Monday, September 24, 2007

Crab Races

Friends and family visited us last month, and so Bob and I got to trot the tourist routes. In particular, we took our guests to the crab races, a favorite activity among island visitors. Crab races? Yes, everyone has the same reaction.

St. Croix has a large population of hermit crabs (crabs that live, love and travel inside a sea shell, a sort of mobile home). Tiny as pebbles, or large as a fist (they migrate to larger shells as they grow), we see them crawling along on the side of the road, in gardens, and even on hilltops.

Tito and Sue's Crab RacesLocal couple Tito and Sue saw the potential in these critters and set out to race them a few times a week at various beach bars around the island. For $2, you can sponsor a crab of your choice and give it a name, which gets written on masking tape on the seashell. Don't be fooled by size because the little ones can be very fast! All sponsored crabs go into an overturned bucket at the center of a large chalk circle. With Sue blaring a trumpet, Tito adding spirited commentary and the crowd cheering their crabs, the bucket is lifted and the race begins. The first crab to reach the circle line wins. There are a bunch of races and the winners get free dinners, jewelry, rum, snorkeling and kayaking trips, etc., all donated from local businesses.

We went to the races on our 18th wedding anniversary, so we aptly named our crab "18." It won us a free kayak tour in Salt River. And we went kayaking, we got a beautiful rainbow to boot!Kayaking Salt River
Rainbow over Salt River Bay

Sunday, September 02, 2007


What is the secret to finding balance between art and life? I'm pondering this question at the moment as I sit here recovering from a bout of bronchitis and wishing I had the energy to get myself to the studio. But this question will remain prevalent even after I am healed. Over the past few months I have been working part time for a local non-profit organization called Haiti Community Support ( My job, as Managing Director, is to create a new infrastructure that will allow the organization to grow in order to fulfill its mission of helping forgotten remote Haitian villages through educational, health and economic programs.

It's a tall order for a part-time job in which I play strategist, web master, administrator, public relations consultant and marketer. But I do it because my heart is in it, and I enjoy bundling all my business skills into one cohesive package.

The challenge comes in switching gears from left brain to right brain, from task-driven and results-oriented to process-inclined and mood-prone. A seemingly good plan involved doing business in the morning and art in the afternoon, but I haven't had much art to show for this plan.

The downtime with bronchitis has afforded me this insight: art requires time, lots of focused, uninterrupted time with the muse. So I've got a new game plan: create a balance in terms of days, not hours.

This coming week I'll put it into action: block out entire days devoted to art, and structure work and other chores around this block. It looks good on paper. Life is not so linear, but if I stand my ground, I bet it can be done.

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