Wednesday, December 15, 2010

travel tips

I'm in and out of Belize a lot, and as a creature of routine I have a packing/ traveling method down.  I thought I'd share some tips for those who might be traveling this holiday (and perhaps dreading security...)

1.  I always dress nicely.  It really does affect how people treat you.

2. I never have anything in any of my pockets. Everything is in my purse.  My purse gets dumped out the night before I leave, and anything that is super important, plus travel documents, goes back in.

3.  In my purse- lots of PENS for all those pesky forms (and extras for my seat neighbors who forgot theirs).

4. My carry on is a small backpack, which I put under the seat in front of me.  Much, much easier then overheads.

5. I always put a few essential medicines (for headache, upset stomach), a clean shirt, and some clean underwear in my carry on.

6.  For comfort on the plane:  A large, cushy pair of socks (I take my shoes off and put them on, it helps a lot if your feet tend to swell), my ipod with movies (dang you continental for charging for entertainment!!) and a cashmere blanket (soooo warm.  Mine is made out of thrifted sweaters.)

Hope this is helpful!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

big dog, little dog

We have a big dog and a little dog.  So, we built a big dog house and a little dog house.  This is what happened:

The big dog moved into the little house and refuses to leave.

Fortunately the little dog scorns the little house.  He loves the big house.  So it all worked out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


 I had a quick stop over in New York on the way home.

It was fun to do some typical things, like a visit to Time's Square, the Rockefeller Center to see the tree, and a visit to St Patrick's Cathedral....

 And also some unique things, like a visit to Curry Hill, New York's Little India, to do some fabric shopping.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Amazon Kindle

I have been using the kindle software on my mac for just under a year now (to be clear, I do not have a kindle reading device). I live in a place that has a very, very limited library system (1 room with 4 shelves of books, mostly second-hand trashy romance novels from the states) and no book stores.  Sadly, books are often the first to get chucked from my luggage when the weight limit is reached.  So when the kindle software was made available for mac, I was ecstatic.  Thousands of books, at my fingertips!  I’ve definitely used the program a lot… just not for downloading the thousands of books I had envisioned.

I initially thought I might have a problem with reading a book on my computer.  While it’s not as nice as curling up with a book and turning actual pages, reading on a computer definitely is not a distraction.  I quickly adapted to turning pages with a click.  I initially would get slightly headachy after reading a screen for a while, but I don’t notice that much any more. 

The hugest downfall, though, is the price of books.  Electronic books have not been significantly discounted, which I find unfair and mostly greedy.  Obviously is it not costing as much to produce the electric version.  I have a hard time paying $10 for a file that will sit on my computer.  Plus, I normally bought used books.  Although you can often get used print versions of older books for a few dollars, the kindle price tends to stay high.  I was also having a problem with the inability to flip through a book and preview it before I bought.  If I’m going to pay $10 for a book, I don’t want to discover after a chapter that I can’t stand the writing style.  Amazon has offered previews of the first few pages of a book for a while, which I found inadequate.  A few days ago, however, they debuted a new feature which allows you to download the first whole chapter of a book on your kindle for free.  I love this.

So, in summary- I would recommend anyone get the free software, if only for the fact that you can download the first chapters of books for a free preview.  (On a side note: yes, you can get free books for the kindle—but besides a decent amount of classics printed before the 1920’s or so, they tend to be exceptionally worthless reads.)  I tend to buy one book every couple of months, and it really is cool to have a whole book appear on my computer literally in seconds.  As for the actual reading device, I don’t really see the point in spending money for it, especially because you can get the free software for your iphones and such.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

in transit part 2: why I love the Belize airport departure lounge

Because of overheard conversations, which make me appreciate where I live... and also get ideas:

-Where did you stay?
-We went to San-ig..nn...ummm [trails off into mumble as she realizes she has no idea of the name]... I mean, we went Inland.
-Wow, you went.... Inland?!?
-Yeah, it was AWESOME.  It was like a two hour drive, but you know it would probably take like 15 minutes in the states, the roads were just so bad.  But we went on this night hike, it was only $12 US.  We saw tree frogs, and spiders, and scorpions.  And they had an outdoor shower, it was so cool.  You should go if you come back!

Wait a minute.... I could charge $12 US for--- A tour of my bathroom at night!  With the added bonus of fruitbats!! And we could offer (for a little extra) an authentic bucket bath experience!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

in transit...

I'm on my way home!! I'm actually writing this from Houston airport, yay for first world luxuries like free wireless.  Boo for $6 slices of pizza.  They have the much-publicised x-ray machines here, but no one seems concerned.  While I was waiting for security about 4 people got picked for the x-ray.  They are see-through, so I could see that they ask the person to stand inside with their hands on their head, and then 2 seconds later they are done.  No one was fussing.  I was planning on opting-out if I was selected, but walked through without a problem.  A guy a few people behind me opted out- the only person I saw do this in the 1/2 hour or so I was waiting.  I stuck around to see what the famous pat-down would be like (he wasn't taken to a private room- he declined the option).  The man asked the TSA screener if he would have to call his lawyer, somewhat jokingly I think, but the TSA man made a big deal of calling over another screener to  observe the pat down.  Really, it was just a longer version of the pat downs I have seen and gotten before in security- just running hands over the extremities and back.  The only big difference is that the TSA person runs his gloved hands inside the waistband of the screen-ee's pants.  They then test the gloves for explosives.  The agent was very professional, explaining everything beforehand and during the pat down.  No big deal.

On a different note- my favorite travel moment so far:  A "surely you can't be serious" sticker on a passing pilot's luggage.  Name that movie!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

farm girl

Last Saturday I crossed a line.  The psychological boundary between “A girl who lives on a farm” and “A farm girl.”  I wore my farm boots into town.  Instyle Magazine, I am sorry.

I never expected to be the type of person who needed, let alone wore, rubber boots, but here with all the mud it is a necessity.  When I first bought my boots they were cute, maybe even fashionable—pink with little yellow polka dots.  But instead of just exhibiting the boots in my shoe collection, I actually had to use them, and they are now a very faded off-white color with light brown dots.  Oh, and they are muddy.  We are just going to pretend it’s all mud, anyways.

It has rained here for the past 3 days, which means I have to walk through about 50 feet of 3 inch deep mud to get to our driveway.  I knew the market would be full of shoe-trapping mud also.  So I briefly debated between wearing sneakers which I would then have to clean or just wearing the dang boots.  I went with the boots.  I even felt sort of smug as I confidently (but not fashionably) strolled through the mud in the market, while everyone else was creeping around trying to find the driest path. 

Then I had to help my husband, brother-in-law, and farm hand push our pickup to get it roll-started after the battery died.  As I was ankle deep in mud along side three men pushing a pickup up a small incline, wearing my rubber boots, I realized that there is no denying it. I am a farm girl.  
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