March 14, 2014

My New Panama Neighbor -- Yay, God!

Presently, I live in a lovely apartment building with a handful of ever-changing tenants. Well,  what luck for me!  Because one of the newest tenants claims to be the embodiment of God.

I kid not. These days,  right here in my village, in my building, for heaven's sake, God comes in the form of a pretty, married, 30-year-old, home-schooling mom of two with a name as good as any folk singer, or porn star, can give: Summer Dawn.

Okay, I'm not the one saying she's God. She is. Seriously. She is. On her blog where she regularly posts and carefully catalogs direct quotes from God himself, she states "I am the flesh that speaks God's Words and translates the Prophecies ... I am the embodiment of God on earth."   Wow. What luck.

It might surprise you that I am not a terrible skeptic.

I'm as eager a seeker as any, curious and open-minded enough to read Adyashanti; to have attended Mormon services,  study the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses no less (they are not what you might think).  I'm a 12-stepper of sorts, a baptized and once faithful Episcopalian, and I was raised by a confirmed athiest dad.  It's not for me to jude anyone's path to God, or not, as the case may be.  Rather than judge, I prefer to investigate!  With God possibly being channeled right down the hall, it appeared that my search just got shorter.

I begin to investigate and am instantly struck by something odd in her short bio. She writes "patiently I have waited until my age became thirty and I was ready to stand before the people to  deliver the Words and Teachings of God."  "Until my age became thirty" is just a decidedly weird use of the passive voice. But  hey ... it's FREE! No PayPal buttons requesting donations. No products to be sold. So maybe this is legit.

I notice,  but don't care,  that there is no mention of uncle Jesus in the hundreds of "stanzas" from "books" of God quotes.  What I do care about and what I need to believe is that my God is grammatical.

Does God really channel bad grammar and syntax? ("Burried deep within the earth lies ancient civilizations.")  Okay, that would be lie, thank you very much.  ("One must come to understand the truth in themselves... .")  Okay, that would be in himself or in herself.) Fergodsake!  Seriously?

If what I have to look forward to after I drop dead is bad grammar, I'm in deep doo doo.  It is probably just snarky to carry on in paradise with a corrective pen in tow  and a pedantic, supercilious attitude about God's grammar.

Not that I am the most grammatical person in Panama, or that I have any really great understanding of proper punctuation. But then, folks, I am not claiming to be the direct conduit for the word of God.  Geezie.

I admit, I am disappointed. After all, I was hoping that now I could put down my bible and my Kindle, knowing that God, and all his or her wisdom (and excellent grammar), was near at hand, right down the hall, as close as my next cup of coffee.


July 12, 2013

My Panama Park Whore

“Parkour” is supposedly  a discipline that grew out of military obstacle course training, but which has developed into a new and dangerous loose sport of free running and building jumping.  

Just check out any Youtube channel and you’ll see hyper energetic kids, such as my nearly 15 year old, engaged in  mind-boggling and dangerous Parkour.

So tonight, he and his buddy fairly burst into the restauant, breathless with excitement and news.My kid lifts up his Tee Shirt to reveal a new wound on his side exclaims:

“Mom! Look what Parkour gave me!” 

I glance down and see a not too serious rash-like thing that looks, oddly, more like a large hickey.

And of course, all my Mom ears had heard was:
“Look what that Park Whore did to me!”  

I was up on my feet faster than you can swat a fly.  

And then, all of us,  my son, his friend, the customer I’d been sitting with and I,  laughed so hard at the language confusion until we nearly cried.

But hey, just to be safe... Watch out for those Park Whores, I say.

May 24, 2013

My Panama Restaurant

Some of the very best friends I've made in my life (I have lived in the USA; The Philippines; Mexico; NZ & elsewhere), I have met and made at Big Daddy's Grill, Boquete.

They bring me joy, wisdom, ideas, hugs & sass, and on occasion, they even wipe away my tears.

When I see the "Ahhh" looks (followed by a thumbs up) on their faces after sinking their teeth into, say, a Fresh Fish Taco, my "Feeding Gene"  my starts to giggle.

May 23, 2013

My Never-Ending Panama School Saga

The ongoing saga of how to educate my expat kid in Boquete, continues. Ugh.
I try to remain fluid on this issue, but today, having now shot past five years with this dilemna, I just feel like a good whine. Or, in keeping with the "fluid" theme... a good Wine.

So much about education is driven not only by the school systems here, (mediocre at best,) which are for the most part antiquated, old school, copy-from-the-board, rigid rote learning before exams, followed by forget it all tomorrow, but also by the type of child you have.

In the best of the school,  there are classrooms that are utterly chaotic and teachers who scream at the top of their lungs. Sometimes they make the children cry.

In one of the schools we were previously involved with, I have heard credible accounts from parents and students alike of older teachers actually bullying middle school students.  And I have heard believable accounts of  teachers logging onto  Facebook during class, or being entirely absent from the classroom for hours.

For the moment, the jury is out on the newer school we are trying. I believe the have a true vision of bringing something new, more creative and expansive in the way of educatin to the Panama school system. So far, I do see improvements over issues we have experienced before, but they too suffer from some very strong challenges.  The trouble is, I'm running out of time. My kid was in 3rd grade when we arrived; now he has officially hit high school, and he has to be prepared to enter a decent University in four or five years.

God did not send me a timid girl content to sit in a corner and read for hours, or create her own fabulous journals and turn in meticulously carried out homework assignments. Nope.  God sent me a fantastic,   fidgety, fast-moving, fast-thinking, fun, fiesty and incredibly charming boy -- now a young man -- who has claimed, over a period of five years, to have nary a home work assignment. Meanwhile, the schools have claimed he has had homework nearly every single day.  Go to that math!

And still the kid gets decent grades, which causes me to wonder:   Is this ability to get by using the least amount of energy a sign of early genious? Or am I seeing glimpses of a future, slick, super smart bilingual,  border hustler.  Hmmm.

Oh! And did I mention? During one night, several months ago, someone, maybe my higher power, pressed the "Automatic Download" button and apparently a program (I'm calling it Gene14to the 10th power) streamed directly into my child's brain. In case you are not yet familiar, this is the gene that ignites, around age 14, and turns  your previously sweet, loving, considerate, fun, thoughtful boy into a suddenly a sleep-till-noon, sometimes snarky, teenager.

And still,  I love him more than air and water. What can I say?

Meantime, he is now enrolled in the 9th grade in the the newer private school which claims to have the best curriculum, and truly has a vision, (but which has mandated personal computers/laptops -- a personal hell, if I'm being honest), and which, despite a few positive changes, seems to offer little difference in teaching style and is navigating some common but difficult challenges particular to so-called bilingual education.  Many teachers are wrestling with the super struggles of having class with some fully bilingual students, but also many students  many in serious need of the most basic ESL. Other teachers are trying to manage really chaotic classrooms, leaving little time for real learning and a wake of frustration.

An easy solution for me would be to supplement at home, right? And I know families who do this and for whom it just fills in the right pieces. Alas,, not so easy with a kid who is burnt after 7 hours of sitting still-ish and now chomping at the bit to get on top of a soccer ball.  Switching to homeschooling could be a solution but, the last time I tried that, full steam, it was a month of three hours of head butting, eventually getting things done, and then my kid was ready to play with a group. Trouble is, the "group" were all at school!

Alas, I find myself, still, sitting most uncomfortably on a big fence. Which begs the question: What next?  To be continued...

October 28, 2011

Big Daddy's Grill, Boquete














Home of Boquete's Original,
Grilled Fish Taco

 
Fish so Fresh, it was swimming yesterday!

Best Hand-Crafted Margarita
Outrageously Good Buffalo Wings
A Delicious Selection of Grill Items

Double-Washed, Daily-Picked, Organic Salad
Vegetarian /Vegan Options
Gluten-Free Options


A Food-Safety Conscious Establishment
Home-Made, Fresh Local Ingredients
Prompt, Friendly Service
Outdoor Seating in our Garden Patio

PRICES:  $2 - $8.95  
(Whole, Fried Corvina at Market Price. Filet Mignon Dinner, $12.95)


CASH ONLY. No checks, no credit cards.
OPERATING HOURS:
NOON - 9 pm Tuesday- Saturday
NOON - 8 pm Sunday
CLOSED MONDAY

Questions re: Jubilado/Pensionado Restaurant Discounts? Click:  www.mypanamalife.com
    Grilled Fish Tacos
    BEST MARGARITAS IN BOQUETE!
    Mr. & Mrs. Big Daddy,  William. (Missing our Dylan.)


    Mimi's Whole Corvina w/Patacones & Slaw
    Ronni's favorite Chcken over Salad, Strawberry Dressing
    Grilled Fresh Dorado/Mani over Salad,Lemon Dressing
    Informal, festive, inside dining area.
    Filet Mignon Tacos, Monterrey Jack, Fresh Salsa Verde
      Grilled Amberjack on Hydroponic Salad

      Made with "LOVE & BUTTER" from Elizabeth's kitchen
      Fish Tacos w/Hand-Dipped Rings, Avacado-Chipotle + Fruity Pico de Gallo 
      Grilled, Blackened Tuna Filet Sandwich (L)..Cheeseburger (R) + Rings
      One-Day Special. Fresh Grilled Tuna Filet Salad atop Organic Salad
      Home-Made Citrus Ice Cream w/Fresh Strawberry Mandarin Topping
      Dayra, Jim Omer, Gisela & One 3-lb. Corvina!
      Jim, Boquete Outdoor Adventure. Numero Uno Fish Eater!
      Shrimp Tacos, Double Slaw
      "DOUBLE DOG" HAND-DIPPED CORN DOGS + BY-HAND  ONION RINGS
      Big Daddy's Grill, Boquete, purchases it's fish directly from the boats of Boca Chica, Pedregal. Never purchased frozen or pre-cut ... never farm-raised.

      Depending on the catch, varieties include:  Tuna; Snook; Amberjack; Swordfish; Dorado; Corvina; Pargo; Shrimp & more.

      Fish is served GRILLED or FRIED, as a Sandwich on a  Bakery Bun; atop a large, organic Salad, or as a Platter... with a choice of fresh sides.  We've been told by people who seek them out that our Grilled Fish Tacos are some of the tastiest! Sandwiches (Fish; Chicken Breast; Vegan) are ample & served on a bakery bun.  For something Very Panamanian, try the  Whole Fish "Entero" ...
      Our Fried Chicken is juicy and cooked to perfection! Corn Dogs & Onion Rings are hand-dipped. It's been said by many that Big Daddy's Grill has the Best Burger in town, served with a side of Pickles, LTM plus  Cole Slaw, Fries or Rice & Beans.  Our Grilled & Blackened Tuna Sandwich has become a local favorite.  Portions are ample so you never leave hungry!

      FOR THE CONSCIOUS EATER
      Whether you are Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian or just a Healthy eater, we have several options for those who don't want to sacrifice taste for freshness! Our large Salad Platters are  Organic, Hydroponic & Double-Washed & SAFE.  Home-made dressings include Strawberry or Olive-Lime. Vegetarians can fill up on Salads, Delicious Vege Tacos or our own, Home-Made, Vegan Burger.

      Citrus Ice Cream is Home-Made, just for Big Daddy's, fresh, light & topped w/Elizabeth's Strawberry Sauce. 

      Big Daddy's is known for it's hand-crafted MARGARITA prepared with our own Home Made Sour Mix & Premium Liquors, including Cointreau & Jose Cuervo Tequila!

      Dine in the peaceful setting of a Panamanian non-smoking "Patio" (a.k.a. the Secret Garden), in our casual dining room, or, for a busy street side view, out on the front porch.


      PHOTO GALLERY





      Elizabeth's Hand-Pulled Chowder, Personal Loaf Bakery Bread

      Vegan Burgers on Bakery Bun (hidden), Black Beans & Rice

      Chayote Soup w/Saffron, Lemon Grass & Secret Spices


      Chris & Lindsey on her Birthday


      WHOLE, FRIED CORVINA WITH PATACONES

      TENDER "PINKS" ATOP ORGANIC SALAD, PEACH ICED TEA


      BRENDA, MARK AND GUESTS








      Rodrigo w/our Kitchen Staff & Me. He grows all our Hydroponic Salads!
      THE SALAD GURU GIVES OUR KITCHEN A CLASS ON HYDROPONICS
      HOT STAFF, ODALYS VERONICA & BELKIS







      May 4, 2011

      My Panama Porn Dogs

      Yes, dear reader,  I said "Porn Dogs."  So send the kiddies out for ice cream. This one's for you.

      We have a small restaurant in Panama and one of our most popular menu items are our hand-dipped Corn Dogs on a stick.  We figured that since Panamanians love "meat on a stick" and also corn meal, Corn Dogs just seemed a natural way to go.

      It's fun to watch people eat a Corn Dog for the very first time. It turns out, there is more than one way to down a dog.

      Some folks will slide the whole thing off the stick and eat it daintily  with a knife and fork, the way they'd tackle, say, a chicken breast. Others cut it up into little bits or chunks.  Then there are those who turn it on its side, holding it by the stick, and nibble away, Corn-on-the-Cob style.  And the there's the X-rated way of attacking a corn dog.

      I have a regular customer who loves our "Double Dog" basket.  He's an elegant, older gentleman, but when he's in front of those two puppies, he exclaims, every time and  with each bite "Wow! Elizabeth... Tell Larry this is one good corn dog!"

      I always sit with him when he come is, partly because he's elderly and alone and I adore him. . But also because I'm afraid he's going to kill himself in the process.  Every bite he takes becomes a brain-bleeding, nerve wracking moment because of the way he eats those pups.
       .
      Rather than practice "safe" eating methods, he holds the thing by the stick and then just descends, plunges actually,  straight down on it in what I can only describe as 'deep throating the dog'... or what I now refer to fondly as eating it "Porn Dog" style.

      The visuals aside, the bigger problem is that every time he goes down on that dog,  he exposes more and more of the stick. But instead of sliding the remaining food upwards,  he just continues shoving that dog straight down his gullet, -- stick and all --  until I truly fear he is going to stab himself in the uvula.

      One day, sitting at the next table,  a gentleman, also with a Double Dog basket, called me over to say he hadn't realized the Corn Dogs had "bread" on them and he was on a low-carb diet, so could I please take them away and cut off the coating for him?  Okay people. I do aim to please my customers.  But I couldn't help notice that he was closer in age to sixty than to ten, and, wondering for a teensy weensy second if he was next going to ask me to cut up his food in pieces for him, I was tempted, just for a teensy, weensy, split  instant, to just deep throat those puppies and yank off that bread with my teeth.

      Instead, I smiled, stepped away, and happily, gently, even tenderly removed the corn meal with a knife and fork.  Very respectable.

      April 20, 2011

      My Panama Life At My Doorstep

      My Panama Life happens right outside my front door.

      The Balboa Beer Truck

      The Taylors Drive By, Christmas, 2010

      A Bird In Hand




      Band Practice, Buen Pastor School


      Miguel, the Fish Guy

      Katy in the Middle

      Graduation Day, on to Middle School!



      G' Night, Horse.

      News About The Boys

      Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

      William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

      We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

      Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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