Friday, March 26, 2010


No need to panic!

Yes, we felt several earthquakes in the last few weeks, but most memorable were the ones we felt last weekend.
We were sitting in our living room around 2:30 pm when suddenly, the whole house began to shake. Side to side. I felt like a toy in a doll house, completely out of control.

It was registered as a 5.6 and about 28 miles off the coast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. About an hour later there was another mild one and then another 1/2 hour after that.

The smart thing to do in the event of an earthquake is to get up, grab the kids, and get out of the house. We just sat there in shock! Wow! I was literally shaken. Still today I wonder if the occasional dizzy spell I get when I get up too fast is just another earthquake.

The thing is that they are happening everyday somewhere around the world. Some are not felt at all because they are too deep or too far or if you're driving you wont feel them but it is a good thing to realize that no one country or region is targeted by the earthquake goddess.

Check out this link of the EMSC - it lists earthquakes as they happen... this was an eye opener because it will show even the littlest shake, we generally only hear about the big ones, the ones that cause damage, kill people, and make the news more interesting.

All that said, we are fine, no damages to the base, buildings or people and no tsunamis. For me this was a reminder of how lucky we are that we have nothing to report after being shaken like toys in a toy house.

Back to writing more papers and finishing my coursework...I barely see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Until next time!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reptiles, rodents and bugs...oh my!

Living in a tropical island is nice. We often have parties at the Dock of the Bay, we gather at one of our beautiful beaches and collect sea glass, we even get together in our back yard for BBQs and a few games of ping-pong with the neighbors. All without little regard to the time of year. It really doesn't matter.

But most people and travel agencies, never comment about what comes with the heat, humidity, and sunsets.

At the beach we have our buddies, the iguanas. I haven't been to a beach where I haven't been visited by at least one iguana. At first it was kind of scary. It is clear to me why there are signs everywhere telling us to not feed the iguanas. If you feed them, they will come. Nothing that a little noise and a splash of water can't fix. However, the iguanas don't go away, they just hide or go to higher grounds and wait for you to leave so they can go scavenge the area for food.

The Banana Rats. They are Guantanamo's pet rat and they are everywhere. I have never seen one in person or alive but apparently they come out at night looking for food and anything else they can sink their teeth into. In some areas people are required to have their vehicles suited with a wire mesh on the bottom to keep the critters from chewing on anything rubber. They are sort of cute, although, anything with the name rat creeps me out.

There are snakes - have not seen one and I'm perfectly OK with that. That's why I hired someone to give my yard an "up-do" so that I didn't have to run into the snakes he found living in the bushes.

Finally, the most annoying of all. The mosquitoes and no-see-ums. They are on a schedule, though so just figure that out and carry your GiTMO Perfume (aka bug repellant) and you're good. Also the cool night air (75-80 degrees with wind) helps keep them off your skin. Before 8 am and between the hours of 6 and 8 pm is when they are most active.

So you see, there are down sides to the whole tropical island living thing. When it's hot, it's hot and when it's not... well, it's still hot!!

It helps to learn about them, their habitat, their routine and how to repel the most annoying ones. Leave the iguana's alone and don't feed them; don't leave food or trash out for the rats; hire someone to clean the yard once in a while - let them deal with the snakes and like I said before, GiTMO Perfume and good timing helps us enjoy the outdoors.

The grass appears greener on the other side, in reality, we are lucky to have any grass around here and what we have is most definitely not a very appealing shade of green!

That's all for now, until next time!


Iguana photo is mine. The Banana Rat is courtesy of Danaham's Cuba.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's GiTMO

I feel detached from our world in the U.S.
We lived where we could pick up the phone and call anyone, anytime, anywhere without giving it a second thought.
To call my family I need a calling card. It should be a staple on my grocery list but I forget and once I'm back from the store I'm not likely to go back.

Shopping...ha! That's laughable. What I need now is not going to happen so I must adjust my radar so I know what we'll need in the next ten days that way I have time to order online.

I have internet but it's slow, unpredictable, and sometimes non-existent.

Dust has to become my friend or it will drive me crazy to be in it's company on a daily basis. Once a week dusting, that's it, no more!

OK enough of the whining.... where the real wine!!

Here in the land of constant sunshine, iguanas, banana rats, mosquitoes and no-see-ums life is not as terrible as I make it sound in my whining, although, I admit I do miss all the luxuries of living in a "developed" country.

But here I have instant friends-- just add wine.
Let me share what I mean.

Last week I asked around for a book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. It's my new attempt to get more veggies into our meals. Anyway, within minutes I had several e-mails of people I know and some I haven't met offering to lend me the book and the best yet, one from someone who happen to be in the states on vacation offering to purchase the book for me. A week later and she's back in Cuba with my book.

Try doing that in a place you've only lived in for less then 90 days.

The beaches are always welcoming, almost always warm, and always beautiful.

There are so many social activities I can hardly keep up, never a dull moment.

So while I may not have my Khols, JC Penny's, Farm Fresh and Costco; here I have friends, a safe environment for the kids, and a lot of fishing (if you're into that stuff).

Soon we'll have our boating license and that is one activity I think we'll enjoy quite a bit. Can't wait!!

Pictures coming soon, until then, take care!!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time management and fatigue

As much as I wanted all my stuff to arrive, I wish it had come with an "unpacker" and "personal organizer" to take care of that part of my problems. At the risk of sounding lazy, I just can't bring myself to doing all this stuff. Now, once I get started it's not an issue I can go on and on until it's all done, however, I don't live alone and I do not like missing my social activities. There must be a balance between the "must do's" and the "want to do's" in my life.

Yesterday I felt what I think was the result of doing too much physically and mentally and not eating or drinking enough water. I was light headed (and no I had no wine, maybe that's the problem, hmmmm) but I was also tired like I could go to sleep, except Jonathan wasn't sleeping and the girls were about to come home to share their adventures for the day with me. Then I had to make dinner, clean up a few messes, unpack a few boxes, etc... etc...

I realized part of my problem was dehydration. Not drinking enough water throughout the day. As well as nutrition - not eating enough of all the right foods throughout the day. I think I had one meal and coffee. Somehow I lost track of time and then it was 3 pm. I let everything else take over my time. I was just very tired.

Having recognized that and really not liking the debilitating feeling at all - I can't stand to be down, it really sucks the life out of me; I remember one of the little tricks that helps me stay on track-- a simple to-do list. That's all, oh and I will journal my food and water intake for a couple of days until I'm back on track. Having a to-do list is great because not only do I see what I need to do but I can see what I have already done and realize that my time didn't just disappear without me having done something-- does that even make sense? I feel more productive when I can see what I have accomplished that day. That is a great feeling.

So today looks like this:

  • Workout at 6am
  • Girls to school 7:15 am
  • Shower/Eat/check email/check homework 7:30-9 am
  • Jonathan's play time at the pool/playground 9:30-11:30 am
  • Lunch/Nap for the little man 12:00-3 <--- this is my time to do homework/read/nap if needed. Today I will unpack a few boxes in my bedroom - mostly books and linen
  • Girls home from school/homework/ start dinner 3 pm
  • Dinner 5:30
  • Movies with Michael 7pm - The Book of Eli
  • Chill time 9pm
  • Bed time 10 pm
Seems like a lot but this is manageable and keeps me just busy enough. A little time management is all I need.

Now off to get ready for the trip to the pool/playground where I will focus on my to-do for that time frame only.

Learn from my mistake - don't let things get out of control, don't let a few chores control your life; eat, drink, and exercise - the benefits are amazing and in the end -- Sleep Well - that's important too!!

Until next time,