What I see and what I read on Xmas eve do not match

I returned to the tropics for the holidays. The tropics are my home (or the Caribbean, the mid-torso region of the Equator, or whatever you’d like to call it). Since my stay was going to be short, my mom and I decided to spend some quality time together shopping…on Christmas Eve.

That was where I got anxious and confused.

There were A LOT OF people in the stores with large bags of toys, clothes, etc. The mall we went to had lots and lots of kiosks selling all kinds of merchandise. Even the Sam’s Club next to the projects was full. 

I was anxious because of the renewed fear of pick pocketing (last time my purse nearly got snatched because I wasn’t carrying it in front of me). I was confused because what I recently read did not fit with what I saw while shopping:

  • The poverty rate in Puerto Rico remained far ahead of the poorest state, Mississippi, where 22.6 percent of the population was below the poverty line in 2011.
  • The median household income in Puerto Rico fell to $18,660 last year, dropping from $19,370 in 2010, the new Census data shows.
  • The percentage of Puerto Ricans on food stamps inched up from 36.7 percent in 2010 to 37.5 percent in 2011.

Source: Caribbean Business September 2012 Article- Census: PR poverty up, income down http://caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news/census-pr-poverty-up-income-down-76580.html 

Don’t get me wrong: I am not against people going out to buy things but after running the numbers in my head (including the IVU now charged per purchase), technically the vast majority of the population do not have a lot of discretionary income for large bags of items (unless they are going to a goodwill store, which strangely enough I have not seen after living 25 years on this island). So, it brought me to the same conclusion I had for the general population that manages to make ends meet that could be viewed as paranoia but has a ring of truth to it:

45% of the population participates in the black market.

This could be the most plausible explanation (or biased-hateful explanation) on how to gap the holes on affording food and basic housing without suffering malnutrition. Seriously, there are more US restaurants popping up every year in this island than existing chains closing in the states (eating out costs more than making a meal at home regardless of how you look at it).

But why should I be anxious/paranoid/distrustful in a mall full of people shopping until they drop? Or even going about town?

Well, even my mom can sum it up better than I can:

“Sometimes I hate driving in town because I am afraid I might get hit with a stray bullet from a nearby gun fight“.

She has lived over a half a century on this island and has tracked the cause and effect changes from the current economic crisis. This uneasiness is still present in spite of avoiding ALL of the bad neighborhoods, projects, etc, while going about while running simple errands.  And there is a HUGE population of people here who live in project housing who do pack heat whom we do interact with on a daily basis. They are more than likely not members of the NRA.

Don’t take my word or my mom’s word on that:

Puerto Rico has 3.7 million residents, a storied capital, more than 300 miles of stunning coastline, an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit –and, in 2011, a homicide rate more than five times that of the mainland U.S. and higher than that of Mexico.”

Source: Bloomberg View February 2012 Article: Puerto Rico’s Drug Crime Problem Needs Federal Attention: View http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-28/puerto-rico-s-drug-crime-problem-needs-federal-government-attention-view.html

But I digress. I shouldn’t feel this way since I was spending time with family in a familiar place (the mall) and just zone out all of the crowds of people.

Maybe, just maybe it was a general bad idea to go out shopping on Xmas eve.

I love Amazon!







What if you don’t have to work?

This may have crossed our minds from time to time while we are silently cursing at our idiot coworker/boss/team mate at our desks/workstations/work vehicles etc:


middle finger

Well what if you didn’t have to work?  What if you CAN quit after you’ve reach that last tolerance limit of B.S. that was unofficially part of your job description?

It turns out that possibility CAN come true, however small the possibilities of it happening.

Before that possibility happens, a long laundry lists of cause-and-effect scenarios caused by pure luck or pure misfortune would need to occur:

-Winning the lottery

-Permanent disability caused by an accident on the job and qualifying for worker’s compensation

-Permanent disability caused by illness caused by unsafe work environment and qualifying for worker’s compensation

-Some rich drunk idiot crashes into your vehicle, causing major injuries and successfully suing him/her for damages

-Inheritance from a rich unknown relative.

And the list goes on…

But have you ever wondered beyond that first step of quitting/retiring/going out in a “blaze of glory” what WILL you do?

Sure, there will be the time and opportunity to do ALL of those things you’ve wanted to do but never had the time or money to do it. Once you’ve completed doing those things then what?

If your attention span is shorter than 5 minutes or so, you will get bored VERY FAST. There are only so many internet memes to laugh at or games to play before you have either seen them all or played them all. bored

So if such a change in your life were to occur where you can afford to NOT work and make a graceful exit out of the rat race, try to come up with a plan B:

-Volunteer work for a cause you truly believe in

-Take classes for something you really want to learn

-New hobbies

-Traveling (if you can afford it)

-Or do nothing. Its your life…




It’s over!

After much mental and physical wrangling, we’ve decided to limit our consumption of juiced fruits and vegetables to one meal a day, solid food for the rest of the day. Our biggest reason was the fact that in the long run, not eating solid food is not sustainable in the long run (not to mention expensive).

I understand that the benefits for detoxing for 30+ days are alluring (better health, better focus, weight loss, etc), but when you are consistently exposed to food, stress, etc, the idea of just eating will overpower your thoughts unless you are super-focused on what you are doing. Unfortunately that is hard to do since life is unpredictable at the very least. At the best case scenario, you can be doing a task or several tasks for and hour or two, then your mind lingers back into eating solid food.

I do not see the detox as a fad, but as a better-tasting way to get most of your vitamins and minerals. If you combine the right vegetables and fruits, you can make good drinks that taste just like a solid food meal. An example of this would be a veggie stir fry recipe we came up with:

1 bag of deluxe stir-fry vegetables

1 tbsp of coriander

1 tbsp of red pepper

1 tbsp of poppy seed

1 tbsp of ground ginger

2 tbsp of soy sauce

1/4 tbsp of Chinese Five Spice

Sesame Seeds to taste

A few Drops of Hot Sauce (optional)

2 celery stalks

Juice the celery and the bag of vegetables until the juicer fills the glass, then stir in the spices according to taste.

Note: Go easy on the carrots. The carrots juice well, but if you consume them everyday, your skin WILL turn orange.