Things I’m Reading, Listening to, Watching As Things Slow Down on Ambergris Caye + The Instant Pot

I know I’m repeating myself here but…end of August, September, October…it’s the Slow Season in Belize.  And much of the Caribbean.  It’s the stormy season – the heart of the hurricane season.  And though that DOES NOT MEAN RAIN ALL DAY, it means the chances are higher.  That you might have a rainy morning…or more likely, rain at night.  Or…a few times a month, a full rainy day.

We had two rainy days in the 2 weeks – sun most of the rest of the time.  That’s the rainy season.  (Best to keep an eye on the National Hurricane Center’s site in these months)

Heavy rain means the rain lilies bloom and things are green…it’s a pretty time of year.

It’s the time when those who visit, many in the States and Canada, are taking off their summer shorts and flip-flops and putting on their “adult pants”.  Time to head back to work and school…summer vacation is over and the weather, in general, is about to cool off.  Less vacations…more “real life”.  The HEAVY vacation planning starts with the first frost…maybe the second.

Plus, the Delta variant has put a big Delta-damper on all things – including travel planning.  (I obviously was premature when I posted my Post-COVD Bucket List in May of this year…but doesn’t hurt to plan!)

Since I haven’t done this in a while, I thought I’d make a list of the good stuff.  The great TV shows, books and podcasts I’ve enjoyed this summer.

If you see me driving with my headphones on – I’m DEFINITELY listening to a podcast.

Photos taken in the last week or so!

How to train a dragon fruit cactus (below) – trying to get it to climb the tree.

Books I’ve Loved

I’ve read 57 books so far this year – and while not quite on track to beat my 2020 Pandemic induced record of 96,

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow

History, a bit of romance, archaeology, and fantasy – this is a beautiful book.

We are All the Same in The Dark by Julia Haeberlin

Great characters, a very creepy Texas town, a surprising thriller.  Burned through this in about a day!

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

A unique boy growing up in some very grim housing projects in Scotland in the 1980s. His undying, mostly unrelinquished love for his alcoholic mother.  Shuggie will be hard to forget.

Podcasts I’ve Liked to Loved

I love news and US politics.  And I’m still a True Crime junkie which is a bit odd because I never watched the CSIs or the Unsolved Mystery shows.

If you didn’t listen to The Drop Out, it’s a great time to listen.  Her trial (did she trick investors about her billion-dollar Silicon Valley start-up Theranos or was she manipulated by an older man?) is just starting and…good grief…this woman is FASCINATING.  (My armchair therapist call?  She’s a TOTAL sociopath)

Where is George Gibney? is about the national and Olympic swimming coach of Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s who somehow avoided standing trial for 20+ rapes and assaults of minors in his programs.  Disturbing and twisted and gripping!

I listen to the NYTimes “The Daily” every day if I can – Michael Barbaro has such a soothing voice and always asks the right questions.   I love “Left RIght and Center” (for a rational look at politics from all sides) and “All the Presidents’ Lawyers” both.

I am ALWAYS open to podcast suggestions.  If you have any crime recommendations, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

TV I’ve Liked and Even Loved

The White Lotus on HBOMax

It starts with a young, attractive newly married couple, a family of four, a single woman mourning the passing of her mother, all traveling to a luxurious resort in Hawaii for a vacaton.  And then it gets just weird.

The music, the scenery, the outfits – all so fantastic.  Amazing actors.  So many characters that sparked very strong reactions in me…disgust, outrage, pity.  I’m not sure that I loved loved loved it, I was WAITING for something BIG to happen- but it was hard to look away.  An intriguing, almost hypnotizing look at some very dysfunctional folks.

Mare of Eastown on HBOMax

Kate Winslet is amazing in this series about the murder of a troubled teenaged girl in a suburban town somewhere between Philadelphia and Baltimore. A grim town where everyone seems to be related and everyone is hiding something.  This show is great.  Gripping.  I keep planning to cancel HBOMax (I was only going to order it for one month to watch The Wire! And now it’s been 5 months and…I haven’t even GOT to The Wire yet)

Hacks on HBOMax

Such a great show – about a young, cynical LA comedian who gets a job writing for an older, somewhat washed-up comedian (think Joan Rivers) who has been working the same Vegas room for decades.

Jeanne Smart as the older comedian is just amazing.

F-Boy Island on HBOMax

I can HEAR your groan but bear with me.  If you enjoy the Bachelor or Bachelorette or any of the countless knock-offs that are always being churned out – this one is actually quick-moving, relatively clever, and pretty funny.  Quick-moving is my favorite part. No one wants this sort of TV to last for hours and hours and countless commercial breaks.

Never Have I Ever on Netflix

Devi, a hot mess of an Indian-American teenager bumbles through high school in suburban LA.  So incredibly smart and funny, often cringey (it’s TOO easy to picture myself doing things similar when I was a teen) – it’s charming and quirky and I love this show.  Plus, it’s so oddly and perfectly narrated by John McEnroe.  Yes…the tennis guy.

The Bold Type on Netflix (non-USA) 

I’ve been looking for the next Sex and the City ever since the show ended in 2004.  If you haven’t watched SATC, I mean…you are nuts!  This show is NOT the next SATC but a younger, much less sophisticated version.  But it is set in NYC and it is mainly about female friendship and it is VERY watchable.

Let’s face it- there will never be a series as iconic as SATC.  Never.

One Thing That I’ve Purchased that I Just ADORE

Last year, my favorite purchase was an electric kettle – this year?  The Instant Pot.

I know that it has been “a thing” in the states for years now…but when you need to buy it on Amazon – ship it to a consolidating company that comes down to Belize once a month – and then wait for it to be shipping on the water taxi from Belize City – things take a bit longer to get down to Belize!

This is really just a new version of a very old school product – the Pressure Cooker.  But without the fears of the thing exploding on your stove and covering you and yours with 4th-degree burns – it’s easy..plug-in.  All automated.

I’ve been making pulled pork – Boston Baked Beans – hard-boiled eggs that ACTUALLY easily peel.  AND…for a place where EVERYONE cooks beans many times a week…this is a wonder.

The overnight process of washing, soaking, boiling for hours is reduced to 50 minutes?  It’s an INSTANT MIRACLE!

If you have any great recipes for it, let me know.  I ONLY want to cook in this pot.

May I also suggest to you my second favorite purchase of the year?  Old school fly swatters.  How did I exist on Ambergris Caye without these?!?!

One to match every outfit 🙂


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