Tuesday, May 26, 2009

my trip to Disney part 1

Align CenterMy mum...doesn't she look good....can anyone guess her age?


After attending Lauren's graduation , we flew to Miami South Florida on Sunday where we spent the night with my mother in law. The next day we rented a car for the trip to Orlando. Lauren was the driver and moi, was the navigator extraordinaire.

We started off at 1.30 pm with a packed cooler of water, drinks and snacks made by my darling mother in law Barbara. We had maps Barbs gave us from the AAA mapping the route to Orlando so we were set. The journey was estimated to take 3 1/2 hours. We planned on going to the Orlando airport to collect my mum who was flying in from New Jersey.

The adventure began........two hours later we were still trying to get out of Miami. My daughter said that we should go back to the house and start again from there. I gave an emphatic no! I didn't want Barbs to know that we two fools couldn't even get out of Miami and have her worry. We circled the airport several times and I muttered under my breath that we should have taken a flight.

We were low on gas so we pulled into a gas station. By the way my other duties besides being the navigator extraordinaire, was also the official gas pumper. I had never pumped gas before and assumed that Lauren knew how to. She then told me that she too had never pumped gas in her life even though she has driven in the USA. We looked at each other and I said to myself "lord have mercy on us". Now in Barbados, we have gas attendants to do that, so this was a new experience. Lauren paid for the gas and I took the pump and attempted to fill the tank. Nothing happened, I pressed the trigger several times and still nothing happened. I was about to complain that the pump wasn't working when Lauren came and pulled the pump lever to start the gas flowing telling me that was how it should be done as if she was used to doing it. Huh .......I was sure she had seen that somewhere in the movies.

Lauren kept harping on about not having a GPS system in the car. We then spotted a Best Buy somewhere in Hialeah and stopped to check them out. I decided to ask the very helpful sales associate for directions, he told us that it was very easy, just to take the turnpike and head north. I then asked him if he wanted a ride to Disney....... he declined LOL. Well we decided not to purchase the GPS and follow his directions. We got onto the turnpike and and headed north to Orlando.We were on our way! Orlando here we come....... taaadaaah. I was instructed to read the map out aloud and give precise instructions.

Now we are from an island that only has single lanes on very narrow roads and highways. Only recently the government added two additional lanes to one major highway. We also drive on the other side of the road like the Brits. So driving on the Florida Turnpike where half of the highway is bigger than our widest road is a bit alarming to say the least. My daughter learnt to drive in the USA so she was more used to driving on the other side. Dem lanes had me in a kerfuffle as the Bajans would say.

Anyway we settled down for the 3 hour drive to Orlando, the navigator moi, had a new eta for 6.00 pm. My mother was arriving around 4.30pm so we were definitely not going to be able to pick her up. I later called her when she arrived and instructed her take the shuttle to the hotel.

We chatted and snacked, listened to the radio to a talk show on a subject that had us both shocked and laughing (how often should ladies wear their undies before washing them) eeeeehew. We said only in America a program like that can be aired LOL. We arrived Orlando around 6.00 pm and headed for Kissimee where we would be staying.

My mum called to ask how far away we were. Moi the navigator extraordinaire, happily told her that we were heading to the hotel and would be there in 30-45 mins. An hour and a half later we were still searching for the hotel. We saw a signboard to the airport and I suggested that we should go there and take the shuttle to the hotel LOL. At least we would surely get there!

My mum called again to ask where we were, we told her that we are really near, only thing we are at the back of the hotel and that we were just saying that she should come to collect our bags. We were going to throw them over the barbed wire fence. We were laughing uncontrollably by this time. Lauren then noticed that we were almost out of gas as we exited the back of the hotel, so we stopped and filled up at a nearby station.

We finally arrived at the front entrance of the hotel and checked in around 8.00pm. My mum was sitting in the lobby and was very happy to see us. We were given keys and told that the room was located at the back of the hotel where Lauren and I  recognized,  a familiar barbed wire fence.

To be continued........

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Congrats to The Graduate

The serene campus of Illinois State University

Tulips at Illinois State University

The Biology Faculty

The Red Birds Arena....the graduation hall

a proud momma with the graduate

the graduate bsc msc

My beautiful daughter Lauren graduated earlier this month from Illinois State University in Normal Illinois USA. She graduated with a master's degree in Kinesiology and Recreation majoring in Recreation Administration. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at that same university in 2005. She was a track and field athlete and you can see below some of her achievements whilst at university.

2004-05: Only used outdoor eligibility ... took third in the long jump (18-10 3/4) at the State Farm MVC Outdoor Championships ... took sixth in the triple jump at the MVC Outdoor Championships with a jump of 40-4 3/4, which qualified her for the NCAA Mid-East Regional ... placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (14.36) during the MVC Outdoor Championships ... recorded a personal best in the triple jump at the Mideast Regional with a jump of 41-4 1/2 ... earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships in the triple jump ... broke the triple jump school record at the national meet with a jump of 41-8 3/4 ... member of the MVC Scholar-Athlete team.

2003-04: Tore her ACL during the pentathlon at the Indiana Invite ... before the injury, set a school record in the long jump portion of the pentathlon with a leap of 19-11 ... won the long jump at the Early Bird Invite in December of 2003 with a leap of 19-2 1/2. 2002-03: Conference champion in the indoor long jump with a distance of 19-4 3/4 ... placed third in the conference in the indoor triple jump with a distance of 40-3 1/4 ... took sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor championships with a time of 8.87.

At Austin Peay State: Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Champion in 2001 ... OVC Outdoor Athlete of the Year in spring of 2002 ... APSU athletic honor roll member fall of 2000 and spring of 2001 ... holds the APSU indoor high jump and long jump record ... set the Barbados National record in the heptathlon (5,489 points) ... 10th-place finish in the heptathlon at the 2002 NCAA meet.

Well done my sweetie pie, this journey has come to an end and a new one has just begun! I salute you!

The green green grass of home

pink cassia

I am back after a hectic trip. I came home and jumped onto the mower to whip my garden back into shape. It is amazing how quickly things grow when we are away from them. My pink cassia and my pink mussaenda are now in full bloom and oh what a sight to behold! I have lots more to do so I will be off and will post later about my trip.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane............

with the recent rains my rain lilies are coming out

these Amaryllis are called the Barbados Amaryllis

these are the seed pods of the dark pink cassia below

another species of pink Cassia in bloom this one is one of my favorites

back garden

this tree orchid I found growing in abundance on a tree while driving, so I helped myself to a few plants

All my bags are packed, and am ready to go............I will be away for two weeks or so. I will be attending my daughter's graduation in Illinois and then we will be off to Florida. We hope to take in a bit of Disney and South Florida. I will hopefully check in at least once but will be back on track when I get back. Take care and see y'all next time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gooseberry one , gooseberry two

Maria and husband and look at what she is holding.....a bottle of my gooseberry preserves
Bon apetit Maria!

Gooseberry one, gooseberry two, gooseberry by the hundreds in my kitchen and I am busy making preserves. These are a favourite with everyone. I started using the the 2:1 ratio 2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of sugar and made around 26 bottles. Then I decided to do a reduced sugar for those who are watching their sugar intake and I used the 3:1 ratio. I think I will continue to use this ratio since it will appeal to most of us and there is just a slight difference in sweetness. I am hoping to make around 60 bottles and I will keep them for my garden sale or any other events I participate in. I had a very special visitor on Sunday, someone who was visiting my blog and was going to be visiting Barbados. She asked if she can visit my garden and of course knowing the show off I am, I gladly welcomed her. Thank you Maria and hubby for visiting my rustic bajan garden!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's raining it's pouring

Gooseberries (phyllanthus acidus)

Net for harvesting the gooseberries

Pouring rain

Rainy day

This cutie pie is my little bear

Mango tree in bloom

Frangipani (plumeria)

Yellow walking Irises

Coconut thatch on pergola for shade

Today it is raining cats and dogs so there isn't much I can do in the garden. However I have a tree laden with gooseberries in my back garden, and with the heavy rain I might just loose the whole crop. So in between showers, my helper Kris and I got to work harvesting the fruit. We erected a large shade netting on iron poles (rebars) that were implanted into the ground. We then tied the netting onto these iron poles. We had to cut a few branches that were growing into the golden palms. These were laden with fruit, and they all fell into the netting. We then removed the fruit from the branches and then filled the empty containers we had waiting. Gooseberries or Damsons are sour and are made into drink, preserves or pickled. I prefer to preserve them. They also freeze well, so any excess I have I clean them up, bag them and toss into the deep freezer. When I want to make preserves, I take them out of the freezer and toss into a pot with sugar and spices and cook. I have harvested many large containers and I may have to call a friend of mine to see if she has room in her freezer to help me store them. To preserve them I add 1 cup of sugar to every 2 cups of gooseberries, add a cinnamon stick and put it on a medium heat to cook. It will make its own juices as it begins to cook, so please do not add any liquids. As the sugar dissolves keep stirring the pot to prevent it sticking to the bottom. As it comes to a boil reduce heat and let it simmer until most of the liquid has gone stirring often, until it becomes a thick syrup. Gooseberries in sugar will turn a beautiful rich red brown colour when finished cooking. Prepare bottles for canning the fruit and heat seal for 10 mins. These will last for 2 years and are delicious over ice cream or just eating out of bottle. Remember to spit out the seeds as you eat. Delicioso!