed Tropical Storm Dean was headed straight towards Dominica.

A warning was issued. Dean, now a Category 1 Hurricane, would affect the island within 24 hours. The next morning, I, along with most of the population of Dominica, made a mad dash for supplies. (In my case more batteries, dog food, rum and tins of baked beans) and was back home before noon. I then spent the rest of the day battening down the hatches and trying to figure out where to put the dogs so that they would be safe. The wind started around 3 o’clock in the morning. By 10 a.m., it was blowing 100 MPH and lashing the island with a total of 20 inches of rain. The house stood strong, but there farm took heavy blows. As I write, phone lines are down, and a monumental landslide blocks the road. No telling how long I will be trapped at home without communication. Humph! Forget about a vacation. It looks like I’ve got plenty more work to do.

December 24, 2007

Season’s Greetings from the Dominican Rainforest!

Christmas is in the air! The days are brilliant, and the nights are cool and clear. Though lacking in what is perceived by some as traditional holiday décor, the stars have been so bright that extraneous lights, even if they were an option, would ruin the effect. The full moon, which falls tonight, on Christmas Eve, is another cause for celebration.

The shrubs of poinsettia that flourish on both sides of the long lane that leads to the house are also putting on a spectacular show. Over six feet tall and wildly profuse, they are the free range cousins of the tidy greenhouse varieties I grew up knowing. A tamer Euphorbia, one with much smaller foliage and tiny white blossoms reminiscent of snow, is planted alongside the standard variety. Together they conjure up images of starched white lace and big red satin bows on expensive presents.

The appearance of scarlet blossoms on the African Tulip trees that populate the otherwise verdant slopes of Morne Courrone is another sure sign of the season. The mountains above the river are ablaze with them. Bright red and green Jaco parrots flock noisily among the branches, flashing like gaudy glass bulbs, while scores of iridescent hummingbirds flit among the flowers. Christmas is the only time of the year that sugar cane blooms. The plumes glitter and wave in the breeze, causing visions of tinsel to dance in my head. This is also the season for Sorrel, a clear red drink made from the sepals of a member of the hibiscus family. Now that I’ve boiled it with local spices, poured it over lots of ice, and spiked it with rum, here’s wishing you all a Merry, Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

HERE IN THE RAINFOREST, 2006

The ongoing saga of “Here in the Rainforest”continues.  Looks like 2006 was kind of a funky year. . .

April 2, 2006

Despite world-wide concern about drought and global warming, the first quarter of the year here in the rainforest has been extraordinarily cold and wet. I have been waiting since January for a sunny day to repaint the big gates on the driveway and the guest house, but it’s as if were living in a permanent dome of mist and gloom.

Forget about tropical style and fashion. In the last three months, I have unearthed articles of clothing that I never thought I would wear in the Caribbean– turtlenecks, sweatpants, and athletic socks are layered under my hooded Gore-Tex raincoat and tall rubber boots. The mud gets deeper every day, and neither the house nor my body is a shining example of cleanliness. Facing a cold shower in this kind of weather is no picnic, and taking a dip in the pool is out of the question. Yesterday morning, as I headed down the mountain with a wet head, the air blowing inside the open windows of the transport was so cold that I actually got an earache before I reached town.

The house dogs have shunned sleeping on the veranda to pile on top of one another close to my bed on the mounds of extra blankets that might have slipped onto the floor. The dogs in the kennel howl all night long and the chickens in the coop sleep with their backs to the wind. Carrots are rotting in the ground, cabbages are slimy, peppers and green beans are dropping their leaves, and okras are moldy. 

Maybe this is the year to consider growing mushrooms!

June 14, 2006

The guesthouse has been completed. The guest has come, gone, and not come back again.  I shouldn’t worry as I was paid a year in advance, but I hope it isn’t because of something I did or said? Maybe it’s the lousy weather. In an event, I don’t think I’ll take it personally.

More worrisome is the fact that my friendly bats have deserted me. No more fluttering velvety wings above the head of the bed just before dawn, no more bat babies squeaking during the early evening, no more “Walters” as I affectionately call them. It’s true that I have been busy giving the house a general cleanup after all the wet weather. As I carefully dusted and scrubbed and painted around their main indoor habitats during the day (behind a big guided mirror, a watercolor painting under glass, and an expensive stretched canvas), I discretely monitored my little friends. Each time I looked there seemed to be fewer bats and more and more mosquitoes.

One night, when I found their habitats empty, I took down the mirror and the artwork and cleaned their rather stinky domain. After sweeping up two dustbins full of bat poop, and carefully spreading it in the pots of  my favorite houseplants, I washed the walls down with diluted Clorox, and applied a light coat of paint hoping it would dry before  morning.  I set the alarm and  leaped from my bed right before dawn to hang back the pictures so the bats would have a place to stay. I was relieved when one or two of the tiny creatures settled back in like nothing had happened.

But now they’ve vanished—upstairs, downstairs, and behind the outside shutters. The entire valley, which is usually teeming with bats of all descriptions (Dominica has 12 species) in the early evening, is deserted. Surely a bit of house cleaning on my part couldn’t have disturbed the entire population of bats at River Ridge? Where have my friends gone? Do they know something I don’t? Perhaps there’s a hurricane on the way.  Maybe I’m batty, but this one I do take personally.

December 31, 2006

Another year in the rainforest has come to a close. There was never anything like a hurricane, but I can’t say it has been the best of years. For example: While struggling to complete the guest house early in the year, I took a couple of nasty falls, and was forced to spend a good deal of time recuperating.  I also got involved breaking up several dogfights during the spring. Then my eighteen year old transport gave up in June, and I begged for a ride for months before I was able to purchase a used pick-up truck. In the meantime, my computer broke down, putting a serious damper on my aspiring writing career.  Lucky, my foundation Rottweiler, died of Leptospirosis in October.  I had to have Wanda, my darling castaway pit bull, put to sleep, and Hillary, another foundling, got hit by a car.

On the bright side, my oldest son paid me a long overdue visit in November. It was great to see him and receive the gifts that he bore, but the new computer he brought down has already developed a glitch. Likewise, the boom box refuses to play CD’s, and the solar spotlight, which was exorbitantly expensive, doesn’t work. One of the best gifts was the emergency radio which is cranked by hand. I was able to enjoy AM, FM, and shortwave without investing in expensive batteries right up until the crank broke off. My new hiking boots are taking me where I want to go, so  as long as I can keep them away from the dogs’ teeth. 

I bought two stands of Christmas lights in December, but when I plugged them in, the generator blew up! Jeesh! I sure hope the New Year of 2007 is a bit brighter!