Life Intervenes

The past year has been, well, not as planned. Between Irma and Maria, plans to attend an Irish wedding and my back issues, Our beloved Casa Anolis has only seen us once and that was back in February. Post Maria we were as involved as much as we could be from a distance, but it was our friends on both coasts had to do the dealing-with. And in recognition of that, we very much have to thank our friends Bill and George for looking out after Casa Anolis and Babe. We were very glad that they could look in on things and use whatever we had there for their survival. Fortunately we suffered no more damage than a good post-Maria bumper crop of mildew. Our complex’s position on the hillside protected us from the worst of the winds although we held our breath, fearing that a mudslide might bury the back yard. But none ever came and so we escaped intact. In fact, other than a few downed palms and and tree  limbs, Monte Sol was unscathed. Our first impulse was to catch the next available flight down, but with trees and power poles down and road wash-outs, movement about the island was severely hampered. That, plus scarce living resources made us reconsider. In the end we decided not to add to the problem of two more non-essentials using the precious resources and postponed our upcoming fall trip. Little did we know that as we kept checking back that it would not be until February before we could get down.

March, 2018, A Maria mudslide that carved away the hill from under the row of houses. Green growth now covers the mud.

Over a two week period we spent time on our side of the island and with our friends on the western side. We spent a lot of time just driving around, looking at the changes in our familiar world. Yes, trees uprooted and steel power poles ripped out of the earth tell a story, but nothing conveys the massive power of the two storms like the mudslide picture that Dean took.  The slide literally took back yards away and carved out the earth under the houses’s slabs. Yes, that very big dip in the hill, wider than those four houses is what fell away. On a closer to home example of the recovery effort, I think that the most telling personal example of how the island’s population fared post-Maria is that a friend staying with our friends in the west finally got power to his house this past March. He could not live in or repair his house for over six months. Think about that. Watching your home deteriorate for six months with your hands tied.

To the future:

We are looking past the Irish wedding later this month (2 weeks of a different type of green) and our current plans are to do a staggered stay in February/March. Dean is planning on working from there -I.T. support can be done anywhere that there is a reliable internet connection- to test out the viability of our permanent move. The good thing is that the partners of the law firm that he works for are fully on board. And if that all goes well, this coming year could see us in Casa Anolis on a more permanent basis.

 

That which is Pizza, Part 1: Can a $199 Pizza Oven Perform Like a $6,945 One?

pizza-oven
The real deal: A Napoli pizza oven in all its glory.

The Tuscan Outdoor Oven. The name says it all; Italian flag waving, huge brick ovens with delicious pies being whisked directly from under the flickering flames, still steaming and bubbling directly to the plate in front of you. But why not The Napoli Outdoor Oven?  After all, the pizza was invented in Naples-or at least its most famous one, the mozzarella, basil and tomato pie named after Queen Margherita. And the people of Napoli are nothing, if not deadly serious about their pizzas. Where else would you find a Comission, the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, which defines pizza for all the world, down to each ingredient and where they are grown, each preparation technique-what’s allowed and not allowed-its exact dimensions, etc.?  Our little oven is not so lucky to be in that league so I am sure that calling it The Napoli Outdoor Oven would have sparked an international conflict of opus proportions. Moving a bit north but staying within the Italian border we can still have some association, so The Tuscan Outdoor Oven, our $199 wonder it is-even if Tuscany is more famous for other things. Continue reading “That which is Pizza, Part 1: Can a $199 Pizza Oven Perform Like a $6,945 One?”