Friday, December 31, 2010

A Video of Today

I would love to post more, but they are just too large, I may have to make sure I can reduce the size in time, enjoy this one though. We went to Maracas.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 - What will it bring

We all need each other no matter what we look like
2010 was a year of reflection and direction. A year for the history books, and and some real infamous people. Many people died this year, some through violent means, others in accidents, some starved to death, and others through sickness and imperfection. Some folks made millions, and others lost millions, and yet some made none. Was life meant to be this way?

I watched two people in caskets this year, one who some years ago walked his daughter down the aisle, and Turpintine. I suffered real emotional distress this year, and painful days.

Through it all I met some of the most remarkable people, who showed their spirit. People, who were my fellow quarter-back soldiers all along. I had given up on humanity, the ability of a human to be there for you.

I felt like I was fighting a loosing battle, the war was tough and bloody, I had one arrow in my chest and one arrow in my back, I was slashed and beaten and bruised, as I lay on the battlefield, I was ready to accept death, I thought, "This is it, I am done." And just then I heard a warrior cry, I turned and saw someone running towards me, "Get up!" she bellowed, "Get up! Don't you close those eyes yet! Fight!" She helped me on my feet, and gave me my sword and shield. "This is not your time yet!" She stayed with me, and we fought together, and then she says, "I am old now, but you have your whole life ahead of you, stand up, Fight!" As I kept fighting, my long time ally came by with medication and bandages, "These will help you to withstand the pain and stop the flow of blood."  We ran into a quiet place and she applies salve to my wounds and Limacol to my head. "I would like you to rest a little, but you have to get up and get moving." Along the way I found a few more people, and of course I got wounded, but I fought...and I am still fighting, and as I continue to fight, I keep finding more fellow soldiers who will not leave me behind. In addition I am able to gain strength to help those fellow soldiers who have fallen behind, some who have been shot in the backs and legs and I have to bodily carry them.......

The thing is, we all need each other at some point, no man is an island, even if he wanted to be. If he were an island, who would be buy groceries from, or who would fix his car, or sew his clothes, or who would he talk to or touch, or sleep next to...

This year I came out of my shell, in many ways. I was quite mean with a friend, and I told them off, and for a while we did not speak, usually I would not care, they could be drowning, and I will let them. In the past, I let so many people drown. I had to find it in myself to forgive, and I wanted to be forgiven, it took a good bit of weeks, and I have never been more humble in my life, they said some things to me as well, but I d,id not fight back, I said, " I understand how you feel, and I won't be mean anymore." Today we are tighter than ever, and for the first time in a long time I can say I have a friend.

Finally, I am more than willing to be a better person. I would still want to be outspoken, its a gift of speech that I love about myself, but I want to, as my mom says, "Turn a new leaf, that chapter is done in the book of 2010, let go the baggage, stop pulling it around, stop pulling out the dead dog, over and over, move on and Live!"

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chutney Hours

If someone says that they are unemployed and is taking a break, you would probably be confused. I am taking a break this week. after putting in 3 weeks in a building design, I am beat. However the finished product is awesome. In due time I will post it here.

Tonight, I made Mango Chutney and Fish Bake. This is really easy to do. For the Fish Bake, I mixed remnants of the seasoned sauce from the fish, with the batter that was used to deep fry the fish, I added some lime juice and cayenne pepper, with a touch of salt, then I fried it.

For the Mango Chutney, I used a green Julie mango that was too acid to use in chow. I chopped it up, added one tablespoon of sugar some ground spice and a cup of water, with one teaspoon of butter, allow to boil until syrupy.

About 5 servings.

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Still Up

Stress can eat you up sometimes, to the point that your body refuses to take a rest.

My mind goes out to all the people who are situations they cannot change, like battered women, and children, and I hope that they find the strength to live, and to not give up. I have been there, and I can tell you that you can Survive!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Appreciation Poster to Place on your Desktop

Lately, I have been getting some great feedback on my blog. So, as a fan appreciation gesture I am up loading a rendition of my Sari-Girl sketch which was posted on the last post. Its the average size for quick uploading and it is in JPG format.

Thank You from Bluecat.

Click on Pic to download a larger version

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Heart Indian Movies and Sari

And yet, I only had one of each. I once had a sari or saree, and I wore it a few times, then one day, I went to New York, returned home and found it missing, I still grieve for it, although its been two years. It was going to be the start of a fabulous personal, international and cultural collection of traditional wear. Or while my paycheck lasted, which did not happen, so all I have are pictures to remember it by.

Moving on. In 1995, I saw my first Indian movie in cinema. it starred Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, my ultimate and favourite onscreen couple, you have to agree, the chemistry there was beautiful with a capital B. Their movie was, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. If there was any movie worth paying for it was that one. One friend swore that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was way better, but I never really got the chance to see it, so now I am on a mission to bag both movies in my personal collection. If you do know where I can get them, send me a message.

This was a huge accomplishment, going to cinema to see an Indian movie. At the time, Indian movies never showed in Port of Spain, you had to go to the cinemas in the East or down south for those popcorn delights. We ended up in a peeling paint one, somewhere in the East, I cant remember it much, except that I had never ever visited that part of Trinidad before. At home before we left, my mom was nervous, and as she handed me some money, she said, "Allyuh, just be careful with my child please?" I went with Wendy, Roselyn, and someone I was not familiar with. We took two taxis, the second one was an East Indian driver, and when he heard where were were going, and what we were going to see, he turned around, watched us, turned his head back to the road, and we were on our way.

When we reached the cinema, it was clear that we were different. Everyone else were of East Indian descent. And the facial expressions spoke volumes. Some of the folks even came up to us and said, "You all are in the wrong cinema." "Who say so!" retorted one of my friends, "I came to see Indian movie tonight, so keep it moving!" I was so scared at the time, I did not want to leave, but I just had to see that movie. So, I held on to Wendy's hand, lowered my head and we went to see Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with English subtitles. I was most happy. Our joy bubbled over after the movie, and just like in the Bollywood movies rain and saffron colored frilly flowers can rain down on our heads, and we can dance the night away.

I never went to see another Indian movie in life again, personally, I am not into constant musical numbers and I don't have patience for 10 minute long songs, but Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was different, all the songs were original smash hits, and the backdrops of Europe was a very rich international touch to the whole singing scenes.

I read that Kites is another good one, I might take a try and see it, I mean Hithrick is a very good-looking stud, and seeing him in action may make my brain turn into red rose petals.....mmmmmm...

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hard candy, Brass and Wooden legs in the closet

Outspoken, Blunt, Frank, Assertive, Straightforward, Direct, Rude, Ghetto, Trailer Trash, All-mouth-No-Action. Have you ever been labeled as one of these terms? This writer has had her full share of labels.

My roommate loves the movie The Proposal. I was not a fan of it so much, because, there is hardly any romance movies that are realistic, and this is clearly one of them. So there we are watching The Proposal one warm night.

There is a part where Margaret fell out with one of her co-worker, Bob and he called her a "poisonous b**". And for a moment, I was struck, so I continued to watch the movie. It made me look at what people thought of women who are not 'flirty thirty in flowery dresses'. Now you think its ironic, me watching a romantic comedy, trying to build a mental level ground with a fictional character. As the movie went on, you come to understand Margaret, and we come to know her and see her vulnerability. Especially when she explains the two sparrows/robins tattoo on her back, and when Bob, whom she fired, called her that mean word, she cried silently, its as though she became human.

Just for speaking out, you alienate yourself, and people despise you. It takes a hard stomach to speak out, especially when you are standing the path of a back-hoe... and no one is there with you. In fact someone maybe there, but they are urging the back-hoe operator to mow you down...just for blowing the whistle. This applies to passionate people. People who are like that one tooth in a toothless mouth who is determined to stay and make a difference, or who just wants the world to see what is happening, or who just simply wants to be different, but not in a 'Mean Girls' kind of manner.

Popularity never came my way in school. I was as ordinary as they come. Just as Oprah put the O in generOsity, I put the O in Oddball. Whenever I spoke up, I was constantly shot down, or seen as insensitive, dummy, pervert even. Those were hard times as a teenager. As a young adult, I am now seen as a snob. While, I certainly don't agree with that term, I have learned to listen to people more, not to change their minds or their opinion of me, but to give them a voice, to be a human they can admire, someone who they remembered giving them a listening ear. Sometimes, I fail, and sometimes, I pass. No one pats my back, because its life, and it is hard all around.

So, my fellow shareholders in the Outspeakers Club: shed those silent tears in your lovely pillows at nights and get up in the morning and keep your heads high, you have every right to live in the world as the next silent crime-fighter, live your life and WIN!

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte


Sunday, December 19, 2010

A little Mouse story....

That I found on another blog.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered.

He was devastated to discover that it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap - alone.

That very night, there was a a loud, ringing “CLACK:” sound was throughout the house - the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught in the mousetrap. In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

When she returned home she still had a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup.

So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient: But his wife's sickness continued.

Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well... She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had to slaughter the cow to provide enough meat to feed them all at the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember: When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life.

We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage and assist one another.


Space - Is it the Final Frontier?

I do not know. What I do know is that it is beautiful, and a joy to behold, a marvel of creation. I wonder sometimes what it is like to be in space, see the galaxy and capture some Moon Sand. I will not go on, but I will post some pics for your enjoyment.

Better yet, here is the link.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Microwave Cake Adventure

Could you imagine how your world can change forever if I can tell you in less than one hour you can make your cake and eat it too?... (and here is the kicker)...with frosting!

I did it! And so can you!

My roommate was itching for something sweet to eat, so I asked her, "Would you like me to make a cake in the microwave for you?" She rolled her eyes, "Ok try, but just don't burn anything."

So, I got to work. put all my ingredients together and did a test try with a coffee mug. In three minutes cooking time. I presented it to my roommate, her eyes lit up! The next challenge was the small, clear and square pyrex dish. To ensure the cake batter does not fall, I increased the amount of baking powder by a few more sprinkles. I also put one dish at a time in the microwave. Three mins...nah...four mins...nada...three more mins?...nope...three mins...finally! I insert fork and it came out clean! Meanwhile, I made the butter frosting mixing icing sugar and butter with a small spoon, a few drops of vanilla essence and viola!

When the cakes finished baking, I put them in the refrigerator to cool. In twenty mins, the cakes were cooled, drizzled the rum onto one of the cooled cakes, added the butter icing, put one cake on top of the other, added sprinkles, and I was eating my cake in less than one hour!

Time taken from the ingredients to the mouth, 50 mins tops. Satisfaction guaranteed!

My camera is in the shop, so my other camera had to improvise, anyway, this pic shows you what the actual cake looked like, and yes it was chocolate.

2010©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Trinidad & Tobago Heritage- Drawings of the Islands' Past by Gerald G. Watterson

This book reached out and touched me, so to speak. I have a weakness for old homes, and we have so many of them with character here, it is truly heartbreaking to see them go the way of the Dodo bird. So, while I was doing my part to document them, one guy already did his part years ago, to preserve them by drawings.

This 145 page book, in full black and white drawing is a sight for wet eyes. The Author, has managed to capture the many fine details that showcases the exceptional talent of the architects and builders of these homes.

Unfortunately, some of them were destroyed to make way for progress and car parks. It is my belief that at least one copy of this book should be in each school library, so that young people' s eyes are opened to the treasure trove of history that they pass everyday on their way to school.

Long standing book stores still sell these books, and some of the newer ones. You can find it in Amazon at this link: Trinidad & Tobago Heritage: Drawings of the Island's Past

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Like a Cancer

Cancer is like an invincible warrior. It goes into a populated city, takes over, and destroys it completely. Sometimes, it seems like is suddenly appears in the city, and as the guards begin to attack, it wipes them out, and proceeds to plunder and destroy. Other times, it seems to send out little warnings, like a little attack here, and a little attack there.

Lately, I have heard of many people contracting Cancer. Which to me is staggering. It seems like all of a sudden everyone is getting cancer of some sort. Personally, I know of three people with it, all women. Another friend of mine has lost count of the folks they know with it. It helps to see if you hear more about the Cancer survivor stories, than the ones who have passed away from it. However, it would be good to remember that once it has become evident that there is that mortal enemy in you, you must face the facts. This is all not new to me, I mean, I was born in the '80's, and it seems like in the 90's its all I ever heard about, except, so many people now are getting Cancer so close to home, and I am a bit troubled.

When we went to Manzanilla, on Sunday. Even the Honey-selling lady, told us of three people she knew with Cancer, all in advanced stages. One of them is a child. We then discussed if it is the food or water. She was convinced that it is the chemicals that is put in the vegetables to make them unpalatable to insects and worms. I thought out loud about the water, but somehow, Honey-seller does seem have a point, could it be that the chemicals that are used in agriculture is not being used effectively? Could it be the pollution all around us? Global warning? Genetics? Lifestyle? I tried to remember what road did we take to reach this point today, so far I can only gather our prosperity judging by the kinds of cars on our roads.

Today, was the funeral of the wife of a cherished friend. She was pleasant and you can see her smile for miles. Always a quick laugh, and she loved to dance! Her husband took quite long to get married, but when he did, she was the best person for him, she was his rib, his companion. I cannot imagine the grief that he is facing right now, and that although she is in a deep sleep, she will awake again.

Some info on Cancer and Genetics here.
Info on Aggressive cancer therapy here.
What needs to be said is to live each day doing good, and cherish each other, because life is so uncertain now.

Please remember the information place here is not to self-diagnose but for information/entertainment purposes only.

2010© Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Imagination & Craft, or redesign

Real wooden furniture are almost rare these days. If we buy ‘reasonably priced’ furniture, we may as well buy food for termites. One wooden ironing board met its rickety demise two years after it was bought and literally soaked with dieselene. Trini termites don’t make joke!

In the old days we used to hear of wood like Cedar, Teak, Pitch-Pine, Mahogany, Purple Heart, and ‘Water Kay’. Now I will not be getting into the story of the various types of fantastic wood that grows right here in Trinidad and Tobago, their history and so on. However I can sum up  the quality of our wood in two words: Morris Chairs. Now the conversation can start!

Sanding old wooden furniture is the first step to restoration. The key is not make the furniture ‘look’ new again, because antiques get their value from looking ‘distressed’ or used.

The wooden table in the pic was given as a gift, so the type of wood is unknown. As you can see, the sanding process is quite light. First coarse sandpaper was used to remove years of varnish that caused the table to look very dark. A sanding block was not used, neither a sanding machine, the process was done entirely by hand. Finally, a very fine grade sandpaper was used to ‘finish’. It will do you well to remember to sand with the grain of the wood, not ‘against’ it or cris-crossing it. You can use a piece of wood with the sandpaper folded around it to sand those hard-to-reach places.

For the varnishing part, a clear water-based urethane, was used to give the furniture some shine. It dries clear and quick, and also shows the wood color and grain nicely. Plus it is quite easy to care for, just use a soft, dry-damp cloth to wipe. The table was cleaned of sand particles with a soft dry cloth, so that the it will not  be scratched in the process. Then the water-based urethane was applied with another soft cloth one dip at a time by hand. Make sure and sand with the grain. Two coats were applied, with drying allowances between them.

The entire process took two and a half hours, from the sanding to the varnishing. The goal was not to change the entire look of the wood, but to remove the old varnish. The top coat was allowed to dry for two hours after. In the end you did a project on which you saved money, by Doing-it-Yourself.

2010© Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changing Times and Life Experience

 Growing up, I wanted to be a vet. I loved and still love animals, and I loved the prospect of being there for them so that they can live healthy and fulfilling lives. Most of all, I adore dogs and cats.  Dogs, I observed, grow up in the personality of their owners. For instance if you are a quarrelsome owner, you will have a miserable dog, if you are a happy owner, you would have a happy dog. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

We lived about 15 mins by taxi from Port of Spain, in a small, simple home with lots of yard space and Avocado trees, with a mango veare(?) tree and guava trees. Some days when no clients came to do their hair, mom used to pitch marbles with my sisters. As a single parent, she opted to have her hair salon at home to be closer to her children. I remember coming home from school and smelling the misty finishing spray in the pink can. I also used to hear the hair dryer running, and seeing mom apply the relaxer to a sitting client's head. She used to look so tired. Moscle and Truskey, used to greet us at the gate when we came from school.  Some days, there were lots of laughter coming from the salon, especially on a Saturday.

The salon was a gray and white building with a sign in the road that says, "The New You". It was wooden and sat just outside our home next to Matapal Street. Some days it was empty of clients, and mom used to send us to Ewing Grocery with $40.00 to get items for the day. Back then, it was alot of money. When we returned home we used to have brown paper bags in our arms filled with bought items. Yep, life was simple.

One year, we were blessed with nine animals in our home. That year, Truskey gave birth to six pups: Moscle, Whitey, two other females and two other males. I remember, because I had on a pair of yellow gloves that were too large for my hands, and I squatted beside Truskey and helped her to give birth her pups. I was 13 or 14 at the time. The puppies came out in a slimy clear sack,  which I tore open to relieve them. Each puppy was connected through its umbilical cord, to a dark sack, which was promptly consumed by Truskey. I was aghast, then Mom explained the those sacks were the placenta, and it is full of nourishment, and Truskey the dog, is consuming this mass to feed the puppies through her milk. That day Truskey ate no food. Ever since then, I have yet to see puppies as healthy as the ones that came from Truskey. We had a cat called Tiffany, who gave birth to three kittens a week later.

From that moment on, I wanted to be a vet. The desire is still alive, though, it is not as pronounced as before. It seems that everything is driven by money. Where is the passion and pride of being in an occupation because you can help someone live a better life, or because the idea is fantastic! If you are in the medical field, where is the compassion and gentle sensitivity for the sick, elderly and dying? Times have changed. It is with great sadness that I read the plight of a young mother who is in a coma because pieces of placenta was left in her after she gave birth to her child. While I don't know all the facts, I hope that she recovers quickly to care and nurse her beautiful baby daughter. We must cherish each day as it is our last....until better times come.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coast 2 Coast: Tripping in Trinidad and Tobago - Monos Island

Quiet, airy, cool, and relaxing. Certainly, I am not speaking about some country area in Trinidad nor Tobago. "People here are unified. No one interferes with you, we are a small, simple community here, Mytle Lopez says. Ma Ben, as she is affectionately called, lived on Monos Island since 1981. "When I was seventeen years old, you could not get me to sit on a boat and get wet by salt water", she fondly remembers. In a nutshell, she got married, settled down with her husband, who was a fisherman with a home on Monos Island, and lived there to this day. Today, she is cleaning the area around a tall slim tree. "I am going to plant something here" she said. Mrs Lopez, regularly cleans the whole area, including the stretch of road she calls the highway, with her son. I asked her if she gets paid to do this, "No! I love my surroundings to be clean so I do it." Her son is using the weed wacker to clean one of the neighbors yards. This he gets paid for.

Monos Island or Scotland Bay, is one of a group of islands in the northwest area of Trinidad. In the old days they used to be called the Dragon Islands. On the way to Monos, you pass a couple of other islands called Fantasy Island which has a new name, and the ever popular Gaspree Island home of the Gaspree Caves. Photographs does not do justice to the sheer beauty of these remote and privately owned islands, you must see it in person.

"When I go to Monos, I am going home," remarks one resident. "I love the area and I tell my wife that this is where we belong." Mrs. Lopez, opens up her home to vacationers who want to rent. "My place is always open, I like when I stand right here in my kitchen, I can see the jetty and I can look out the window to greet people passing here," she laughs, her floured hands kneading a roll of corn maize dough. "You ever had Noni before?" she asked. I shook my head, "I've heard it tastes really bad, so I never tried it." She pulled out a large plastic cranberry juice bottle, "Have some of this, and tell me what you think." I looked at the brown liquid and got caught in my throat, "Ok". I figured I might as well, at least, to try it once. The liquid had a pungent smell, like a mix between an old toe-jamed grapefruit and sharp wine. The glass was filled to quarter and I took a sip, then I emptied the glass. My face screwed up a bit then I had a second glass. And then I smiled, she did too. Now, I am the proud owner of the large cranberry juice bottle of my first Noni Juice.

The Island is filled with fruit trees and vegetation. The air is clean and the grass is always green. A caretaker of one of the homes drives a compact open top vehicle. He is a dark, stocky guy his ras piled high on his head, he is shuttling his family to the beach down to the back known as Scotland Bay. Caribbean living at its finest. The beauty of the area is its natural undeveloped state. Some folks like the hub of cities, tall glass and metal buildings, fancy cars, a window cubicle, high-heeled shoes, the works. Here its a small boat, your wooden/concrete home, and quiet is all you need. Every morning at 5:30am, Mrs. Lopez starts the day by praying, then she takes a bath, goes outside tends her yard, and sweeps the 'highway'. Some days, she comes inland, and buys groceries at least once a week in Port of Spain.

In her home, Ma Ben or Mrs. Lopez is in her element. The refreshingly yellow home is partly wooden and partly concrete due to old age and termite damage. The house is very clean and airy. Her main bedroom still has her wooden floor, right next to it, is her small tiled bathroom and another larger visitors bedroom with double decker and single beds. How does she keep it so clean? "Cleaning is a daily thing you know, you have to keep making your rounds to keep your surroundings intact." On top of one of her clothes drawer, there is a picture of her and a young woman. "Thats Benita, my daughter, she died some years ago, here we were going to a wedding."

For me and many Trinis, Monos Island is a vacation get-away. A place that you jump off the jetty, see fishes, Sting Rays and Eels swim in their natural habitat, hear a variety of birds sing their songs of a new day, and pack up and go home. But for Ma Ben, her son Lance, and four other neighbors, Monos Island is home, its where their heart is.

2010© Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Do you have a story to tell?

click pic to enlarge

CafféLatté Magazine© wants to know! You can send pictures with your story and we will post the best 5 (five) stories one for each day!  

CafféLatté Magazine© would like the site to be kept clean so language is important. Other than that we can't wait to hear them! You can email your stories and photos to

Please state the heading of your email as How We Met!