Friday, July 31, 2009
WHO IS YOUR INSPIRATION???
Try it without looking at the answers...... Please don't look down until you do it
1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9
2) Multiply by 3 then
3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3
4) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number
5) Add the digits together
Now scroll down...
Now with that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:
2. Nelson Mandela
3. John Wayne
4. Helen Keller
5. Bill Gates
7. George Clooney
9. Merida Mikey
10. Abraham Lincoln
I know....I just have that effect on people....one day you, too, can be like me.... :-)
P.S. Stop picking different numbers. I am your idol, just deal with it!
Now, have some fun of your own with this. Here's all you need do. Copy the text of this blog post, and then paste it to the body of an e-mail. Erase my name and substitute your name. Send it to family, friends and foe alike! (Family and friends will be amused and "foe" will be distraught at the mere thought of it!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Do you know what makes a chili pepper hot?? It’s a chemical compound called capsaicin. This name comes from the scientific classification of the pepper plant which belongs to the genus Capsicum.
In 1912, while working at the Parke Davis Pharmaceutical Company, Wilbur Scoville developed a testing method to measure the heat of chili peppers. As originally devised, a solution of the pepper extract was diluted in sugar water until the 'heat' was no longer detectable to a panel of (usually five) tasters. The degree of dilution gives its measure on the Scoville Scale. Today, however, more scientific testing methods prevail but still use the Scoville Scale.
Up until recently, and from personal "stimulating" experience, I thought that the hottest of all chilies was the habanero. Not so according to researchers using the Scoville Scale! The habanero registers a whopping 100,000 – 350,000 "fart-fire" units on the Scoville Scale. However, the Red Savina (habanero) measures an incredible 450,000 – 580,000 "three-alarm-fire" units! That, in my book, qualifies for “hell-hot”! But, break out the fire extinguisher, call in the Reserves, because the Naga Jolokia measures an unbelievable 855,000 – 1,050,000 units! After eating a habanero, I just cannot imagine how hot this chili pepper would be. And this truly hell-hot delicacy is in the Guiness Book of World Records! Compare that to the lowly, wimpy (but still delicious), sweet bell pepper that has absolutely no, zero, nada, capsaicin, and measures a paltry “0” on the Scoville Scale.
Yucatecans, and Mexicans in general, have a love affair with their chili peppers! I confess that I, too, have fallen in love. For me, it was definitely an acquired taste, but chilies absolutely add lots of flavor, fun, and fire to food! But, most importantly, chilies are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Did you know that chilies:
Fight Migraine Headaches and Sinus Headaches
Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion
Help Lower High Blood Pressure
Can Help You Burn Fat and Lose Weight
Help Soothe Intestinal Diseases
Help Protect Your Heart
Have Loads of Vitamin C
Can Warm Your Feet
Note from Merida Mikey: For additional information on health benefits of chilies, go to: www.chilipeppermadness.com
Not only do I enjoy eating chilies, I enjoy collecting them! All kinds, shapes, sizes, and colors! My kitchen looks like a chili pepper parlor and I am always on the lookout for an addition to my collection. I even have chili pepper dishes, bowls, glasses, stirrers, canapé picks, salt and pepper shakers, paper towel racks, trivets, serving platters, salsa dishes, and spoon rests as well as assorted napkins and napkin holders, table cloths with matching napkins, bibs, and many decorative items. And I’m always on the lookout for more, more, more!
If you haven’t been eating and enjoying the spicy, savory flavor of chilies, it is not too late to start! You have plenty of time to catch up! Remember, most chilies have more Vitamin "C" than an orange! So go ahead, indulge yourself! Turn up the heat a bit - eat some chilies! Isn't it about time you added some spicy years to your life, and some spicy life to your years?!?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
If you are driving in Merida, or almost any other part of Mexico, you must always be keenly aware of pedestrian traffic that jumps out at you from absolutely nowhere and everywhere. And then there's the “intersection people” who want to wash your windows, sell you flowers, roses, newspapers, books, magazines, CDs, telephone cards, toys, maps, candy, fruits, veggies, soft drinks, food, coconut flavored water, etc., and so on. Then there's other intersection people dressed in freshly starched white uniforms of sorts with small tin cans with pictures of The Virgin who collect money for God only knows what, the poor folks who are looking for a handout of a few pesos (and I always oblige and urge you to do so also), the folks that hand out fliers that you have absolutely no use for but take one just to be polite, and the jugglers dressed in clown outfits when it's 110°F in the shade hoping for a few pesos for their performance before the light turns green. But let us not forget to watch out for the commuters on skateboards, bicycles, tricycles (both manual and motorized), horse drawn buggies, mule drawn carts, mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, assorted other two-wheeled vehicles, collectivos/combies, buses, taxi cabs, trucks and the occasional fellow on horseback! I’m really hard-pressed to identify the worst of the worst.
It is obvious that stop signs and traffic lights are considered by many as nothing more than mere annoying suggestions. Yield/merge signs are shaped like pieces of pizza to remind folks to eat, not yield or merge. Speed bumps can be fun to navigate! A solid yellow stripe down the center of a roadway is strictly for decorative purposes only, and posted speed limits are there to be ignored and exceeded. Left or right turn lanes are a complete waste of time and money and never utilized, and the shoulder of the road, right or left, is reserved for passing. And, if you're not talking on your cell phone, you just aren’t driving. Turn signals are a worthless accessory put on vehicles that serve no useful purpose and are seldom, if ever, used. But when they are, don’t believe a word of it! All two lane streets are easily converted into three and even four lane highways and speedways with wanton disregard for any foreseeable consequence. It is absolutely acceptable to turn left from the far right hand lane and turn right from the far left hand lane, or any other lane you happen to be in. And, of course, it isn’t necessary to use turn signals or hand signals while doing so because no one would believe you anyway. Be mindful of the guy who is stopped anywhere he so chooses and has his emergency flashers on. This could mean almost anything that you could imagine, and then some.
And where are the police you may ask? Sometimes you'll find them at a taco stand having a few snacks and a few Cokes. When not doing that, they are patrolling the highways and byways with their red and blue lights flashing, almost always in the far right hand lane going slow enough to cause major traffic jams and assorted problems and even accidents, just biding their time until their shift is over. With their flashing disco lights of red and blue, they certainly aren't trying to be inconspicuous or sneak up on anyone! In my 14 years in Merida, I have seen only a handful of traffic citations being issued, but have witnessed thousands of infractions that would require a court date and probable jail time in most other countries. The police here are very understanding and tolerant until they stop you! The Government is definitely missing out on a great source of revenue by not issuing more traffic citations. And yes, if you are caught doing a no-no, you can still pay your “probable” fine to the nice policeman who is giving you a hard time. "Mordida" is alive and well and living in the Yucatan.
The moral of this little story? If you plan on driving in Merida, or any part of Mexico for that matter, be sure to drive aggressively defensive! Keep your seat belts fastened and your insurance premiums up-to-date. You’ll be a survivor.
That being said, I have to go out now and drive around and do some errands. Wish me luck!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
My doctor wanted me to walk at least 30 minutes every day to help with my diet (perpetual) and for general health reasons. I chose to walk at the sports compound not too far from my home in Centro called Deportivo Salvador Alvarado. This great sports complex was founded February 1, 1939; almost 70 years ago! Wow! And it is still going strong and looking good! I hope that when I’m 70 people will say the same about me!
There are organized activities such as water polo, volleyball, basketball tournaments, and the like, and I even know one woman who goes there for salsa (dancing, not cooking) lessons! There are ample places to walk, jog, run, play tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, racquetball, handball, track and field activities, weight rooms, exercise equipment, rest rooms, showers, you name it. The list is quite long and I’m sure I forgot something! Oh, and yes – there is an Olympic sized swimming pool, too!
There is a nominal fee for some organized activities, but otherwise everything is free of charge thanks to the Government of the State of Yucatan. My hat is off to them as they are doing a great job in this area. They also provide a grounds crew on premises that keeps the place immaculately clean.
The photos below were taken on a Sunday afternoon between 12:00 and 1:00. The compound was all but deserted because of the hell-hot noon day sun. I walk there every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 AM, and the place is full! I figure it is best to go early to beat the heat so the heat doesn’t beat you! There are lots of folks who think just like me. The facility is open from 6 AM to 11 PM, so you have a large window in which to participate in your favorite activity and stay fit!
You have a choice of which type of track you prefer to walk on. One is paved with asphalt, the other is compacted sand and finely ground stones (of sorts). For me, the latter provides an easier, lower impact surface on which to walk and is lined with mature trees and bushes that provide welcomed shade at any time of day.
There is a great track and field area if that's your thing!
Racquetball and handball courts fill up early in the morning but are deserted at high noon.
There's lots of outdoor gym equipment and even a small weight room to enjoy.
I'm not a basketball player nor an aficionado, but I saw no potential NBA talent on the courts, but I have witnessed lots of people having lots of fun shooting hoops!
Tennis anyone?? There's ample lighting for nightime enjoyment and exercise.
And when you're done with your favorite activities, how about a nice cool dip in an olympic sized swimming pool? There are two diving boards. The type you have to climb up to - no thanks!
And here's a picture of Mikey's favorite sporting activity. What you do is, find a nice comfortable area to plop in while watching your favorite sports activity, and you perform a good brisk sit!
If you're in Merida or come here for a visit and decide to take an early morning walk around the track, be sure to say hello as you pass me by! And again, thanks to the Mexican Government for providing and maintaining this great sports complex. It is appreciated by all who use it.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Birth name: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Born: 30 March 1746 (1746-03-30)
Monday, July 13, 2009
Having never been to an “all-inclusive” resort before, I had concerns about organized activities, eating at allotted times, wanting to leave the premises if I got bored, this sort of thing. I’m a wanderer and pretty much of a free spirit when I travel and don’t like keeping to a precise schedule. All my concerns went by the wayside at the Blue Bay Hotel and Resort.
By accident, I found a special offer from Travel Club Mexico here in Merida. They were offering 3 days and 2 nights at the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda 5 star resort for only 3,674 pesos for two people, or the approximate equivalent of $277 US Dollars. Broken down, that’s less than $140 US per person (for everything). This incredible offer included round-trip transportation from Merida to the Blue Bay, via chartered, air conditioned bus equipped with a bathroom facility, movies, clean seats, and friendly atmosphere all around!
The Blue Bay is truly a 5 star resort in every sense of the word. Built in 2006, the facility is absolutely huge. There are almost 1,000 rooms, 6 restaurants and more beautiful oceanfront beach than I cared to walk! The rooms were exceptionally well-appointed, right down to small refrigerators stocked with sodas and beer.
The facility boasts 6 restaurants, each with fantastic cuisine. I could do a whole separate blog just on the fantastic spreads alone, but let it suffice to say the food was fit for a king. All first-class, all well prepared and presented in immaculate surroundings by a staff that just wouldn’t stop smiling! Yours for the taking: lobster, prawns, shrimps, calamari, filet mignon, steaks, chops, Italian, Mexican, French, Chinese, Sea Food, Steak House, and snack bars! Of course, it was all-u-can-eat at the buffets and more than ample portions for those restaurants you need reservations for. There are several bars located throughout the complex and all-u-can-drink is the word for the day! And, top shelf, too! The beer was limited to Dos Equis on draft – wow, what a terrible fate! But hey, I'm tough and can rough it when I have to.
There are nightly shows (free) to enjoy, also. I saw a Michael Jackson impersonator who was excellent, and a very lively, colorful Mexican dance troupe. There are side trips available for an extra charge as well as a luxurious spa and after-hours room service, all for an additional charge. Telephone charges, medical services, PPV TV services, laundry, and car rentals are also extra. (All things you can certainly live without for a few days!)
If you need a weekend get-away, do yourself a favor and try this before the special offers vanish. Take advantage of the economic woes of the US and Mexico (due partially to the Swine Flu scare), and enjoy yourself to no end! You’re worth it!
Travel tips from Merida Mikey: Wear comfortable shoes and sandals, bring plenty of beach clothing, sun screen and the like. As soon as you check in, next check with the Concierge and book your evening meals at the restaurant(s) of your choice. Gentlemen, be sure to bring a long pair of trousers as this is required dress for the evening meals in the restaurants that require reservations. Also, book shows early as they fill up fast. There are plenty of opportunities for side trips to some local water parks and the like and these can also be booked as you are checking in. Honestly, this is a fantastic deal and if you think you need to get away for a weekend, book it!
Go to: http://www.bluebayresorts.com/
Travel Agent in Merida: Travel Club Mexico (999) 987-1850
Just to give you an idea, check out some of these pictures:
The facility is huge and a well-tuned staff keeps the premises absolutely immaculate!
The beach is a sight to behold!
Some rooms even have private pools!
There are plenty of small shops on premises where you can pick up T-shirts and trinkets!
You can always hitch a ride morning, noon, or night!
The shows were quite entertaining and very colorful!
Merida Mikey Imbibes! (Probably just a diet Coke.)
All this, and more, for about the equivalent of $277.00 US for two people, for three days and two nights including transportation from Merida at an all inclusive 5 star resort. Can you afford NOT to go!?!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Salt is a mineral that our bodies require to maintain fluid balance and helps regulate blood and blood pressure, transmits nerve impulses, and helps muscle functions, including the heart, to contract and relax. Too much salt in your system can cause multiple health risks; too little, can cause metabolic imbalance and a host of other unwanted symptoms. Current government guidelines recommend less than 2,300 mg of sodium (about one teaspoon of salt) per day for those over the age of 2 years.
The history of salt is an interesting read and dates back to the beginnings of recorded history, including biblical references. In ancient times, salt was a commodity valued higher than gold! Today, salt is one of the least expensive items on your grocery list and is readily available absolutely everywhere and in a multitude of varieties..
The saltshaker - each home has at least one or more saltshakers in use. If you live in the Yucatan Peninsula or another area where the humidity is high, more than likely you have annoying problems with your saltshakers. The humidity dampens the salt and it, in turn, clogs the holes in the saltshaker. Sound familiar? When you go to use it, the salt just doesn’t come out, so you shake harder and harder, bang the shaker on the table to loosen up the salt inside, use a toothpick to poke the holes in the shaker, and keep shaking away in vain. I always found that frustrating.
I moved to Florida (humidity heaven) in 1966 and stayed put there until 1995. I found it odd that most restaurants had rice in their saltshakers! I thought how in the heck can you confuse the rice with the salt, and visa versa? I soon learned that the rice in the saltshaker was to help keep the salt loose and free-flowing! Great idea and it works! (Many restaurants also put a cracker in their sugar containers for the same reason. That little trick also works.)
Here in Merida, where heat and humidity was invented, we suffer with both and have to take extra precautions. I use rice in my salt shakers, but have also found another way to help keep the salt free-flowing. I found salt and pepper shakers with spring loaded lids! What a great find! I bought them at a kitchen gadget store in Florida, but haven’t seen them down here. If you get frustrated when the salt glops up and doesn’t flow freely from the shaker, I highly recommend using rice in the shaker (about 10 – 15 grains for normal size shaker, more for larger ones), and these wonderful shakers with spring loaded lids. They cost about $6.00 US, but are worth their weight in gold.
This may solve the dilemma of the clogged saltshaker and make retired life even a bit more relaxing than it already is! So, next time friend or family comes for a visit, you may want to request they bring you a pair of salt and pepper shakers. With lids, of course!
Friday, July 3, 2009
I must confess that I did not write this article, only copied it. I give full credit to, and thank, Huddler’s Green Home Community. Ironically, I was recently discussing some of these very same tips with some friends and we were in mutual agreement that they work, and work well! So, thank you Huddler’s for compiling such a great tip list. I feel it is definitely worth passing it on to those of you who may not have seen it before.
Trust me when I tell you that I have used several of the methods described below, and they really do work. Best of all, they are nontoxic and green house friendly.
Try some of these tips to rid yourself of those pesky little critters that interrupt our siestas and retired life!
Cheap and nontoxic ways to get rid of bugs
By Huddler's Green Home Community
Summer is the time for picnics, going to the beach, and barbecues. Unfortunately, it's also the time for indoor pests. Commercial pest control is full of nasty chemicals, even though there are natural ways to fight off many pests. Here are some ideas for ridding your home of creepy crawlies, without needing a hazmat suit (and of course, saving you some money).
Remember: The number one rule to keeping many bugs out is keeping the house clean. So don't let your dirty dishes pile up, make sure to sweep and vacuum, etc. Prevent any need for nontoxic pest control by using nontoxic household cleaners or even make your own homemade cleaners.
Vinegar can be used to destroy ant trails. Without clear trails, the ants will get confused and may stay outside for a while. You can use it diluted with water or straight. And, of course, vinegar is also a great household homemade cleaner, so not only do you get rid of the ants, you get some cleaning done too.
Cinnamon and black pepper are both increasingly being used in garden and indoor insect control. You can try dusting the outdoor nests with either of these spices. Cinnamon is more beneficial as a natural barrier to stop them from coming in -- it's most effective when you find the source of where the ants are coming in.
Add borax to sugar. Many people believe that you should use a 50-50 concentration, however, ultimately the goal is to have the ants bring borax back to their nests. Starting with a lower concentration such as 5% or 10% borax to sugar and gradually increasing it to 40%-50% will allow the ants to have more time to bring more back. The mixture should be placed where you see the ants or on the ant trails.
Baby powder or talcum powder is not appreciated by these bugs. The theory is if you dust the ants and the trail, they’ll stop coming.
Liquid soap diluted with water is an easy way to wipe out your pests while not harming your people. When used outside as a spray, you'll want to dilute the soap, roughly 1 or 2 tablespoons per quart of water -- to kill the pests but not your plants.
Mikey adds: If you do this on a regular basis you will have NO bugs on your plants. I've done it for years, and it works.
Bay leaves, cloves, and cayenne pepper have long been used for ant control. Try putting one of these at their entry point, and in drawers, shelves, etc., where the ants are going, to prevent them from coming in.
Mikey adds: I learned this trick from my mom. She had Bay Leaves in every cupboard, under every piece of furniture, in every corner, you name it! She never had bugs, including those absolutely disgusting cockroaches. This really works well!
Peppermint can be sprayed around your home's perimeter and at ant entry points. This will deter them from coming inside.
Mikey adds: Peppermint is also great for deterring rodents! They hate the smell of mint!
Clean up any ripe fruit droppings and take out the trash (or if you are a green superstar, your compost!) nightly for a few days -- fruit flies lay their eggs in overripe fruit.
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural way to get rid of fruit flies. Pour some into a glass, and place a paper funnel over the container. Fruit flies love the smell and will fly into the glass, but will not find their way back out the funnel (for 4 of 5 fruit flies...).
Leave a glass of cheap wine (apparently, fruit flies particularly like chardonnay) out. Mix a bit of detergent in it. The flies will sip on it and die shortly thereafter.
Mikey adds: This happened to me once! Obviously, I didn't die though!!
Make your own fly paper by boiling water, sugar, and corn syrup together. Spread the mixture on brown paper grocery bags and wait for the flies to stick.
Mikey adds: This sounds messy. It is probably easier to go to the store and buy fly paper.
Suck up flies through the back of an old hair dryer. The flies will go in the hot back end of the dryer and fry.
Mikey adds: Sadistic!!!!!
Basil deters fruit flies. Mix some basil oil with water and spray your kitchen.
Make a trap from an old soda bottle to catch wasps. Using a 2-liter soda bottle, cut off the top 1/3 of the way down. Flip the top so that the bottle neck is facing down into the rest of the bottle. Tape or staple the bottle neck to the outside of the bottom piece so that it fits tight. Fill the bottle part way with soda or fruit juice. You could even line the top of the bottle with jam to help attract the wasps. Wasps will enter the bottle but will not be able to get out. Clean and refill the trap daily or as needed.
Remove the nest. If you find a hanging nest, wait until the wasps are less active (namely, at night). Carefully approach the nest. Put a cloth or plastic trash bag entirely over the next and quickly tie it off at the top. Remove the nest from wherever it is hanging, then submerge the bag under water and weigh it down with a rock.
Slugs can be a huge pest in any garden. They're fond of eating plants, shrubs, and mosses, much to any gardener's chagrin.
Fill small bowls with stale beer and place the bowls strategically in areas of the garden where the slugs are most active. Slugs apparently like stale beer, so they climb in to drink and they meet their maker (they drown in the liquid).
Mikey adds: This is a tough one because beer doesn't hang around long enough in my house to go stale!
Other eco-friendly slug-fighting tactics include liquids that work similarly such as grape juice or a tea made from yeast, honey, and water.
I hope you try some of these tips to rid your premises of those pesky little critters. If all else fails, buy a can of Raid!