Friday, January 2, 2009

Pepper Sauce taste off, Best & Worst

I couldn't close this blog without doing one final pepper sauce taste off, here are the absolute best and worst of all time.
First, the worst:

Irene's, a store-bought brand that had a promising modest label and good color on the shelf. But this one ranks worst because it commits the cardinal sin of any self-respecting pepper sauce: it's sweet. There's no point in going over the other qualities, it's a sugary disgrace. score: 1

And, finally, the best:

The original mother-in-law recipe, because it's made by my mother-in-law. No point in showing the bottle because it has no label, and all the magic comes from her anyway. Peppers grown in her own garden, ingredients blended in her own kitchen, no two bottles the same but always hot and full of flavor. You can't buy it, but if you ever come over to our house we'll give you a sample. score: 11 (out of 10)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

farewell post

our time here is finally drawing to an end, after 5 months I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious to return and get back to the business of living in (for us, anyway) the real world. Thanks to everyone who followed and commented on this blog, a few parting shots for the road:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

who knew?

Trinidad has earthquakes? We got a bit of surprise this morning, thought it might be a heavy truck or something going by, then it intensified. We grabbed Helen and hightailed out of the building, where our neighbors were quickly gathering, sleepy-eyed and bemused. 4.3 on the Richter, no damage, no aftershocks (so far).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

little tobago

as part of our second trip to Tobago we took a hiking tour of Little Tobago, a small island off the northeastern tip. A protected bird sanctuary, it was just an incredible place, isolated wild and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

helen's rainbow

one of the advantages of being in Trinidad during rainy season is the incredible rainbows. A photo can't begin to do justice to this horizon-spanning double layered beauty, with a 3/4 moon trapped inside, but at least you can see how it springs right out of helen-pot-o-gold's head

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yoko is a boy!!

Full confession time: I'm a huge liar, or at least a dissembler of the truth. For the six of you who read my I'm Pregnant post earlier in October, remember me writing that I was 51/49 for a boy? What rubbish! Yesterday when the ultrasound technician wielded her magic wand and revealed that the fetus did in fact have a 'piggy' (her word people, and she said it twice), I screamed and writhed and clapped with pleasure. Clearly the reaction of someone who had been hoping at minimum 75/25 for a boy. And Grey was pretty darn excited, too, but he had never hedged his bets publicly like I did. He quite openly dreaded being outnumbered in a house of women (as if they still won't be).

So Yoko is a boy baby. Helen Dekker decided a few weeks ago that the fetus is to be called Yoko, and that's been the in-house nickname. It's going nowhere near the birth certificate, but it's cute for now. Watch us call that poor child Yoko until he's ready to start school.

So that's the latest news. One of each and we're done adding to the population of the world.

Love from all of we.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


yesterday was the Indian holiday Divali, the festival of lights. We took Helen out (past her bedtime, hence the pajamas) to a Hindu centric neighborhood and toured the decorated temples, watched the lighting of the deyas, and even played around with some fireworks. She'll be missing both Halloween and Thanksgiving this year, so she needed her holiday fix.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Asa Wright Nature Center

we took a brief tour of the center yesterday, exploring the winding trails and enjoying the almost-rainforest scenery, spotting wildlife where we got the chance. Highlights included the biggest ant I'd ever seen, the smallest praying mantis, a termite snack (they don't taste like carrots, fyi), birds of all size and color and fresh water springs. Definitely a place to return for a longer visit and the full tour.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We just got back from a long weekend in Tobago, Trinidad's beautiful sister island. The weather and beaches were perfect, the curry crab'n dumpling a bit of a challenge, and I got stung by jellyfish . . . but the highlight was a 3 hour glass bottom boatride. We stopped for snorkeling over the coral reefs, and made another stop at Nylon Pool, a sandbar far offshore that creates a shallow swimming area surrounded by breaking waves (reputed to have strong mojo when it comes to . . . mojo).

Monday, October 13, 2008

And then there were four.

Now I'll know for sure how many people actually check in on this blog because I think what I'm about to post should at least elicit some comments, please? That's been the hardest part about writing - not knowing if anyone reads these little rants. But here's the big news: I'm 12 weeks pregnant with number two! Some of you have known this for various amounts of time, but this is the public announcement of Thornberry Fetus Two. We're thrilled and excited and Helen Dekker loves to rub my burgeoning belly, but there have been bumps not had the first time around. First trimesters and Caribbean heat do not mix at all, at all. For HD I had the luxury of a mild UK autumn in the Midlands with long country rambles over meadows and vales, for real. This time it has been non-stop heat wave, ninety degree plus weather action. Not nice at all. But then, I haven't had to work too hard and Grey has been awesome, and the townhouse is air conditioned. For a while there I was convinced that I was having twins, but this morning, the lovely and gracious Dr. Haqq (pronounced Hack, I kid you not) announced that there was only one little heartbeat and that it was healthy and strong. Now, I'm convinced it's a boy because the experience has been so very different from carrying Helen.
Anyhow, you'll be the first to know in a few weeks when we do the gender scan.

Love from all of we.

Friday, October 10, 2008


We have just returned from a 6-day jaunt to Tampa, FL. That's the big cheat. After considering which other island to visit in honor of Grey's 40th and deciding that only Cuba would do for any real difference, and realizing that it's very illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba, we decided to go visit the extended Thornberry clan (Grey's brothers, mother, niece, nephew and sister-in-law) in Florida.

All in all, we didn't have a bad time. Our trip mostly consisted of eating. Steak was a priority for me, and I consumed a variety of cuts including fillet, ribeye, and Delmonico. Grey's family has an affinity for the faster foods in life so we also had pizza from Dominos and Pizza Hut (alas, no Franny's in Tampa), and burgers from FiveGuys (way better than any of the more junky outlets at least), Dairy Queen (for real), oh and Chillis at Miami airport, both ways. We are detoxing big time for this indulgence.

I also got to go to Target, where pushing that big old red shopping cart was therapy for me. I didn't buy that much, but man I cruised up and down every last single aisle, marveling at the abundance of well, things for sale - little Halloween things and early Christmas things, and Thanksgiving turkey things. Helen couldn't believe how much candy there was and that she could try out all the toys without fear of reprimand (Trini shop clerks don't like the children to touch the toys on display, and you know we touch every single toy until they tell us to stop. but, none of that in Target).
Grey I think was in kind of shock for most of the trip. There's the whole turning 40 deal (which he's actually pretty thrilled by), and just that Tampa exists and it's where he spent a chunk of his life and now he's in Trindad for a spell, and it just sure does seem like New York is fast claiming its dominance as the place where we belong.

Helen had the best time. Her two uncles doted on her and she loved her Uncle Riley's house on the river and the fact that she was guaranteed to see snakes and frogs and alligators in his backyard, and turtles and fish in the front. He has ponds and water features and his house is on the Hillsborough river and from his dock one can find a kind of tranquility I have yet to find in Trinidad. Uncle Riley also has several collections: about a thousand turtle shells, minerals some of which glow florescent under black lights, chilli peppers real, plastic and of other you'd never suspect materials, and something else I forget but I'm sure Helen can remind me, maybe the alligator-shaped letter openers? How many of one thing does one have to have before it's a collection?

We had a good time, but it's good to be home again. Tonight we're having fresh fish and a green salad.

Love from all of we.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


So we're about to cheat on our Trinidad adventure, and I'm not revealing how until it's all over. How come no one told me that keeping up with a blog is so hard? Mentally, I'm writing new posts all the time - about strange Trinis, the baby girl, the heat, my new hairdo and how unsuitable ten pounds of braids are for the heat, but this is all mental. I've committed nothing to screen for a whole month and this is not for lack of happenings down here.
I'll make a vow then - to be a better blogger when our little adventure comes to an end. We're away from our computers until Thursday October 8, and upon our return I'll reveal where we were, share some news, and blog about life in never-dull Trinidad an-a-bagel (as Helen call this place).
Oh, oh, oh, wish Grey Happy Birthday! His 40th (!) is on Saturday October 4th.

Love from all of we.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Emperor Park Zoo

We spent the holiday (today is Republic Day) at the Emperor Park Zoo, a small but well-maintained facility in central Port of Spain. Some of the enclosures were pretty cramped for the animals and the zoo itself is small overall, but it made a nice day out for the family. The ocelots were awesome.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

shotgun sub

seriously, don't screw around at Subway . . .

Friday, September 19, 2008

University of West Indies

a few shots of UWI campus: local flavor architecture, northern range mountains in the background and great, sprawling old trees - not a bad place to study