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15 May 2013

Half Gallon of Sour Milk

So what do you do with your spoiled  "sour" milk? Especially if you have about a half gallon of it?

This is what I do:
Google "recipes sour milk"

And find some ideas for yummy treats for Beloved. I am on summer vacation anyway.

What do you do with your sour milk?

Here is one of the things I am making up:
Sour Milk Spice Cake Recipe
Sour Milk Spice Cake


Original recipe makes 1 - 9x9 inch pan

08 May 2013

Cups of Ice

I love to recycle. My Beloved loves ice. By using  disposable cups to make ice I  can recycle and  keep Beloved cool!
The other day I had visitors. My sister-in-law and the twins came over for a quick visit. It was a hot day, so as a good host, I offered them something to drink. I quickly made up some juice but then I was hit with a dilemma that I am sure that any young person in the motions of setting up house keeping on a limited budget: I was not sure what cups to serve the Citrus Valley Squash. See, I was blessed with many wedding presents. Many of them were beautiful glass cups. Unfortunately it is not a very good idea to serve juice to a pair of busy almost-five year olds. Trust me, it just isn't.

So I gave the boys theirs in the huge orange tumblers that I have had for a long time. I love these tumblers because they are huge (the hold a quart of liquid). Because my nephews little guys, and they were not staying long, I did not fill the cups. (trust me, giving two almost five year olds a quart of juice each is not a good idea, worse then giving them a glass cup).

I shouldn't need a the bachelors degree I am currently pursuing to tell where I went wrong. How would I feel if my strange new aunt gave me some nice cold juice on a hot day? I would feel good. But how would I feel if she gave me half of a big cup? I would probably feel cheated. Especially if I was in the pre-operational stage of cognitive development and I had a limited understanding of conservation. Half a cup, even if it is a BIG cup, would seem small. Even if I was well behaved, I would be disappointed.

Because I love my nephews, and because I love applying psychology to every day life, the next time I was in a store I was looking out for some small kid friendly cups. I really couldn't find anything that looked like what I wanted within my price range, so I did something my environmentally friendly self rarely does. I buy a pack of cheap clear plastic disposable cups. At the moment I figured that I could figure out a way to reuse the cups later, but having a stash of cups for my thirsty little friends. Most of the people who would stop by my house (I don't entertain as much as I would life) has children anyway...

The opportunity presented itself to use some of my stash soon afterwards. Sparing the details, I when my visitors left, they were very happy about the refreshments I offered. Mother, father and child had a nice visit. While wish the dishes I was presented with problem that has haunted me all my life.... what to do with the used disposable cup? Recycling is not practice in Belize. If it is I am not aware of it.

After a moment or two I had a brilliant idea. I know that washed and reused disposables are not always attractive, they get filmy and break. They don't look nice after awhile. They begin to taste like soap. Tiny pieces of food and juice colouring get stuck in the crevices (they always have crevices.... maybe it is a conspiracy). Ugh I hate it. I hate it that the companies that make these things make it so easy to throw them away, without regard, and use another one.

But in this hot weather what a better way to use your pre-used disposable cups to make ice! I washed them out, dried them, then filled them about two thirds the way up with drinking water. The cups fit nicely in the door shelf in my freezer so they are out of the way. They are cheaply made and very flexible so they do not creak when the ice expanse. One cup of ice is a great serving size for a mug (or a pitcher, whatever you call it). The best thing about it that filling them is easy, no spills or tipping ice trays!

I have had a couple visitors since my discovery. Not only do I have plenty of ice to make tons of cold Citrus Valley Fruit Punch, but I also know  I am making the world a bit of a better place by recycling in my own way. Plus freezer door is lined with more cups of water to make ice!

So readers what do you think? How has the preoperational stage of development effect you and the children you love? Do you have any recycling breakthroughs? What do you do with used disposable cups?

24 April 2013

Lying to Parents

So this morning I was eavesdropping.  I didn't mean to do it, but I was alone, the food I was waiting for was taking long, and the group of six kids were talking way too loud at the next table. I tried to occupy my mind with things like "why do I get migraines" or "the dis-ease portrayed in Loius Owen's 'Sharpest Sight'" or "I love Beloved" or anything really, but the topic that these young people were talking about was too hot. I was oh so curious to hear and understand their perspective. I know that Junot Diaz would justify what I did, saying that all writers, or aspiring writers eavesdrop in one way or another.... But anyway these young people, obvious first year college schools, were talking about lying to their parents.

One young man, claimed that he only lies to his parents when he has to. When he has to? I ask myself When would I ever have to lie to my mother as a young person? I never did. See my mother was one of those rare people who knew and helped my brothers and I figure out what we needed to do and what we wanted to do. There is a difference. She is also the type of person that I could have (still can) trust with my true self. My mother did not pretend that we were prefect angels. As much as she would have rather that I did all my chores before I went to youth night, or do all my home work before running over to the neighbours to play volleyball, and as much as she would have rather that I did not go to the river with five of my guys friends without any sister-friend amongst the group, she knew that I did not always live up to her expectations. She never tried to shame me into being prefect. Rather, whenever she got the chance, she asked me if that is what I really want to do. Did I really thing it was necessary to stay out until 1 am with my friends... Did I feel good about it? What would have happened if something went wrong? She did not throw a fit. She did bare a human child after all... why blow up when you child does something that is not healthy, socially or physically?

Another amazing thing that my mother did affirm my ability to choose. When my neighbors tattled on me (Did you know Beth left the house after dark?) or when I asked her a hard question  (Should I spend all my savings to go to a conference in Miami?) my mother let me know that I can make the right choice, that deep down inside, I knew what was good for me. She is the type of Mama to chase nosy hosuewives back home, telling them that her Beth has a good head on her shoulders. How can you lie to a mother that sees you for who you are, is not threatened by it, and lets you make your own choices?
There was no reason to lie to my mother because she allowed us to be human

James Lehman, MSW said something interesting, "Parents should hold their children responsible for lying but they should not blame them for doing so" he also claims that lying to parents happens because of the perception of the situation. If children think they are "bad" "horrible" "naughty" etc... they are going to hide the truth. Children do not want to disappoint their parents.Telling them what they want to hear is one of appeasing this desire.
My oh my what a long nose you have....

Jame Lehman makes me think of how my mother handled this. The first time a boy that I liked at school held my hand, I was excited. I was nervous to tell her because I did not know what she would like about it. Whenever we spoke about sexuality and romance, it was as if it was some far away event. At 12 years old I was not sure if my mother would like the idea that I had a boy holding me hand (even though I liked it). Her disapproval frightened me.  One day when I was alone with her in the car, I blurted it out, "R** *L***** is my boyfriend now". My mother's reaction won me over. She told me that I was growing up, I was a beautiful girl, and that she would like to hear more about him. Later I found out that my mother was worried sick about the idea of me, a little twelve year old, naive and easy to get hurt, would do something crazy, but she knew she had to let me be my own person, to make my own choices. Years later, I was still telling my mother the details of my relationships, friendships and all. Even after I got married it was hard not to go to my mother and gab about all the wonderful things Beloved and I do....

I am not a parent, but I have lots of children in my life and I have been a child myself. I think the best way to not have  your children lie to you is to not give them a chance to lie to you.

So if you don't want your children to go drinking or smoking or something unhealthy? Explain to them why.  Let them make their own choices. Nothing they do is so bad that they cannot find redemption.

Remember that children are people too. They will mess up from time to to time.

Any thoughts readers?

23 April 2013

I am hooked

The other day a friend of mine sent me a link to a you tube clip of Carlis Andrés Gómez. He is a poet, actor, teacher,  etc. Latino. Now I am know that considering my last post, I am beginning to sound like a Latino/a enthusiast... but really gets me is the culture, revolutionary spirit and the truth in hidden realities. What I love about the Latino/a world is that it is diverse. I love the new push to being taken out of the box of stereotypes and fight against classism. I love that people are beginning to realize that there is much more to life then name and labels, that one's culture does not define them, it fosters them.

This clip is about true education. What is really going one

This one is about what is a Latino. I love it. It warms my heart and shames me all a the same time

Anyway dear readers, I hope you let me know what you think. Enjoy!

17 April 2013

La Sucia, La Marianisma and El Machismo

Recently I have learned a phrase for a a social phenomenon I have noticed and dealt with much of my life.  The term is Marianisma.  It was coined by Elsa Chaney in a paper that explained the cultural phenomenon in Latin America that uses a strict binary for classing women: whores or saints, good or bad, virtuous or evil. The Marianisma is a the good woman, virtuous and saintly, patient, forgiving, strong, pure, AND submissive. I have seen this many times in Belizean society, a judgement that comes from not only the Spanish speaking population but from all culture groups, which confirms to my mind that to be Latino/a is not a culture or race... it is a state of being, an umbrella term.

Why is this a Latin American term? This is tricky. I have seen this aspect of gender roles embraced by people who are not even Roman Catholic or another Marianism sect of Christianity.  But the term is derives from the Catholic belief that the Virgin Mary is both virgin and mother (which does not explain the fact that the Bible mentions Jesus' other brother and sister, but that is a different story). It teaches that women are are morally superior to men. That their role in society is to stay home, take care of the children, pray and take care of their drunken abusive men. That feminine strength is most evident in the long-suffering and passivity.

I see this in many sectors of society. People often estimate a woman once she is a wife, a mother, and is putting up with some major trial in her life (etc, her husband cheating on her, leaving) and she is expected to serve her family with unending loyalty and be tired. I know one woman, an evangelical woman who goes to church every evening with her eight small children. Her husband is rather ever around and her mother, a sickly elderly lady lives with her so she can take care of her. This woman is poor. She does not have a job (how can she with so many children and a sickly mother to care for?). She never goes anywhere expect to church. When I asked her how she does it she told me with a sigh "asi es la vida de una muejer" (such is the life of a muejer).

This particularly angers me, not because I don't think it is a right and an honor to take care of your family. I personally would love to be able to take care of a house full of children and my mother in her old age. I also think that a wife should honour and respect her husband. But what gets to me is the absents of mutuality this life style promotes. For a good woman to be a Marianisma there has to be a machismo, an aggressive, stubborn, trouble making male. I have noticed that these type of women enable the men in their lives to be abusive, misogynists,and embrace a form of hyper masculinity .  It seems to me that the true marianisma  is motherly towards her macho man, letting boys be boys.

Of course, in a binary world, if a woman is not a marianisma what is she? There is a folktale in Belize and other parts of Latin America that personifies a woman who is opposite of a marianisma. The figure is La Sucia, a folklore character that beguile young men with her hunting beauty, but then turns to a hideous death machine. Some tales claim that this hunting figure came about because once there was a beautiful woman who was lovely in every way possible. She and a nice young man fell in love and after a brief, pure courtships, they were about to marry. On the day of the wedding the priest discovered something shameful about her (some day she as not baptized, other claim that she was a bastard, others claim that she had a vivacious life before she met her truth love) and refused to officiate the wedding. The young lady was traumatized by the shame and fled the scene, and she continues to roam the riversides after dark in order to catch a good man and ruin him.

The word sucia literally means "dirty woman" or just plan "dirty". In Spanish the word can be applied to a thing (agua sucia, dirty water, or sewer water). You get the point? If a woman does not life up to the expectations to be good and sweet and pure, if a woman indulges in any thing, if she demands respect from men (especially her husband), and if she is in any way progressive, society labels her as Sucia, dirty.

Something that I have learned about life is that is complicated. There is no such thing as binary. It is not either or. Qualities do  get mixed up with vices.

The other weekend, I went on a trip with one of my class. We went across the border into Mexico. Now as much as going South of the border is synonymous for fun the US, in Belize going North of the border is even more so. Since Belize is a small country it is hard for college students to let loose for two reasons: things are expensive and anyone who will see you just might tell your mother. I personally love going into Mexico for shopping, hanging out on the beach with Beloved and well, indulging in some of the niceties of life. The beef is good and the beer is cheap.But since my personal philosophy is all things in moderation, I have never had a that quintessential college party trip.

Not that I did this time either. Of course I had a couple of beers with my classmates. We had fun and danced around the hotel rooms. We were a little bit Sucia. At midnight when  the younger classmates decided to go out to a club that they go to when they are in town ( I learned that I do not go to Mexico as often as many o them), I decided to stay in. By my estimation I had already over did it and I was tired. Being 27 and in college is just not the same as being 22. I was fine with it and I went to sleep.

My classmates proved to be a little more Sucia  than myself. They stayed out until 5 am. They are in college, young and free, all of that. When they returned, I already have about 5 hours of sleep and I was unusually well rested. Like a mother and a good Marianisma I put them to sleep. I made sure that they took their shoes off before falling into their respective beds. When one of the young men, so drunk that he could barely walk straight, wanted to go to the shop on the street to get some cigarettes, I offered to get them for him. Not that I want to promote smoking. I actually think it is a evil, unhealthy vice and that cigarettes should be illegal (but that is another story). Why was I compelled to get a pack for this young man? I don't rightly know. I excuse myself claiming that I did want him to leave the hotel and go on the street in his state, but maybe it is because I am just a good marianisma.

So readers, what do you think? Are there binary gender roles in your society? What does being a good man and a good woman mean to your society? How do you feel about them?

I am an educated woman. I want to work when I am finished with my Bachelors of Arts and I hope to go abroad someday to do my Masters degree. My house is not clean and my husband will have to make his own lunch at noon and  hang out the underwear I threw in the washing machine before I left for school today. My life's calling is not to stay home and have babies. I might stay home while I have babies, but that will not define me. I am a complicated woman. I love making cookies for my Beloved but then I make him wash the pan.

Life is pretty complicated, huh? But it sort is sweet.

Let me know your thoughts.

03 April 2013

Men and Women

My Beloved loves to do things for me so I let him (But really I need him)
This morning I finally dragged my foggy head out of bed after Beloved's faithful nudging. Beloved made coffee and toast, and didn't complain that I forgot to get milk for the coffee (the morning nudging out of bed, coffee, toast and not complaining makes him the best husband in the work, ya'll). We talk about this and that, I yawn and stretch and head for the shower. When the prefect temperature water hits me, what was meant for a "cowboy bathe" turns into a spa treatment, despite the fact I only have 30 minutes to leave the house, drive the fibve miles to the bus stop, catch the bus, and go to school. I wash my hair, shave my legs, wash my skin with soap, then body wash, and scrub my face with an apricot scrub. Stretch some more. Thing about Carol Gilligan and how men and women think differently....

See according to Coral Gilligan's theory on moral development is very interesting to me. She claims that younger children have a different understanding of justice based on gender. See little girls, and woman on a  whole, make choices about right and wrong based on how it affects relationships, and how to show care and concern for the people the decisions involves. Boys on the other hand tend to be more tend to be more zealous in the sense of rightness, justice, and following the rules. While studying under Kolhberg, who did not take gender into consideration in his studies on moral development, Carol Gilligan realized that girls do in-fact develop moral orientationsdifferently than boys.

Back to my sleepy morning, my amazing husband, and my shower. See being married to a man from a different culture and family background wants me to study psychology more. I realized that men and women are much more complicated being then anything I could have experienced as a daughter, sister, friend, roommate. For one thing, I observed that my Beloved, as kind and gentle and strong and brave as he is, in his heart of hearts, he really just has space for one person. Since I filled that space his relationship with his family, friends, nieghbours etc... (even the ones who used to feed him during his bachelor days) are a blur on the back burner.  He is a passionate man with extreme loyal (in his own way). 

Me on the other hand am heart sick for my Santa Elena days. I miss my old friends and I constantly lament the fact that I am loosing touch with so many of my friends. I love being busy but I hate it that I just don't have the time to "walk about" and just chill with my buddies. I am alarmed if I can't visit my mother once a week and if I don't hear from her at least once a day I go into a frenzy, calling all my friends who live close to her and ask them to check up on her. I love my family and friends the same (or even more) now that I am married.

I found this picture on the net... I find it amusing
This is a picture of Santa Elena, Cayo, my home town. Who won't miss it?
I think God was cleaver and designing men and women different. We sort of balance each other. While I hope to dote over my babies someday and I plan to take the world by storm, I have a strong man by my side. This is the man who is going to make sure my dreams happen. He understands how so many of the things I wanted to do in my life have been pushed back or diverted because I am a relationship orientated person. I couldn't go on vacation while my mother's car was in the shop or when my friends were planning on going to a youth conference in Miami and I wanted to go to California to visit some friends and family one summer, I caved to go with my friends. The conference was great but I had other plans that I put to the side. I used to beat up myself for being weak, spineless, not self-actualized, when in reality I was just being the woman that God created me to be. Now that I have a strong man that only has eyes for me, my goals are going to start being ticketed off one by one.
Finishing my BA is one of them. 
Visiting family and friends in California is another
We will discuss the others.

Some times I feel like a sell out. I got married before my FIVE YEAR PLAN was complete. Now I am freed by the realization that I was not meant to finish my FIVE YEAR PLAN alone. Of course being married adds its own stress to the plan and my marriage has slowed me down in some ways. But it is so much fun! So what if my FIVE YEAR PLAN will be a TEN YEAR PLAN? So what that I am not as moveable and spontaneous as I once was. I am happy with my Man and he is helping me realize what is really inportant in life.

Meanwhile I will wish I had this book.
Or this one....