About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

Soul Food

When my aunt died several years ago, I fell off an 11-month vegetarian wagon during the whole grieving/funeral process. The frenzy of it all made eating the way I had gotten used to very difficult and inconvenient, and so during the repass when there was not much else on offer, I had some chicken and my career as a medically-prescribed vegetarian was over.

When my grandmother died last week, it was just as harrowing but cooking was necessary - both as a distraction from the grief and as a means to avoid falling into a fast food trap during the same post-loss frenzy. With the exception of too many finger sandwiches after the funeral yesterday, after a long day, and a long week, I managed to stick to home cooked, fresh and healthy meals and a lot of fresh fruit.

I especially loved my lean chicken and mushroom meatballs, which were nicely seasoned, baked and then cooked in fresh tomato sauce (home made - I am done with store bought sauce), with lima beans. I have some leftover for lunch tomorrow when I return to work.

My gran was amazing in so many ways and has left a huge void in our family unit. She taught us so much, and we are so awesome in part because of the huge role she played in our lives. She was, among other things, a great cook and her house was a central hub for family get togethers and soul-food. I am glad I can at least follow in her footsteps in the kitchen and maybe start my own foodie traditions. She will be missed forever.

This is what Detox looks like

Every year after the holidays, I do a 2-week detox. Every year it sucks. This year it seems to suck even more. This year I took my usual detox - no dairy, no meat/chicken, no alcohol, no coffee - to another level and eliminated all things flour. Ugh. I am almost at the end of Week 1. Surviving, with the occasional cold sweat in the middle of the night while dreaming of honey BBQ chicken or Aioli's pork loin or a glass of wine. The work days are hardest especially with no coffee. But it has not been completely bad. I have been having a lot of good stuff.

Breakfast in the last week was quinoa egg scramble - quinoa with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, scrambled with eggs, salt and black pepper, and then topped with fresh spinach. Pretty nice.

Very delicious. Pretty awesome breakfast I must say

During the day, lots of wheatgrass, lots of water, lots of green tea.

Really nice...

It's not coffee though

Snack of choice - watermelon. This is a daily thing, even when not detoxing. I love watermelon. Like...seriously. I also snacked on cucumbers.

My Independence Square fruit guy always has my melon wrapped and waiting every morning

Tonight, I was REALLY craving burgers, even though I very rarely eat burgers, but the meat craving was real. Not yielding to temptation, I instead made spicy quinoa and lentil burgers. They are MEGA good!! What's in these? Lentils, seasoned with salt, black pepper, stir fried garlic, onions, celery, parsley, pimento, chilli peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, tomato pesto, one egg, olive oil. No breadcrumbs.

Just before they went into the oven. No breadcrumbs in these.
Used a mould to get them in shape.

After all the Christmas food and drink, I felt so ill, and after one week of this suicide mission detox, I feel a whole lot better. One week down, one more to go!

Fat, Fun and Fashion in 'American Hustle'

So one of the movies I was eagerly anticipating in 2013 was American Hustle, starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.

The movie is a fictionalised account of the ABSCAM sting operation conducted by the FBI in the late 70s to snare crooked politicians. I must say, the movie exceeded my expectations. It was crazy, fun, hilarious at times, and riddled with solid performances, particularly by Jennifer Lawrence, and with a bit of personal bias here, Christian Bale. Jennifer Lawrence's performance was fantastic -from whacky to vulnerable - she was perfect, and a great foil to Bale's Irving Rosenfeld.

However, let’s get to the meat of the matter, the critical word here being MEAT. Christian Bale put on an extra 43 pounds on his Dark Knight Rises frame for the role of Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. Now while I knew this, seeing it before me was a bit jarring. Gone was the hunk who saved Gotham and did those sexy push-ups in his bedroom in the Wayne mansion. Here was this slob with a really, really out-of-this-world combover. The opening scene which shows him perfecting this hairstyle, and later, where Bradley Cooper's character messes it up - priceless!!! But oh, this non-sexy Christian Bale took some getting used to.

Christian Bale (left) pre-Hustle - ever so sexy; Christian Bale (right) in American Hustle

That gut really was something else. Ugh. And look at those legs!

It was great!!! He has already lost a good deal of the flab (what's the secret, Chris?) and is almost back to his pre-Hustle size. All this weight gain and weight loss, which he in particular is known to do, cannot be healthy, no matter how healthy it makes his bank account.

David O. Russell, the director of this movie did a great job in making super sexy guys look a hot mess. It was bad enough having to watch Christian Bale look like the Michelin man. But then, there was also Bradley Cooper with perm rods in his hair every night, to transform his sexy coif into the white man jherri curl. I was really not feeling the white man jherri curl, Bradley.

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

I also loved the late 70s fashion. Not all of it was bad. The 70s represented a very fierce decade, and between the drugs and corruption, there was still a gleam of light in the fashion industry. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence rocked the bling, the boobage, the hair and some pretty swanky outfits.

Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Amy Adams is 70s fierce

But the movie was great fun. I was over the moon with the appearance of my fave actor, perhaps ever, Robert de Niro, which I was not at all expecting. Also, if you are a lover of 70s music, as I am, the soundtrack is bangin'. The movie is well deserving of the hype around it, and its award nominations so far. It's a great psychedelic ride - a ride I really enjoyed. My kinda film!

Pre-Carnival Gym Rats: Just Like the Once-a-Year Christians

Happy New Year to everyone!!

So now that the Christmas/New Year holiday season is over, here on the rock, the Carnival season will now kick in. With a bit of a longer season this year (59 more days til Carnival), there is more time for the non-Beyonce types to get in some kinda shape – maybe nothing at all like Beyonce in 59 days unless one exiles oneself to a deserted island and only drinks from coconuts – but a few pounds lost here and there, especially if one wants to wear something like the stuff seen HERE. 

The problem I have with this though is the same problem one lady had with me the first and last time I decided to go to New Year’s Eve mass one year. As I took a seat in a middle pew, this bastion of Christianity, Bible and hymn book in hand, looked at me, sucked her teeth and then commented to her friend – “I cannot tolerate these once-a-year Christians” as I had clearly selected her preferred or usual seat. Yes, Christians are awesome! I won’t even get into that, however…

…the once-a-year gym rats are to me, what I clearly was to the old battleaxe in church. You know, the ones you only see a few weeks before Carnival. The gym just before Carnival is a zoo – literally.

A gym that looks like this is a nightmare on any day!!!

People almost become animals, because the gym is so full, and there is stiff competition for equipment. This is not limited to gyms, but also try running around the Savannah, where one has to wake before the chickens in order to avoid the scramble.

As an all-year believer in the sweat gods, I do the suck teeth at the once-a-year subscribers who trample on my comfort levels at the gym and elsewhere. For the next 59 days I am going to have to battle with them.

Of course there are also those who use this busy period as a golden opportunity to use a gym membership as an opportunity to gape and try to pick up a man or a girl. These are even more maddening than the “lose weight or die trying” rats, because at least they are actually trying to do something, as opposed to those who dress to impress and stand around idling and gaping, often hogging equipment that could be put to better use by those who are serious, or sometimes they just stand there, doing nothing and are just in the way.

Luckily for me, I use a private gym (at work) most of the time. The same issues apply but on a smaller scale, and my gym hours (any iteration of 4am) somewhat protect me from the rush. Still, there are other classes for which I know I will need to do battle for space. I am trying to mix it up as much as possible, primarily to avoid boredom, but also to avoid me giving someone a concussion with a dumb-bell.

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