Fighter jets: Dead and Alive

So, our weekend was filled with fighter jets. This dead one parked at the Parque Tomas Palmares in Dorado.

I didn’t know the park had a closing time!

Except it was closed when we arrived. Boo.

And I spent all that tome talking it up to the kids

At least the park wasn’t surrounded by a wall!

The next day was the Air Show featuring the Thunderbirds!! (Cue AC/DC music here)

 We scored a very good seat on one of the old fort walls. Overlooking the ghetto. (Literally, it’s where the guidebooks tell you not to go in old San Juan.)

I was so excited to watch an airshow over water for the first time

But then the police came by and told everyone to get off the wall. So we did. And then 10 minutes later more people came and sat back on the wall and some of the people who had gotten off got back on. I was tempted to do the same but Trevor is an outstanding law-abiding citizen. So we stayed put on the grass.  And stared at a wall. Obviously, an airshow is in the AIR. But still, I was seething with the injustice of getting there early enough to score great seats then being superseded. The show began and I was so irate I made our whole family relocate.

Our new view after getting booted off the wall.

The show was so slow going we easily moved 100 feet east to a new spot and didn’t miss anything

The first act was a xxx that just flew back and forth. Then some police helicopters, Cessna and a police boat below. Not extremely exciting. But what I did like was the search and rescue helicopter. It dropped a rescuer into the water, the chopper circled over the city then returned to the diver who lit a flair.  If we hadn’t relocated our seats, we would’ve missed that demo.

My daughter was ready to leave before the Thunderbirds even came out.

Then there was a 20 minute demonstration by a cloaked Romulan bird of prey. Which was boring.

After a 20 minute pause…


Basically, the meat of the show were these guys. They fly their wingtips within an soda-can width of each other.  It was a fun show. But, airshow snobs that we are, it wasn’t anything that we hadn’t seen before.

And at the end, we couldn’t determine if it was worth it.  The sun, the crowds, the biting ants, the lackluster opening acts. I think we left our conclusion undetermined because we didn’t want to bad mouth the event, our efforts, our times, or our choice to attend. And if we hadn’t gone, we would’ve wondered if we shoulda gone.

It took us 40 minutes to leave Old San Juan with the traffic. This only aggravated our mixed emotions, so we soothed ourselves with 2000 calories delivered via Macaroni Grill and Cold Stone Creamery in Caguas.

…..later my massage therapist told me they don’t want people sitting on the old fort walls because they want to preserve them, not destroy them.  oh. make sense




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I’ve lived two years and I still don’t know this.

I’ve lived here a year and I still don’t know street names.  Obviously I know MY street name but outside my little neighborhood? Uh. Not really. Actually, the name of the main street in my gated neighborhood escapes my memory while writing this.

Besides a couple of the main ones like Hwy 2, and Post Street (which also has two other names) I couldn’t tell you even the street names I use everyday to get to school.

The lack of street signs is prohibitive to giving directions, but since people are so used to using landmarks, everyone expects it. If the intersection has no signs, it’s just easier to say “Turn left at the Denny’s” or “just after mile marker 5.6”

Sometimes our GPS takes about 6 solid seconds to spit out some long street names and by the time she says “in a quarter mile” we are already at the turn!

No signs

There are a couple of streets with simple names like Calle A, which intersects with Calle AA. (Which is really funny to hear the GPS lady say, which is the only reason I know the name of the road. Go ahead, say Calle AA out loud.  Btw, you pronounce ‘calle’ like kai-yay.  Now say AA in English.  Teehee)

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We didn’t get our mail for two months

Me to my neighbor last May: We’re just going to forward our mail to Wisconsin over the summer.

Neighbor: You don’t want to do that. It takes too long. We can collect your mail and mail it to you.

Me: Thanks. But it’ll be easier to forward it.

Ugh! If only I’d listened to her!  I could NOT submit the forward request online (my address is not in the system for some reason). So I went to the PO. Ok. Done.

We stopped receiving mail 2 weeks before I told them to start. Is that because they put our mail on a third class boat and it takes two weeks to arrive at the forwarded address?

I think all my trouble started when I told our deliveryman that I’d like my mail delivered until the day we left. He said it was in a box at the post office and that would be no problem. Ok! But….we left on May 31st.  By mid-July…we had received nada at my Mom’s…

So I sent a quick text to my friend who works in the Rincon PO.  It’s good to have connections!

As it says, my wise neighbor said some mail was still getting delivered to our house. But I didn’t think all of it was there, and none of it was here, so my mail must’ve been in some sort of mail limbo!  I asked my postal worker friend to help me reinstate my forwarding..

But by late July, we still had a mail blackout. The two weeks it should’ve taken the mail-by-boat came and went. I’d had it! We were returning to PR in two weeks anyway!  I had Amazon (lovely Amazon) items to purchase.  Would they get to my doorstop only to reverse course and get shipped back to my mom’s in Wisconsin?

Message from my neighbor

Just to be sure – I sent some packages to my neighbor’s house instead. I was ordering school supplies afterall. Nana doesn’t need those 😉

I eventually worked with my postal worker friend to cancel all forwarding. Since our address isn’t recognized in the USPS system, I couldn’t do it online.  That would be too easy!!

All our packages, gracias a Dios, weren’t redirected north. But….just this week (third week in September mind you)…I just received two items of mail with a stamp that said, ‘unable to deliver.” One was a bill due in August. Good thing I pay online!!

Lesson learned: when your Puerto Rican neighbor tells you not to use a Puerto Rican service (even the US Postal System), listen to her! (Stick to just mailing stuff, like 54 boxes of your belongings! haha)

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Now you see it…

So, two days ago Puerto Rico experienced the worst power outage in decades. And I learned a new word, “apagón” (blackout).

At the same time as my hubby was flying away from Mayaguez to San Juan to begin his journey to Barcelona (not the one in New York, no no), a major explosion at a power plant in Central PR caused damages to two main 230, 000 volt  transmission line. Begin domino effect here! The entire system shut down to protect itself. Or so they said.

This said the airport was closed (I assume they mean thr main one in San Juan). but Trevor said TSA had enough power, and henwas able to leave fine with a small delay.

I’ve blogged about the tree covered power lines many times

People were quick to lay blame. But one of the coolest images I saw was comparing an aerial image before and after the apagón.

We’re very bright!

Like we’re not there!

And I see how intertwined I am with electricity. Obviously not just for lights, but for trying to download all the photos Trevor sent us from Spain.

Trevor eating fresh fruit in a market in Barcelona. With lights.


Rationing our generator, we had snacks in the dark.

I thanked God many times for the fact that we had a generator, and a water cistern with a pump.  Because eventually the water pressure dwindled to dribbles. Friends checking on each other, getting updates through our intermittent internet, and remembering how to simply unplug and enjoy the natural light.  It’s like camping – get your house organized and picked up before sunset or you’ll be sorry. I felt like worshiping the sun every morning.

I imagined this on the news that my father watches every night, but then thought more realistically.  This probably isn’t news to anyplace else.


We went to a cafe for lunch. While exiting, this electrical box up on the pole literally shot out blue lightning. Yeah, my car was parked under the wire. The whole feeling surrounding the town was eerie..

And imagine on top of all this – my friend was delivering her twins in one hospital in town and my neighbor was administered to a different hospital the night of the explosion.
Never a dull moment!!
Silver lining:  ESTRELLAS!! Millions of stars. And a faint outline of the Milky Way. = worth it!


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Pics to make you go huh?

Taino man in Aguadilla proudly props a 2×4 up with his nose

When you go to check radar to see when the rain will let up…and you can even read the name of your city

So many public restrooms don’t have hot water.

The topless Taino woman will watch over you on your toilet throne

If one hydrant is broken, just install a new one.

At nine at night, that girl is so done.

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Aguadilla Tree House

In the Parque Colón in Aguadilla there is a tree fort/house/path with many walkways and steps


It was one of the first things we did on that very first trip to Puerto Rico, when we were deciding to move here.  It’s right down the road from the ice rink.


We’d ventured back to this park since then but the tree house was always closed. Thankfully, when we went last Sunday after skating, it was open!

There were signs to read along the way.

There were signs to read along the way.


But BUMMER! What we really came here for was to show our friends the abandoned train in the falling-apart tunnel.  It was gone 🙁 Aguadilla is putting a lot of money into the oceanfront area these days and I guess they decided to clean up. bummer.

No more abandoned train tunnel 🙁



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Chestnuts roasting in the PR sun

My Sana box was half full of produce I couldn’t identify this week. Facebook hive mind helped me out tremendously.

Is that’s big green thing guava? It wasn’t an avocado

it was so hard it just fell open on my counter

My Facebook friends told me it was a Pachira aquatica ….. in other words,  a chestnut!

Trevor, “It’s only ok”

Wikipedia confirmed.

They weren’t so good raw. So…youtube told me how to roast ’em!

add cinnamon and sugar = yum!


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Zika with Parmesan

Zika sounds like an Italian dish but it’s a virus that has garnered a lot of attention in the news recently. Brazil kept the taboo subject out of the Olympic media, but it seems to be the Mecca of Ziki, with the virus spreading to places like Columbia and here in Puerto Rico and even more recently, Florida. 

The Zika plague (as the press has promoted it) doesn’t seem to phase as many people here in PR as it does in the States. Nearly everyone asked me this summer if I was worried about Zika. My answer was generally no, while Trevor’s was a bit more leaning toward yes. 

Mainly I think because he and I read from different news sources. Ok, my news source is Facebook haha (it used to be the paper edition of the Onion so I’ve stepped up people). And my newsfeed is filled with the people of Rincon protesting chemical spraying to combat mosquitos and generally poo-pooing the paranoia that the media is perpetuating. (Floridians don’t seem to care so much. Spray away!) Just today I read this article saying that Zika effecting fetuses was not entirely true. 

But there are other articles stating that Zika is not only harmful to fetuses but to young children as well who have developing brains. (Sorry no source for that). 

So nobody knows what the hell they’re talking about. 

From the symptoms of Zika on average adults, I’d take it over Chickengunya. 

Meh. We haven’t booked one way flights outta here. Just bought our kids pants to wear to school where they don’t have screens in the windows and are outside a lot. But they told me they were too hot. So yesterday I sprayed their legs with deet. But I forgot today and thought ‘meh’. 

And according this article you have just gotten Zika from reading my blog. Sorry ’bout that, amigo. 

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Organic CSA!


One of the first things I searched out when we moved here was organic food. While Natucentro supplies plenty of dry goods and organic leche, they don’t have produce. Enter Sana!

I don’t remember how I first heard about them. But they are an organic CSA in Cabo Rojo. I forgot, or actually never learned what CSA stands for. But it’s the way all the cool tree huggers get produce. To put it simply, get a box full of farm food directly from the farm once a week. Score!

You order online and they come round on Thursday. Mayaguez has a pickup location near the university. Maybe no one else in Mayaguez orders from them, or they are so nice that they just meet me by the Denny’s near my house. It’s on their route anyway.



I had no idea what these were. hello google! Didnt like em


Once during their delivery time I was stuck at the doctors clinic without a car. They obviously understand the whole doctor-can-take-four-hours thing, and they brought my produce to the parking lot of the clinic. Awesome!

The most recent batch I received included some extra bonus food. A whole bag of organic ginger! I immediately made ginger snap cookies for my kids. But…they were really orange gingers! (I should say they were ginger gingers, haha).  No really, my fingers were yellow for the next three days. It stained my kitchen towel. Crazy! The cookies turned out well though.

Today I told one of my Puerto Rican friends about this crazy orange ginger and she told me it was probably turmeric. Oh.

I swear it looked and smelled just like ginger

A perminent reminder of my innocent confusion


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Prices here and there

People always ask me if it’s cheaper to live in Puerto Rico. Yes and no. The kid’s Montessori School is over $10,000 cheaper annually in Mayaguez than the one we checked out in Middleton, WI (for two kids; and that one’s not bilingual!) But imported food is much more pricey. Locally grown fruit is low priced.  And soon I’ll write a post about my organic CSA. 

Prices in Puerto Rico:




And now prices in Woodmans in Wisconsin:  

Dill was over $6 in PR


Much better than 3.29!


PR was only $1.05 a pound. closer to the source I guess (Chile)


was $1.99 a pound in PR


I should’ve taken a picture of the price of piña. Pineapple just tastes so much better in PR. Local food is cheaper of course.  And bananas are plenty cheap. 

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