A Drinkable Book

My blog buddy Letizia”s always interesting and relevant blog. How cool is this!

reading interrupted.

This instructional book created by Water is Life provides pamphlets on how to keep water clean and potable.

waterislife.com waterislife.com

What I love about it though is that the pamphlets themselves are water filtration systems!

photo via waterislife.com photo via waterislife.com

photo via waterislife.com photo via waterislife.com

waterislife.com waterislife.com

If you want to donate to this amazing project, you can go to the website to learn more about it, and you’ll see the link for donations: www.waterislife.com

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Waste Not

“Machigua” Nica for pig slop.

I’ve worked in restaurants for over 20 years. It’s fast paced challenging work; I’ve always enjoyed it. Though, as with all jobs, there are aspects that have frustrated me. The most upsetting thing about working restaurants is witnessing the mountains of food thrown away every day —breakfast, lunch and dinner… breakfast, lunch and dinner, 365 days a year.  Reputable research informs us that forty percent of the consumable food in the U.S. is thrown away; a statistic that has consumed me in the way thoughts of the ocean’s garbage gyres can drag me below the surface of despair.

When I lived in Chicago, I would leave the restaurant and sometimes see people sifting through the still nourishing food we threw into a vile trash bin; salvaging bits, tainted only because we’d put them in an unsanitary place. We also sent weekly meals to a homeless shelter, but it didn’t assuage the guilt I felt for serving piles of food that few could possibly finish, but to many who would complain if the portions were reduced. Some want their money’s worth, even if it is only to throw it away.

probecho! probecho!

Finally, I have a restaurant job that has solved this dilemma. At La Finca y El Mar all of our waste is sorted: citrus rinds for compost, plate waste for pigs, plastics, glass and cardboard recycled, which creates a significantly decreased trash output .

Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he'd live. But, He's gaining weight...yes, he was thinner. Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he’d live. But, He’s gaining weight…yes, he was thinner.

Felipe comes to the restaurant each morning and collects the food waste bins. The pigs get a diverse and tasty supplement to their feed, his adopted farm dog Lucas, enjoys the pork scraps and bones he and his coworkers pull out of the pig’s portion, the compost benefits from a boost of acidity for our alkaline soil, and I am freed from agonizing over my contribution to waste and indifference.

Probecho piggies!

House Home

our first shower

our first shower in la tigra 🙂


In 2006 my husband Felipe and I packed two bags, fifty thousand dollars and the dream of a self sustainable life. We moved to his tiny home town in rural México. We were there almost nine years getting a whopping lesson in dream meets reality.

Four months ago, I packed one bag and left for Nicaragua. I had fifty bucks, and the idea that perhaps Felipe would join me. As followers of this blog know, he did; he came with one bag and 1500 dollars in the bank from selling our pigs.

This is to say, I know a little bit about up and moving to another country. You might guess the hardest part is making it happen, but in my experience, the difficulty is making it home.

When I moved into in my new apartment in Nicaragua I was elated. It was so clean! No crumbling  walls, no stumbling into the forest  before dawn due to broken plumbing, no corners of impenetrable grime. Seven years with no money for house maintenance = hovel. But after a few months of white walls and dark wood I missed character, even if that meant something beyond patina.

I wish I could say I remedied this deficit with something more apparently meaningful say… volunteering or starting to write  a new book, but…I went shopping, at the Nica version of home depot no less!




I bought pillows, and place mats, an apron and wineglasses and a vase! Best of all… I bought two big bright coffee mugs. They aren’t as grande as the big green mug that held my hand as I stuttered through my recitations last year, but  they’re an investment in wake up happy.


Wake up happy!


Felipe visited the Pierda Rahda last week, I’m pleased to report he found River and Monty fat and wild, and our cats still inhabiting the adobe and turning there nose up at the food our caretaker puts down for them everyday. I could have asked him to bring my big green mug, but I feel better knowing it’s there, waiting for me to drink in sunrise under the amate someday.

I guess I am not yet totally here -but I’m closer.

What’s your first step in making a house a home?