Monday, January 30, 2012

Living in the Caribbean...

Is way cheaper than living in the USA. This of course is dependent on a few scenarios, for instance, which state you live in, what job you have, where in that state you live and if you rent or own a home.

For instance, in Trinidad and Tobago these are the average monthly expenses, and by average I mean in a general term:
Car Installments to the Bank - Republic Bank (Barclay's), Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank
Health Insurance - Sagicor, Algico, Guardian Life, etc
BIR - Board of Inland Revenue
NIB - National Insurance Board

These are the bills that are paid otherwise, and if you rent, it can either make or break you:
Water Rates - every three months (WASA)
Electricity Bill - every two months (T&TEC)
Car insurance - every year
Land Tax - Every year

Compared to North America and Europe these are quite cheap. We don't have to pay heating and oil costs, and our homes are built from a lot less materials. For example, a typical caribbean home in the early 20th Century was built out of quarry stone (river stone), red brick, wood (mahogany, pine, teak, green heart, purple heart, etc), mud (these were plastered to a wood foundation and painted) galvanize/tin roof, and depending on the wealth of the owner, a slated roof made of various stones.

Today, the average home in the caribbean consists of materials like red brick, concrete brick, some wood (bathroom, kitchen counters, furniture), PVC pipes (water systems and waste removal systems), etc. What was interesting is that new homes are no longer built with a soakaway. A soakaway in the Caribbean is usually a hole about 6 feet or more deep, with some large stones and then some small stones, or is it the other way around? Somewhere, the explanation is that when the waste comes from the toilet, it goes into the soakaway area where it is broken down naturally by the earth. Now we have plastic sewer tanks, I am not sure if that is a new building code requirement. In addition, there are more sewer truck presence, especially in my area, and around Port of Spain.

In the early 20th Century, most homes had an outside latrine far away from the house, sometimes it was up a hill (I really want to know why? I can think of a thousand reasons why this was a really bad idea), and when you wanted to go, you had to light a candle, and I am guessing that during those times, with folklore like Lagahoo (local werewolf) and Papa Bois (local satyr), you really had to be brave to go out there alone. Later, with the advent of electricity, many latrines were fitted with electric bulbs, even to this day. I used one a couple years ago... on a hill... it was rickety... wooden and old... and I was so scared, that everything happened quickly. On some of the smaller islands off the North-West coast of Trinidad and down south inland, there are still some of the original homes, latrine and all. I am going to have to get a picture, because the internet does not have what it looked like in the tropics.

Ok, I sort of went off-topic, and I forgot what I was going to say.


In the US I found that they pay bills every single month, the State of New York
Car Insurance
Car installments
Property Tax
Health Insurance (Medicare?)
Fire Insurance
Water Rates
Heating Rates (for winter months)
Sewer Bill (yep, when you go to the toilet)
Then if you don't really keep at the top of your game, you can be cited for violations, like: Health, Environmental Control Board, etc.
And some more bills

One time, in New York, I guy I knew ran a red light, he thought he would not be found, after all, Brooklyn is home to millions of inhabitants. Just to be sure, he skipped town for sometime. Later, when he opened a special envelope on his return home, there he was in a series of pictures, speeding from a red light, wheels a-blazin', and he was summoned to appear in court. Once, I witnessed nine cars, two panel vans, an SUV, a truck hauling a 20 ft trailer, and a motorcycle, running past a red light. Who is going to find and summon these "drivers" here?

While it seems that we get away with almost anything here, I must admire large countries and continents like the USA and Europe and Australia, who have to keep at the top of their game in the best way they can to keep law and order, because like my 'run-the-red-light-friend', I don't know who else would take the time and track down a few errant drivers. Maybe, that is why they have so much bills to pay? I don't know.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thinking about many things...

One thing I cant figure out is harmonizing this design, I am so confused I can't figure it out! Meh!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Returning to Strong Emotions

Why do we return to the very things that upsets us? When you bring it up, you bring back the emotions, and the pain. Sometimes its better to let them lie and die... really.

In more positive news...

I am not one for lending out books, but I may have to practice. My sister's friend loaned me a book:

Justice by Dominic Dunne. It is fantastic, beautifully written and I can't get enough! So much goes on behind the scenes of the rich, famous and the truly blinging! I won't say more, but it certainly feels good to turn paper pages rather than turn iPads!

Anyway, get it its worth the price!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I heart New York - Real thing

I was looking through some images I took in NYC, trying to imagine the smells, sights and lights. It was a lovely experience, though it my not happen again, I'd again  love to see/feel what being a New Yorker is all about. Its one of those places I personally feel you must visit before you die... oh and bring lots of money, trust me you will need it... and always, always have your Metrocard, it will be the most valuable piece of plastic you will ever own there.

Church Avenue
If you must know I believe it is the Q train to Manhattan

A poster I made, it is VOID!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Last year, we went up North Coast Road which is a couple of minutes away from where I live. From there you can see most of Diego Martin and some of Westmorings.

Unfortunately, greed is driving Trini's mad, and they seek to hoard the everything for themselves. What we saw before in 2006, can no longer be seen now. Fortunately, I have some shots, its not really going to make a difference, because even if I shot raw, there was not much I could do, the area is being spoiled by crappy houses. Sigh.

Petit Valley on your left, and Diego Martin on your right.

Sad. I had to shoot this pic between a crappy house, that was not there before.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Your Moment and Interview

What better time to start the week than with an interview! On CafféLatté magazine, there will be a monthly new feature called Your Moment & interview#.  This is where I scour Trinidad & Tobago for interesting folks who do interesting stuff, and love what they are doing!

For the month of January 2012, I have Shelly-Anne who is the Owner and Chief Baker of Simply Edible. We went to high/secondary school together, and with the almost invaluable Facebook (networking site), we have been in constant contact! It seems almost overnight Simply Edible took off, and soon, Shelly-Anne was baking custom ordered desserts. As a result, the feedback was remarkable and folks were raving for Simply Edible goodies. I "simply" had to interview this entrepreneur who also lives in my hometown!

Q: Briefly, what is the name and nature of your business
A: The name of the business is Simply Edible,Trinidad W.I. The nature of my business is catering desserts and custom cakes and cupcakes for any event.
Q: What is your current state of mind right now?
A: Excitement!
Q: I saw your website and your delicious treats, who/what influenced you to start baking?
A: My brothers came into my life unexpectedly due to my parents divorce. I had to find the means to balance the bills with my husband. Everyone used to rave over my food, so I thought of the options that I could venture into as I was pregnant with my second daughter at the time. Then, I started baking breads and cooking box lunches for support to put food on the table. Since then it has been a whirlwind of non-stop goodies.

Q: Your creative cake art is excellent, did you go to classes to learn how to do it.
A: The only courses that have helped me in my cake design, were CXC* Art as well as Graphic Design which I did as a Certificate Course. Everything from mixing colors and blending ideas has come from that. As for learning how to create fondant characters, it is all freehand and the more work I get the more I improve.
Q: Do you have a favourite cake design?
A: Wow that’s a tough one. If I had to choose one I would have to say it would be the Finding Nemo theme cake.
Q:What is your favourite cake flavour?
A: My favourite cake flavour is Banana. 
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
A: I see myself in a small store front for my company.
Q: What would be the best event to happen in your life as a baker?
A: Wow, there have been so many blessings to come my way. The best event thus far would be having a photographer use my cupcakes as subjects for their photography. It was wonderful to see how they put together everything and made it into a piece of art.

Q: Apart from your baking, what are your other hidden talents?
A: Hmm, that would have to say dabbling in photography by taking photos of the desserts I make.
Q: As an entrepreneur, who/what will be your ideal client?
A: I think my customers are far more intriguing to me over any famous/local talent. I meet so many characters on a day to day basis and I get to share in their special moments each year as their family grows. That is what makes me happy.
Q: When you are working, what type of music do you listen to, and whom?
A: When I am doing assembly line work I tend to listen to Soca or any live tempo music to keep the energy going. No specific artistes.
Q: If you have a comment for CafféLatté magazine, what would it be?
A: Keep up the amazing work!
Thank you Shelly-Anne and Keep on truckin'!

# See here for Allenoel's interview in November

* Caribbean Examinations Council now called, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)

2012©Lisa Marie Bonaparte

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Simple Quotes

Some of us simply talk too much. Locally, we call it "Run yuh mouth!" I will give it a science name Runyomouitis. It is a term used to describe a condition that affects the majority of us. It can happen in happy or angry moments. However, I think it would be best used for sad moments, because talking out your problems can help you.

The following is some quotes I found on the internet. They are pretty simple to understand and they don't take up much space. Some of them are pretty hilarious. I am starting off with one of my most favourite persons, Eleanor Roosevelt. She may not be a beauty queen, but in my book she can win the crown on brains, bravery, and loyalty. I am referring to the the person Eleanor Roosevelt, and not the politics.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
Eleanor Roosevelt

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.
W.H. Auden

Hollywood is the only place you can wake up in the morning and hear the birds coughing in the trees.
Joe Frisco

She doesn’t not understand the concept of Roman numerals. She thought we just fought World War Eleven.
Joan Rivers

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.
Maya Angelou

Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.
Albert Einstein

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
Maya Angelou

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.
Muhammad Ali

And no, we don't know where it will lead. We just know there's something much bigger than any of us here.
Steve Jobs

Taken from Wikipedia: 
When a well-known Washington senator was discovered to have been having an affair with a young woman less than half his age, Alice Roosevelt Longworth (italics ours) quipped, "You can't make a soufflé rise twice."

There are so many quotes in the world, and there is only so much CafféLatté magazine can put. I hope these have perked you up in some way.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CafféLatté magazine main focus this year

Well, this year I am hoping to focus on the one topic that really made me start this blog in the first place. Yes, interracial marriages/relationships. I am still going to be giving interviews and I still going to review movies and share experiences, but the focus always was interracial marriages/relationships. As CafféLatté magazine is heading into its third year, I think its time.

What is lovely is that I found some videos on YouTube of interracial marriages, and if these couples do not mind, I would love to showcase them here, if they do, please leave me a message and I will remove the videos. They are shown here for appreciation and not criticism.

As a little bonus, I will add my very first illustration based on a photo that made me head in the IR relationships direction. I think the photo was taken by a guy named Walker, and it was done when I was studying for my degree. We had to make the magazine as real as possible, so this was my result, I even did another version, where I was able to get three experiences, such was the support maintained ever since.

Here is the last version:

Lovely. And here are the lovely videos I got on YouTube, I do not hold the rights, they are held by their respective owners. Thanks!

The only problem is I am not getting much mix of other races. I will keep searching and see what other variations I can get. Ok I got one:

If you have some more videos and would like to post, let me know.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Can it be done...

There is a photo on the internet that is spreading like wildfire. I tried to get the original source, but I can't find it, if you do get the original source don't hesitate to tell me the site. If you are the artist/photographer: WELL DONE!

Could you actually imagine if we had crayons like these when we were small? The lessons we could have learned regarding our friends, society and tolerance in differences. These were definitely perk me ups so I am going to do a Motivational poster in CafféLatté magazine character.

The pic says Tumblair... but who?

Here it is:


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Monas Island Wedding Part 2

Well as promised, the pics of the Monos Island Wedding on October 15th, 2011. You may remember the shout out to Mr. and Mrs. Happel. Here are some other photos of the celebration.

I shot with a small camera which was easy to place in my purse. And given the salt and sand-blast, I thought it would have been a better choice. Don't forget to leave your comments and enjoy!

The Wismans


The Bride

The Groom

The Bride's brother walked her

The beautiful Bride

The proud Groom

Technology at work


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CafféLatté magazine Mousepads!

What people never realize is that dreams do come true, but you have to get off your lazy butts to make it happen!  

CafféLatté magazine blog has mousepads, if you would like to purchase one send me an email. Its $10 USD within Trinidad and Tobago, and $10 USD Plus for shipping and handling.

The mousepads are 7-3/4x 9-1/4" or for decimal folks: 7.75 inches x 9.25 inches. I will post some more designs soon.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Local Musician dies over The Weekend

I couldn't sleep so I decided to read the news. It just so happen that I found out that Jah Jah has passed away. I got the News from the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday. Do you remember I did a function at the Queens hall last year? Well, Ja Jah Oga Onilu, the father passed away. He has a CD out and they were selling at the function, I did not have the money and the music was natural and beautiful. I will look for it to show you here.

Here is the picture of the late Ja Jah Oga Onilu, and his two sons, Baba Onilu and Modupe Onilu of Jewels of Nature.
Ja Jah Oga Onilu in the bright red head covering with his two sons


Friday, January 6, 2012

Being Beautiful Being Different

I found a very interesting article on GLO. Now I am not really into extreme make up and neither am I particularly faddish. However, I understand some of my readers are so GLO has this interesting link on facial features that are strangely beautiful.

Here is the link: GLO


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What People Really Think of You

Well its a new year, and I was looking for something to say, something positive and well, it kind of passed me by.

Anyway, I have a question for you, "Do you know what people really think of you? I mean really, by their actions towards you, not what they say to your face, but what they say behind your back, when you are not there, or when you feel they really care? What do their actions tell you about what they think...about you. I pretty much have an idea of late, it is really unfortunate, because I usually give everyone a chance, but that is just my weakness, because I give them one chance to prove themselves. It is an inhuman trait, and leads to some crazy stuff.

Sometime ago we went to look at an apartment that was up for rent. The 'referral' (the person who told me about the place) was very excited and full of hugs and kisses, she contacted me regularly, and we spoke to each other well. My mind told me, "She is really nice", my gut told me, "She is too nice". So when she told me that she knew of a few places, I thought, "Okey-dokey! What is the worst that can happen, I mean she is really excitable, wanting to show us a number of places". Including the one that she is sure we would like! Rents in Trinidad are very high, its like everyone wants to be a 'Kadashian' in a month. The rents are so high, that we now have them in USD! So folks who don't have USD have to settle for TTD on the down low.

We went to see the apartment. When I saw the building I wanted to run. In the yard was barrels upon barrels and half of barrels with plants and papaya trees growing out of them. We had to climb a number of stairs and there was no parking, we would have to park in the street, which was already limited, so we would have had to jostle for parking, which would create contention, in in places like those it would have meant that our vehicles would be damaged, or missing. There were dogs, I don't mind pets, but these were really in need of TLC, and they were tied, which I really hate. The landowner, a white haired woman, about 65 years, came to meet us, her some missing, all yellowed and crooked teeth greeted us. Soft palms. The place had a great view, and good space for two people. That was about it. Wooden creaky floors, crazy-looking, white laminate kitchen counters that is sagging on the sides, over grown yard, and a termite-ridden tree, whose branches are falling bit by bit, with damaging results. The branches has damaged  a few of the neighbour's roofs, and a water tank in the yard, it was leaking badly. The landlady, was even nice enough to point this out. I told the referral that I needed parking, and it must have two bedrooms. I did not push for details, because, I wanted to be open-minded, and she offered with immense happiness!

Now lets see here. I grew up in some of the nicest places in the west, living in the same streets with CEO's and CFO's and general managers driving Audi's and BMW's. I even lived in a home with a pool, and a lovely view of the North-Coast. Currently, I live in a fairly nice apartment fit for a two single young ladies. I am looking for an upgrade. Who the hell are you to show me a place like this? What the deuce do you think I am? I felt insulted, and I smiled through it all. I told the referral in other words, No. I was disappointed, and when my anger has subsided, I plan to call her, because right now, words cannot describe what I really want to say.

I do have other stuff to say, but I will leave that for now. One person I met said to me, 'You are so nice", she gushed. "Such a sweet person!" I don't disagree, but damn you if you try to pull wool over my eyes! As a 'nice' person, I don't like to make a scene, and lately, I don't have the strength to raise my voice and get "ghetto", when something irks me. It does not mean that I am not angry, it simply means, I have alot of self-control. Had it been 7 years ago, I would be screaming, and gesticulating, and cursing (surprise, surprise). I don't really relish the thought of dying young anyway. And folks have guns and knives on their person and property.

Case in point: In 1994, my dad bought a car. One day he was in the car, and something stuck him. He pushed his hand under the seat and was surprised to find a hole, in that hole was a knife, a medium, heavy-handled hunting knife. It looked like a 'rambo' knife. He was surprised. I believe he still has it. Now, what if I did not like being 'woman-handled' in an insulting way, and I end up fighting with a hot-head, and he/she pull out that knife and plunge it into any part of my body, I would either be dead, or disabled in some way, because if you saw that knife, the damage would be dastardly, and the wounds ghastly.

So, I rather have self-control, but don't take my kindness or my silence for weakness, and not because I am not acting up like you, that I can't speak up. I can, but I will not be in the way you want, and understand. I know a girl, she believes that she is always right, I won't doubt that, she is educated, and 'did not want to marry as a virgin'. We had a little tough chat about something I know and something she doesn't know about. She straightened me out, I said ok. She is still wrong, because she knows nothing about it, but I do. But she is a bully. We also went to school together. So there we are. The friendship is currently strained, on my end anyway, because I am ready to walk. Which is another thing you should always do when faced with a 'tense' situation. Be always ready to walk, although, you may want to reach out to that person again, which I do sometimes, if I really valued the friendship. This one is on my black list, and she does give me a verbal beating which I have already had enough of. Period.