Monday, May 21, 2018

the quotidian (5.21.18)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

Snack: freshly-picked, underripe pomegranate.

A supper delivery, from the pastor and his wife: mapen (breadfruit) and fish stew, so good.

From Olga's daughter: the best tres leche cake I have ever eaten. 

Playing hostess: our first real sit-down meal with Puerto Rican company.

Coffee and scones: with the Puerto Rican project engineer.

And with the state-side engineer.

Office work pile-up.


My younger daughter woke up with one of these nasty critters crawling on her head.

A stray cuddle.

Leryann's Mother's Day gift to me: her out-of-home business has quite the reputation.

Me and mine: El Dia de la Madre.

Birthday party brunch for a newly-minted ten-year-old.

Complete with an art class for everyone (such a good idea!).

I ruined our one shot at Polaroid fame.

An ordinary Saturday afternoon.

Touching base, constantly.
(Also, I have an office!) 
(And look at me wearing jeans I'm acclimating!)

From my (!!) instagram (puertoricomurches) post: 
"My front porch feels like we're in the Caribbean. Oh wait  WE ARE."

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (5.22.17), chocolate peanut butter sandwich cookies, campfire cooking, after one year: Costco reflections, the quotidian (5.19.14), the quotidian (5.20.13), the quotidian (5.21.12), baked brown rice, the boring blues.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

rocking the house

On Sunday after church, we went to Chiro and Lery’s for a Mother’s Day celebration. Both sides of their family were expected for the festivities, so I got Leryann, Chiro and Lery's young adult daughter, to helped me craft a family tree so I could keep everyone straight.

The day before Chiro had assembled a turkey, stuffed with plantains and ground sausage and lathered with all sorts of spices — cilantro, achiote, oil, sofrito — and it turned out fall-apart lucious. (He also made the ham steaks for the celebratory luncheon at the church that day: out-of-this-world good, they were. Clearly, the man knows how to cook meat.)

Mid-afternoon, Lery and Chiro's place started filling up. We heaped our paper plates with turkey and potato salad, rice and coleslaw. Someone brought a huge take-out container of fried goodness — chicken, plantains, etc — and there was never-ending punch bowl, sodas, and bags of chocolate. Oh, and my two cakes (chocolate and carrot) and nutella flan and coffee. And chips and dip and and and ... burp.

And then people started hauling instruments out to the terrace — a keyboard, guitars, a drum box, bongos, tambourines. Oh good, I thought. Music! Both Lery and Chiro, gifted musicians and singers, lead the worship at their church, and all three of their children are musical — one of their sons (who we have yet to meet) majored in music in college.

And then the singing started: one large, raucous jam session, really. Someone would start a song and then the rest would join in, clapping, giving the thumbs-up when people landed on the right harmonies, eyes sparkling. I recognized a few songs from the church service, but most were ones I'd never heard before.

But then they launched into “How Great Thou Art” and suddenly I was sobbing. At our family gatherings back home, we often sing together, and here we were, far from home and with people we barely knew, celebrating family in the same unique, intimate way. The song, simultaneously familiar and foreign, pierced me to my core.

Thankfully, I got a hold of myself in time to catch the last bit of the song. Just listen to that ending!
Everyone took turns leading songs. Children played piano pieces and sang solos. Lery, her sibs, and their mother sang an old classic that is often sung at weddings. Even my boys got in on the fun, belting out a couple camp songs.

Every single contribution was met with enthusiastic shouts, earth-shaking applause, and much laughter, and four hours — FOUR HOURS!!! — later they were still going strong.

Eventually, some people decided enough was enough but others wanted to keep going. And for even that there was a song, but of course:
note our younger son dancing in the background

Clearly, we have landed in a musical family. It is glorious.

This same time, years previous: pined, the quotidian (5.16.16), help, 'twas an honor, caramel cake.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The night after our son arrived, we went downtown for ice cream. The ice cream here is lighter, more like a sorbet, and they serve up all different flavors: banana, strawberry, tamarind, orange julius, passion fruit, coconut, etc — so far, peanut is my favorite. There was a man playing saxophone on the square, and couples taking selfies by the fountain. We wandered around, people watching, chatting, and practicing The Smolder (reference: Jumanji).

Then we got a call from our friends Chiro: “Hey, we’re all at the church practicing music for next Sunday. Come on over!”

Within five minutes of walking in the door, our older son was up front, a guitar in his lap. For the next hour, they rehearsed, Chiro patiently pointing out the chords. When we left, they gave him the guitar to borrow, and now, once again, there’s live music in our house.

At Chiro and Lery's house a couple days later, rehearsing with Lery.

More and more, Puerto Rico is beginning to feel like home.

This same time, years previous: driving home the point, Captain Morgan's rhubarb sours, crock pot pulled venison, people watching and baby slinging, a burger, a play, and some bagels, lemony spinach and rice salad with fresh dill and feta, raspberry mint tea.

Monday, May 14, 2018

the quotidian (5.14.18)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

Don't look here for fancy. 

Silly supper.

A Costco find: I've been looking for these for years!


Kitchen table desk: until the Ikea one comes in. 

Kindles are nice, but I miss real books.

Combating boredom: for certain children, the struggle is real.

Tool or toy?

Folding station.

A necessary installation.

Painfully loud.

My first San Juan-to-Ponce trip: We didn't get lost once!

The ever-expanding fleet, oo-la-lah.

Our corner.

This same time, years previous: surprise!, tomato coconut soup, on getting a teen out of bed, the quotidian (5.12.14), happy weekending, maseca cornbread, getting ready.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday snippets

Late afternoon the other day, after hours of shopping, unpacking, and setting up, I realized that I would fall over dead if I didn't eat something right this very minute so I grabbed the nearest available calories — a bag of corn puffs — and tore into it. The rest of the family flocked to the table, and we feasted.

Then, after our 4 pm sorta-supper, we took off to find the beach.

Turns out that the Ponce beach — La Guancha — isn’t great for swimming. It’s rocky and the water is gunky with algae. But there were a lot of people about, just soaking up the sun and luxuriating in the steady breeze, which is really more like a fierce gale.

So we meandered about, discovering sandcrabs and stray cats and cotton (?), and then back at the wharf (or whatever it is), we played on the exercise equipment and gawked at the big ships and the huge port thingy which I would love to see in operation.


Yesterday we drove to San Juan to stock up at Costco (found: pesto, cans of frozen orange juice concentrate, tubes of ground beef, craisins; not found: chocolate chips, ranch dressing mix, and rolled oats) and then to pick up our older son from the airport.

Traffic was horrible on the way back so the trip took twice as long, but at least we have air conditioning in the van. Sluggish traffic is so much more bearable when one is well-aired.

And now we’re a family of six once again!


The plumber unclogged the pipes the other night — a piece of mop was stuffed down there — and then I did a whole bunch of laundry the next day. Under that hot tin roof, the laundry bakes up nice and dry right quick. I have a ton of line space, and the washing machine is enormous. It’s a fabulous little set-up.

But then this morning, the toilet stopped flushing again. Apparently the plumber only got out a piece of the mop? Just enough to let some water through? So my husband, fed up with not having a functioning toilet, rented a pipe snake thingy and right now he’s back in the closet yelling at the kids to bring him things and the whole house smells like a sewer.

Fun times.


In other, more delicious news, I’m cooking again!

The fridge is stocked with leftovers and iced coffee, and I have frozen fruits on tap for smoothies, and there’s a tub of animal crackers to snack from. There’s a jar of granola on the shelf, too, and mixed nuts. I feel equipped, like I can whip up something nourishing at the drop of a hat, and so this morning, when we had company — a couple from World Renew — I did just that: sausage and egg bake, bagels, juice, coffee.

We’re invited to a Mother’s Day celebration on Sunday and I’m taking dessert. I’m thinking I’ll make a cake. Maybe chocolate? I haven’t decided yet….

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (5.8.17), Moroccan carrot and chickpea salad, rhubarb crunch vanilla ice cream, how it is, so far today, black bean and sweet potato chili, the family reunion of 2012, rhubarb cream pie.