Diane Sawyer, Blog # 25 September-October 2015

Diane Sawyer Portrait

Hello to all my loyal newsletter readers and welcome to my new readers (including David, a SUNY Albany friend from the past and Barry, a multi-talented artist/photographer/film maker/writer from the St. Pete area). I hope all of you enjoy this September-October 2015 edition.

Fondly,

Diane Sawyer

Writing News

Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella Murders Montauk Cave

The very latest news: Amazon has just launched my novels in India. That is great news for me. I have a Dell laptop and frequently speak to the Dell tech team, who live in India. We often chat while waiting for everything to work perfectly. Now I will share my news with them. It is truly a small world after all! As always, Amazon ’s marketing specialists continue their special promotions of my 5 novels. Hooray!
Previous news: My web site address is http://dianewsawyer.com (Note that the middle initial “w” must be included to avoid confusion with Diane Sawyer, the newscaster.)

Please visit my web site and share my enthusiasm for my friend Roy Baker and his expertise in setting up everything and including his gorgeous photo of a sunset at Lake Maggiore, near my home. The previous blog/newsletters are there. This one and the previous one will soon join them. The hardcover, paperback and e-book editions of my novels are available on Amazon and other on-line sites—and you can even get to them directly via my web site by clicking on the photo of the book cover. That Roy, my web designer, is so clever. Happy Reading!

This and That

You have my Friend-of-the-Library friend Barry to thank for the Lexophiles which follow.

Lexophile is a word that describes a person who loves words (maybe a play on words is more accurate). Here’s an example, by Barry, from my last newsletter: A dentist and a manicurist married and they fought tooth and nail.

Here are 6 more guaranteed to make you groan:

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

Another This and That

More fun stuff from my friend Barry. This time, signs he saw while traveling:

In an office:
TOILET OUT OF ORDER…PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW.

In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS.

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.

Travel

Roatan

Tucked away with my travel albums and notes was a brochure about Roatan, a port-of-call which my husband and I visited on a Caribbean cruise several years ago. Roatan, 50 km long and 2-4 km wide, is one of the Bay Islands. All of them belong to Honduras, which is located in Central America, near Guatemala and Nicaragua. Roatan is a popular destination for people who enjoy scuba, diving, and fantastic beaches.

Roatan, once a popular spot for pirates, boasts William Jackson, an English privateer, who with his crew of ne’er-do-wells captured Jamaica in the name of Great Britain. Then there was the notorious Edward “Blackbeard” Teach who frightened his adversaries with his pistols, daggers, cutlass, and his extravagantly long beard plaited into 100 tails twisted with ribbons, turned up about his ears, and lighted with slow-burning hemp! Let’s not forget the infamous British Buccaneer (Go Tampa Bay Bucs!) Henry Morgan, a formidable soldier of fortune. Speaking of fortune, in 1665, Morgan and two other pirates anchored their convoy at Roatan, where they captured 14 ships and 150,000 pesos.

Beginning in the 1960’s industrial fishing in the waters off Roatan and nearby islands became popular and profitable. A single boat could capture 10,000 pounds of lobster in 20 days. By the 1970’s a fleet of 100 shrimp boats and 50 lobster boats could each bring in about 13,000 pounds of lobster or 30,000 pounds of shrimp per voyage. Today the livelihood of the people relies more on tourism than the fishing industry. And the typical food the islanders enjoy doesn’t always come from the sea. Think beans, rice, and tortillas. The morning version is called baleada.

Close your eyes and imagine what Roatan looks like. Tropical trees and palms rising from the green hills…sandy beaches glistening in the dazzling sunlight… mangroves thriving along the shores. That environment is inviting to the whale shark (a shark, not a whale), that is over 50 feet long, and has a gray body covered with white polka-dots! Hummingbirds displaying their dazzling colors—think aqua and purple—are everywhere. Be on the lookout for green iguanas, with tails 3 times the length of their bodies. Typically this iguana reaches a length of 3-4 feet, but a brazen 6-feet long one will sometimes make an appearance! Speaking of size, the area’s largest parrot, called the Yellow Crowned Amazon, can be found only on the Bay Islands.

The history is too long to recount here, and I was going to omit it, but it’s so interesting that I decided to share a few highlights. Some of the people of Roatan, called Garifunas, a seafaring people, can trace their ancestry to the African slaves bound for the New World, who survived a shipwreck near the island of St. Vincent. Hard times, including fierce battles with the British, befell the people who were eventually deported from St. Vincent to Roatan. They intermarried with the native Carib Indians, who were immigrants from South America. As a result, the Garifunas combine the Caribbean farming and fishing traditions with South American and African spirituality, music, and dance. Today the Garifunas inhabit villages in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, and many have returned to Roatan, particularly to the village of Punta Gorda. Two samples of their speech: Buyty binafi means Hello. Aya means Goodbye.

Happy Travels!

An Interesting Experience

Let me share with you an interesting experience that happened to me recently. I needed to put air in my tires. I’ve never done this before and had no clue what to do. I went to a local gas station where there is a constant buzz of activity at the car wash. Nearby is an air machine that eats up quarters, at the rate of 1 per 4 minutes. (I came prepared with 20 quarters) I surveyed the carwash guys and approached the one who looked the strongest. I meekly asked, “Could you help me put air in my tires, and maybe give me a lesson in how to do it?” He studied me for a minute and I could sense a “no” coming my way.

So, I added details about always trying to be independent and being prepared to do this all by myself next time, etc. etc. and he said, “Okay. I’ll help you. Pull your car as close to the air hose as possible.” At this point he seemed shy, like why is this strange woman approaching me? Then he seemed to like the challenge of being singled out for this task. And so we began. He was amazing, commenting in sing-song Jamaican-English as he went. I held the hose; he flipped it over the roof of the car; I rushed to the other side, grabbed the hose, and lickety-split he finished off tires 3 and 4, making sure that each ended up with 30 pounds, showing me how to do it every step of the way (a real tutorial) and quite pleased with my questions.

Time ran out at the precise moment he finished the fourth tire. Well, I was so impressed, I asked him what his hours and days were so that I could seek him out next time, in case I forget the “how-to” part of the experience. He laughed, as I tipped him, and said, “I don’t work here. I was waiting for them to finish washing my car.” I stammered away about how I was usually culturally sensitive and hope I hadn’t offended him by assuming he worked there. He was very good-natured and recommended the car-wash service, saying it was $20 but they did a great job. I thanked him again and rode off into the sunny day on bouncy tires that brought a smile to my face all the way home. Ain’t life grand? And I say rubbish to the notion, “Don’t speak to strangers.” Heck no, it can turn out to be a wonderful experience.

Cooking Delights

Instead of a recipe, I have decided to devote this space to nutrition, specifically food choices that are good for the brain. The poignant movie “Still Alice” has stuck in my mind and sent me researching ways to fight back against this monster disease, Alzheimers. I’m almost certain that every one of you reading this knows someone, possibly a family member or friend, who has suffered with Alzheimers. Although there apparently is no cure or treatment, current wisdom is that we can try to keep the brain healthy by feeding it the proper diet. How effective is it? Nobody knows, but it might be worth a try to add several items, ideally 3-5, once a day from the following list. If you’re like many people I know, you probably already enjoy many of these items. If not, consider adding them to your diet. Here they are, in alphabetical order, compiled from several sources: avocados, beets, blueberries, broccoli, coffee, dark chocolate, fish, grapes, green tea, kale, olive oil, pomegranates, spinach, and tomatoes.

In the next newsletter, I hope to have tried out a recipe for a sweet potato cake, instead of carrot cake, a favorite for holiday meals. Bon appétit!
Fondly, Diane

@ Copyright 2015 by Diane Sawyer. All rights reserved.

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