Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let there be peace on Earth tonight

To everyone who stops by this little tropical corner of the blogosphere, a very merry and blessed Christmas 2009 and may all your fondest dreams and hopes come through in the coming year. Let there be peace on Earth tonight and let it begin with me. Sing along by clicking on the link below.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"This is Not Goodbye, Just So Long"

Dear blogging buddies,

The title of my blog post is lifted from my favorite tv show on the USA network 'Monk'. Although I still don't have cable at home, we catch Monk on one of our local television stations. I have been following the Monk series for awhile as it airs consistently on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. local time here in the tropics. Today was the final curtain call for the cast of Monk (2002-2009) as the show ended on an upbeat note with Monk being reunited with the long lost (hithertho unknown) daughter of his dead wife, Trudy and Monk finally solving the murder of his wife. Oh well, so long Adrian Monk, not goodbye as I hope to see your alter ego (Tony Shalhoub) reincarnated very soon elsewhere.

For those who are keeping a watchful eye on the ever pressing issue of global warming, it came to my attention today that the ex-Beatle, Paul McCartney, has teamed up with Yoko Ono, to promote the Meatfree Monday campaign. The idea behind this latest campaign is to lower greenhouse gas emissions which result from the ever growing beef industry. So how do you feel about this famous duo asking you to give up meat on Mondays? A recent study by Newsweek showed that those who ate large amounts of red and processed meats (steak, cold cuts, bacon, sausage) have an increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease. So that means that choosing a salad over a steak could reduce this risk considerably.

I know, I know! I promised a review of "New Moon". Unfortunately, the teenage reviewer is knee-deep in end-of-term exams and homework assignments. So here is a clip full of comments from the casts of New Moon to keep you in the loop whilst we await the return of my teenage reviewer to this blog with her own comments and review.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Twilight Saga

This week, I am taking a break and giving my blog over to a guest host who will be filling you in on the latest craze to hit the teenage world (anyone between 11 yrs - 18 yrs) and for those who are young-at-heart.

Joanne will be giving us her input on the Twilight Saga which has impacted so many people, especially with this week's release of the sequel movie NEW MOON. So sit back, relax and hope you enjoy this teenage blogger's insight into the world of romantic vampire novelist, Stephenie Meyers.


Halloo Everyone, 'Tis I, Joanne! Just here to give everyone some information about the Twilight Saga craze. The picture above has the names of the four twilight series books in order from the first release to the last - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

The first book to begin this saga is called Twilight and this book has been made into a movie (also called Twilight). The main characters of the novel are Isabella Swan (called Bella) and Edward Cullen. In Twilight, we view things through Bella's eyes as she moves away from Florida (where she lived with her mother) to a rainy downcast town called Forks (where she lives with her father Charlie, a police sheriff person). She meets new friends at her school, Forks High School and there she catches her first glimpse of the Cullens, a group of vampires who live inconspicuously in Forks.

The Cullens are all "pale and beautiful" (according to the book) and she immediately notices a "bronze haired boy" whom we are informed is Edward Cullen. She develops some degree of fascination with him, but he rejects her in the first class they have together. He moves away from her and puts his hand over his nose, as if he smelt something bad. Later we find out that he was attempting not to smell her blood and attack her. The Cullens are peculiar vampires for they only drink animal blood, not human blood. This rule which they have made for themselves saves Bella and also allows the Cullens to live amongst humans without being detected. She ends up encountering Edward several times at school. He ends up saving her from a speeding car coming towards her by running with lightening speed and stopping the car with his bare hands. Bella here concludes that he is not human and spends about two to three chapters of the novel wondering what he is.

After internet research, Bella concludes that Edward must be a vampire and he later admits to it. He also admits to loving her and to watching her sleep in her room at night. They start going out and this is noticed by the entire school body. Later they go off to play baseball with the other vampires Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, Carlisle and Esme. They are approached by vampires who feed on human blood and the Cullens protect Bella (the only human present) from the invading vampires. One of the invading vampires, James, decides to kill Bella and after a long chase the Cullens slay James to protect Bella.

Edward realizes that he is immortal whilst Bella is not. He then decides that he will devote his life to protecting and loving Bella. Bella is seriously hurt during James' attempt to kill her; however, she recovers enough to attend her senior prom with Edward as her date. They waltz clumsily together, all the whilst unaware that they are being watched closely by arch enemy, Victoria, who is/was the mate of slain vampire, James. Victoria plans her revenge to kill Bella as they had killed James and so the book ends.

Long story really. But hey, its a novel. And that's as briefly as I can put it. The story was a success. I loved it. And no summary I give will ever do the masterpiece any justice. I suggest you read it for yourself! You can also see the movie, which goes along with the story line for the most part. It stars american actress Kristen Stewart as Bella and english actor, Robert Pattinson as Edward.

Although many readers were disappointed with the just wasn't as good as the book. Especially with the initial appearance of actor, Taylor Lautner, who stars as Jacob Black, a shapeshifter who is able to transform into a werewolf. However, this is not more the case as Jacob as developed into a hunky and sexy character in the sequel, New Moon. See below picture as proof of this!

Anyhoo, I've said all this about the Twilight book was to help you understand what New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, is all about. For those of you who don't already know, the film version of New Moon will premiere in American movie theaters on November 20th. I will be back here on Belizegial's blog sometime next week to review both the New Moon book and movie.

Please let us know what you thought of the book and the movie and whether my little review has helped you in your quest to know more about romantic vampires. lol

Monday, November 09, 2009

Two steps Away

Good mawnin everyone!

Just taking a cup o coffee and seeing what y'all are up to. If anyone out there has tips on how to upload a youtube video to blogger, please contact me to provide some assistance. I'm a technical geek and with no assistance could end up in the twilight zone. Josie, I'm talking to you.

Anywhoo, hope you are going to have a wonderful and eventful week ahead in your little part of the world.

Please keep in mind the words of the great diva, Ms. Patti Labelle, that we're two steps away from being kind people, two steps away from respecting each other, from listening to each other, two steps away from loneliness, from happiness, two steps away from extending an act of charity to each other, two steps away from being complete.

I swear it is the most beautiful song and I really wanted to share with you. However, blogger and you tube did not want to cooperate.

Take care and thanks ever so kindly for dropping in here.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Belizegial Health Tip


This is very interesting information recently sent to me by a friend.
So I'm passing it along to everyone who visits this little tropical
corner of the blogosphere.

The Soursop Fruit

The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a

miraculous natural cancer cell killer.

10,000 times stronger than Chemo.

So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by
letting him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself
as prevention from time to time.

The taste is not bad after all. It's completely natural and
definitely has no side effects. If you have the space, plant
a sour sop tree in your garden. The other parts of the tree
are also useful.

The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

A healthy good morning from the tropics!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I wanna be this lady when I grow up

Hi there, just dropping in on my day off to see how everyone is doing.

If you google the CNN report that Chris Welch did today on the feisty 80-year old whose main purpose in life is to fly kites, then you'll know which lady I am referring to. She is a jet-setter who travels all over the continent to fly her kites. Back at home, she teaches a group of young students on the art of making kites and flying them. I can't think of a better way to make a living at that age, can you?

Nevertheless, since the economic recession is on everyone's mind, I thought you may like to peek in on this article which is the work of financial guru, Suze Orman. Here is what she wrote on 9 small money steps that pay off big:

When it comes to your money, Suze says 'start with small steps'
•Cut spending that falls under "wants" and not "need," put that cash into savings
•Not putting enough into company 401(k) to get match is throwing money away
•Pay off your mortgage 5 years faster by making 13 payments a year

You can take baby steps to get yourself on path to financial security. Stop focusing on the big picture. Given what is going on in the world right now, you'll only fuel your fear and anxiety. Here are a list of small moves that yield big dividends:

1. Save a bit at a time - Create an eight-month emergency savings fund, or have money saved for a home down payment, or pay off your credit card balance.

What Suze is telling you is to move toward your goals in steps. Rather than get lost in the big picture -- "Eight months? Are you crazy, Suze? I can never do that!" -- focus on what is within your power: the sums you can sock away every week or month to get closer to what you're trying to achieve.

Put $50 a week into a bank savings account earning 2 percent interest, and in three years you will have saved more than $8,000.

2. Have a little self-discipline!

Okay, so where do you find the money to put toward your financial goals? If you're dealing with a layoff or furlough, I know you feel stretched to the limit. But often when families tell Suze they have no money for their goals, she looks at their spending and find lots of "wants" to cut.

So pull out your three most recent bank and credit card statements, circle every charge or debit that is not a necessity, and ask yourself, "Can I eliminate this cost entirely?"

If not, can you scale it back 30 to 50 percent (downgrade the cable, say, or opt for the less-pricey cell package)? Every time you cut expenses, you can put the money toward bigger goals.

3. Automate

So many financial dreams are thwarted by the failure to act upon good intentions. Even if you commit to step 2 and free up money, using it wisely can be a challenge.

Complete this sentence: I had every intention of ___________, but I got sidetracked or couldn't stick with my plan. That blank could be: (a) building an eight-month emergency fund; (b) investing in Roth IRA; (c) saving for a home down payment; (d) paying every bill on time; (e) all of the above.

The solution is easy: Put your financial life on autopilot as a form of "forced" saving. Your 401(k) is a great example of auto-investing; with every paycheck, money goes into your retirement account. You can set up the same system at a discount brokerage or fund company to help you invest in an IRA, authorizing the firm to pull money out of your bank account weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Autopilot is also a great way to save for a home down payment. Have $100 automatically transferred from your checking account to a bank savings account each month and in five years at 2 percent interest you could have more than $6,300 set aside. An FHA-insured mortgage requires a 3.5 percent down payment, so $6,300 would be enough to buy a $180,000 home.

And if you suffer from late-payment-itis, set up auto bill pay through an online bank account. This will save you those $39 late fees on credit card payments and lift your FICO score (on-time payment history accounts for 35 percent of your score). How to avoid hidden fees

4. Max out on the company match

In a 2008 survey of nearly a million 401(k) participants, the investment advisory firm Financial Engines found that 33 percent don't contribute enough to their company plan to collect the maximum employer matching contribution. That's literally turning down free money.

The way a match works is that if you contribute to your retirement account, your employer will throw in some money, too. One common system is for an employer to give 50 cents for every dollar the employee contributes to her 401(k), up to a specified limit, such as 6 percent of a salary or a certain dollar amount per year.

Under those terms, if the employee contributed $3,000, the employer would kick in another $1,500. Hello! That's a guaranteed 50 percent return on your investment. And $3,000 spread out over 26 pay periods is only $115 every two weeks. That's a small step toward a big goal.

If your company doesn't provide a match -- or has opted to suspend its match during the recession -- you may still qualify for a Roth IRA. Suze recommends that you fund the IRA completely before you contribute to an unmatched 401(k). Without the match, a 401(k) is still a good deal, but a Roth IRA is even better. Details follow in the next small step.

5. Invest in a Roth IRA

Suze loves to recommend the Roth IRA because Tax-free income in retirement is a truly great deal. That's because income tax rates are likely to rise given all the big federal deficits that will need to be repaid. (And remember: Withdrawals from a traditional IRA or 401(k) will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.)

If you have modified adjusted gross income (AGI) below $105,000 this year ($166,000 for married couples filing a joint return), you can invest the maximum $5,000 in an IRA (or $6,000 if you are 50 or older). Above those income limits, you can make smaller contributions; you lose eligibility if you have a modified AGI of $120,000 or more, or are part of a married couple with a modified AGI of $176,000 or above. 5 tips for mixing money and love

I know $5,000 or $6,000 is a big deal. And I promised small steps. So break that $5,000 into 12 monthly chunks. Does $416 sound more doable? If it's still too much, save what you can. No rule says it has to be $5,000. You can invest as little as $600 a year at some fund companies through an auto-investing plan, or save until you meet the $1,000 to $1,500 minimum initial investment most mutual funds require.

6. Subtract your age from 100; Put that much in stocks
Now we need to talk about asset allocation. For all your long-term investments, such as retirement accounts that you won't touch for at least ten years, you need a mix of stocks and bonds.

Stocks offer the best shot at inflation-beating gains. But stocks don't always go up. That's where bonds come into play: They have less upside potential, but they also do not pack the same risk.

So what's your Midas mix of stocks and bonds? Subtract your age from 100 and invest that percentage of your retirement savings in stocks. The rest belongs in bonds.

For the stock portion, put 70 percent in U.S. stocks and the rest in international funds.

As for the bonds: You should definitely have some lower-risk investments in your 401(k), but rather than invest in a bond fund, look for a GIC or Stable Value fund, which offers a guaranteed return.

For your IRA accounts, Suze is all for recommending that you own individual bonds which you can hold to maturity instead of bond funds, which are subject to trading and carry more risk.

7. Spend $50 a month for peace of mind

That's about what it would cost a healthy 40-year-old woman to buy a million-dollar 20-year level term life insurance policy; figure on less if you're younger and more if you're older. But the idea is this: A small amount of money buys your family protection if you die prematurely. You can shop for term policies at and

8. Create the four most loving documents in existence

One of the most tragic disconnects Suze sees is when someone tells her that they love their family to pieces but haven't set up these four must-have documents: a revocable living trust, a will, a durable power of attorney for finances, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare. I realize these don't sound like a "small" undertaking, since estate lawyers may charge $2,500 to create them.

9. Add a 13th mortgage payment; pay off your loan five years faster

If you're in your 50s and plan to live in your current home forever, try to pay off the mortgage before you stop working so you remove that big cost from your postretirement expenses. One way to do so is to make one extra mortgage payment a year. You can even spread the payment over 12 months.

Let's say you have a $1,500 monthly mortgage payment and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. If you divide $1,500 by 12, that's $125, so instead of paying $1,500, you send in $1,625 each month. That will cut your repayment time by five years and reduce your interest payments over the life of the loan; for a $250,000 mortgage charging 6 percent, you will save $61,000 ($228,000 in interest payments versus $289,000). That $125 a month may be tough, but it's doable. It's one small step now, and one giant leap toward future financial security.

Let me know how y'all are doing by dropping me a note here.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Summer's over, it's back to the grind!

Brown Pelican
Summer went too quickly this time. I'm still not quite ready for the rush and flurry of school and all that goes with that. However, it's going to be a good school year as daughter #1 is now a senior and she is on top of the world about this. lol I hope y'all are doing okay and in good health. The weather in the tropics is a bit hot to say the least. Nevertheless, there is always the caribbean sea to go cool off in. So kick off your sandals whereever you are and stay cool.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Little of Alice


I feel a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. I've been up to all sorts of things much of which have kept me productively occupied yet quite a bit unfulfilled.

Keeping it real, it's been a necessary hiatus away from the blogging circuit and much has been accomplished out here in the real world during my time away. I've been spending time, as well, listening to my favorite radio station here in the tropics LOVE FM. The airwaves have been filled during this week with music from the reggae band "Morgan Heritage". They are headliners in a concert this upcoming weekend appropriately entitled "Reggae bring back Love".  If any of you are planning to be in Belize this coming weekend, make sure you attend this concert. It promises to be a good one.

Summer is here and the living is easy folks. I hope this means that I can spend some more time catching up with all of your blogs. Drop in and let me know what is happening in your neck of the woods.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Welcome back Kotter!

Dear blogging buddies,

I have been AWOL (absent without official leave) since last year from the blogging circuit. Though it has been awhile, I have been making random visits to some of my favorite blogs and have been keeping in touch.
I hope most of you were as glad as I am to see the passing of 2008. To celebrate the New Year, I am heralding in 2009 with a poem from Helen Steiner Rice:
Be of Good Cheer, There is Nothing to Fear
Cheerful thoughts like sunbeams
Lighten up the darkest fears
For when the heart is happy
There's just no time for tears -
And when the face is smiling
It's impossible to frown,
And when you are high-spirited
You cannot feel low-down
For the nature of our attitude
Toward circumstantial things
Determines our acceptance
Of the problems that life brings.
And since fear and dread and worry
Cannot help in any way,
It's much healthier and happier
To be cheerful every day-
And if you'll only try it
You will find, without a doubt,
A cheerful attitude's something
No one should be without-
For when the heart is cheerful
It cannot be filled with fear,
And without fear the way ahead
Seems more distinct and clear-
And we realize there's nothing
We need ever face alone
For our heavenly Father loves us
And our problems are His own.
Hope that y'all will stop by to visit and let me know how you're doing.