Now I want gills

you-me

09/25/2016 I didn’t forget about you guys out there in blog land, honest, I didn’t. At first I had nothing to blog about because  I spent a full week and then some on a raft in the pool reading, It was HOT, unbearably hot and being in the pool was my only salvation. I’m thankful my neighbor has several books, however you can only read so many James Patterson’s in a row. After a few books you begin to figure out whudunit pretty damn quickly.

My friend Marilyn had been gone for 2 months, I caught up with her briefly one day at the Reef House but I was slightly under the weather that day with my airplane cold. This damn thing still lingers in my chest, coughing and hacking like a TB patient. Although it is getting better, the fact that I have spent a lot of time under the water recently may have something to do with that.

Marilyn and I decided to spend a day poolside at our house. We floated and caught up on all the island info that happened while she was stateside. Her husband stopped by later on and took a dip, we had some snacks and I ended up drunk on my ass later that day. After Marilyn and Alex left I passed out on the couch, slept there for a few hours then went to bed. I had slammed one whole bottle of wine in the hot scorching sun in just a little time. I’ll blame it on my Seven Fifty wine thermos. I have to blame it on something and it certainly wasn’t MY fault.

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Thanks Tarra for buying this awesome wine thermos for me!

I went to Alexi’s school and paid for the balance of this year, school is out the end of Nov for a few months. The teacher asked if she should put it in Alexi’s Mother’s name and I said, NO. I’m paying for it, my name. Bill bought Alexi new soccer cleats while I was in the states and the other day he took Alexi to the dentist for the first visit in 17 years. He had his teeth cleaned and he has 6 cavities  that need taken care of ASAP. We are also taking him to get his eyes checked. Bill had him doing something pretty simple and he messed it up because he couldn’t see it.

After that I drove down to Juticalpa and dropped off the rest of the soccer stuff for the kids. The director saw me coming and met me at the car. He was very grateful. I also gave my cleaning girl 3 bags of clothes I didn’t want / need. I don’t care if she gives them to friends or sells them, just as long as it benefits her.

On the way home from there I saw a poor sad dog along the road. I stopped to feed him and he started to walk away. I called to him as I was putting food down and he turned around and came back. He took a few mouthfuls and looked up at me and burped. Poor guy.

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He was skin and bones

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I’m going to run over this week and see if I can find him again.

I posted his photo on FB and got so many comments that I was such a good person and stuff like that, and while that’s all nice and warm and fuzzy, the reason I posted the photos is so that others will realize that all it takes is to carry a bag of dog food and some water in your car and if you see a starving dog along the road, stop and feed it. Simple to do and it does make you feel good. By the looks of this guy, he hasn’t had a meal for awhile.

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It’s been amazingly clear for several weeks, the mainland mountains are so pretty. This was a rarity that we could see the mountains behind the mountains.

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Dog food in the making

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This will last 2 weeks along with a bag of Kirkland.

My friend Karen saw the photo of the skinny dog that I fed and asked me if I knew where there were any females available. I said I did, thinking immediately of Lola, the dog I was offered when we were passing out the food with the Carnival Cruise line people. She and her husband picked me up and we went to Pandytown looking for Lola. We found a guy named Jimmy who was trying to help us.  I noticed Lola laying under a truck. We coaxed her out with some dog food and I picked her up. She is a sweetie. Jimmy couldn’t get in touch with the owner to make sure we could take her. We put her in the car and drove around looking for him. We never found the owner but found a relative who said it was her dog and she paid for it. I am assuming that was her way of asking for $$ for the dog. Jimmy said he knew of a few puppies that were ready to give away so we looked at them. Karen fell for this little girl and ended up taking her home. Their last name is Bogart and they have a 120# male named Bogey so they named this little one, Bacall.

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This is Lola, she didn’t go home with Karen.

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This is Karen and Jimmy and Bacall. One lucky little girl, Karen and Dwight will take good care of her.

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This is our friend Tonio’s truck. There are no tail lights, no brake lights, no license plate and you know what, nobody cares. This wood was held by one piece of rope.

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Improved view, neighbor took down an ugly dirty tree.

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See the vulture in the tree? He sat there and showed his wings for several minutes, the dogs were going bat shit crazy. A few of his friends joined him and then took off and did dive bombs over the pool. The dogs were hysterical, I had to put them inside.

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Ever since Barrio and Max had the bad fight we keep them separated if we are both gone. Barrio usually stays inside with Mr Barksalot, Highway. This is the damage Barrio did in a short period of time. I hope he enjoyed the taste of the Skin so Soft. (Skin so stinky Robby)

I mentioned in my last blog I was going to do my advanced open water certification at Blue Island Divers, with Eric White. The business is located in Sandy Bay.

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Blue Islands divers are beachside

I did the SSI course which is the same requirements as PADI Advanced Open Water but it’s called Advanced  Adventurer. It consisted of 160 pages of reading material and tests on each chapter. I could chose from:

Photography, Fish ID, Wreck, Buoyancy, Enriched Air Nitrox, Boat Diving, Dry Suit diving, Night and Limited Visibility, Search and Recovery, Waves, Tides and Currents and the 2 required were deep and navigation. I chose buoyancy, Photo and Fish ID and then also did deep and nav. Let me first say, I did not have my camera during the first 4 dives because I was concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing.

The first day I worked on my buoyancy using my own Buoyancy Control Device or BCD. I bought it online, new, years ago and I hated it then because I didn’t think it fit. After my first dive Eric said we were trying a different vest because I was constantly trying to get the BCD centered on my body. When I moved, the weight of the tank shifted my BCD. It was awful. I used his wife’s old Aeris BCD and what a difference. My second dive was fish ID which was pretty easy for me because I am familiar with a lot of the fish and coral in the sea. Not saying I don’t have a lot to learn, I do. But I see a new fish every time I dive and always make a point to identify it.

After competing those two dives on Thursday I was back there the next morning to do my deep and navigation dives. The deep dive was AMAZING. Eric asked if I had any fears about going down to 100′ and I said nope, fear factor missed me at birth. He said we were doing the Odyssey wreck and it sits at that depth. What he didn’t tell me is that you can go deeper onto the sand patch where there are all these garden eels. I’ve never seen them and was blown away. We went down to 112′ but at that depth on Oxygen you can’t stay very long. Well, not unless you want to get narced, Nitrogen Narcossis. At that depth the water was a balmy 84 degrees! We swam alongside the stern of the boat down to the sand patch, then up over the bow that was separated from the rest of the boat. Eric had me do a navigation test while we were there since I had on the compass and a computer. After that we just swam around and ended up close to the spot where we did my buoyancy tests. I plan to dive Odyssey again and take photos. My second dive was navigation, swimming in a square, starting off and ending at the same place. After that was done we just went for a dive and while diving I saw my friend Caroline diving at the same spot we were. How weird is that??

I was exhausted when I got home and went for a dip with the dogs then took a nice 2 hour nap.

Today was my final dive and yay, it was photography and my job was to take pictures.

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So many barrel sponges I didn’t know where to look next. Giant Barrel Sponge

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Corky sea fingers

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Scattered pore rope sponge

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Branching vase sponge

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Giant Barrel Sponge

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So jagged

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A blue sea rod coming through a barrel sponge

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This was on a swim through

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My friend and dive master extraordinaire, Eric

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Cole getting a huge Lionfish

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The deep blue. The red specks are particles in the water that my flash makes red.

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Finger coral, a large brain coral on the left.

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Can’t get enough

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Club finger coral

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Sponges with some yellow fish swimming by

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Sea rods

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This is a prize shot by Eric. We were going into a swim through and he spotted this nudibranch. I handed him my camera and he took the red filter off it first. Excellent shot and my first nudi sighting.

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This is incredible, the color is so intense and I saw it several places we dove. Branching tube sponge

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I feel sorry for the people who never get to experience life underwater, it’s a whole other world. I am so in awe.

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Club finger coral

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So amazing

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One of my favorite pics of the day.

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The end of my 5th dive, so excellent. I can see this becoming a habit.

I can feel my tail growing. I can’t even explain the feeling I get when I’m underwater. I watch the fish swim by and I’m instantly mesmerized by their ability to just glide along the reef, following the water movements, up and down, in and out. It’s enchanting. After my first buoyancy class when I did the fish ID dive in a different BCD I could feel how my breath affected my movement in the water and how I could control my body to go over the coral heads and then back down. I hung vertically in the water and just took deep breaths, feeling my body rise the then descend when I exhaled. It’s such a cool sensation. I am still having some issues, when my tank gets down to 1000 PSI I start to float to the surface. Eric grabs my fin, pulls me down and adds weight. I’m convinced that my big boobs and the buoyancy of the tanks are contributors to this. He feels that once I get more practice I will be able to control this ascent, it surely isn’t because I want to surface. If I had gills you would never see me. I’d be down there swimming with Nemo and Ariel.

Gills are on my Christmas list.

 

 

Equalize, equalize, equalize. My new mantra.

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09/07/2016  I’ve been in a fog or lost somewhere. Not sure which. Wednesday was 2 weeks that I have been home and I don’t remember what I’ve done.

I got home Wed. and on Friday my cleaning gal came and cleaned downstairs and upstairs in preparation for our guests arriving on Saturday. After cleaning all day Friday (I do everything upstairs and let her do the floors) I decided Saturday was a day of rest. As was Sunday and Monday and and and..

Saturday before the guests arrived I met my friend Trish and her husband Fred in Brick Bay to visit with a monkey who is tied to a tree. My friend has been visiting this monkey for awhile now and contacted me while I was in the states to see what I knew about it. (Nothing) I agreed to go see it. I’ve been told the monkey has been there for years and is taken care of. She’s not skinny, she had fresh water and shelter; however, she has a dog collar around her belly and it is sewn together so that she can’t remove it. It’s sad.

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Meet Mona. She belongs to the decrepit old derelict hotel across the road and is fed by a guy who lives there.

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She carries her rope with her tail.

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She hates the dog collar and points to it all the time.

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She is adorable. I was told she is mean but she has been very sweet to my friend and never bitten her.

I sent some people messages inquiring about her and from their responses, she is not up for grabs and belongs to someone. Bummed.

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I saw this on my way home.

Our guests arrived, dropped off their luggage then went and ran some errands. They just bought a home not too far east of us, our friend Alex was their agent. They plan to move here in Nov. and recently got an HGTV offer to film, pretty exciting!

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Chris and I on the roof

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Bill and Jimmy and Highway and Max

On Monday I pulled out the 4 bags of soccer uniforms that were donated by the Hillcrest Village Soccer Club in Toronto (and brought down by my friends Trish and Dave) so that I could sort by size. I was AMAZED at the amount of stuff donated. The shorts were all new, tags still attached and brand new soccer socks too. There were jerseys, goalie jerseys and gloves along with 60+ small soccer balls. It’s an incredible gift for the island kids.

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Dozens of pairs of shorts

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Jerseys of every color

I got them separated and ready to deliver. On Tuesday morning Dave and Trish came down to our house and we drove down to Juticalpa loaded with soccer uniforms and soccer balls. The director was really excited, but not as much as the kids!

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The director (to the L of the pillar) getting the students to line up.

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Clearly not a student. Many of the mothers bring their small children with them when they walk their kids to school, (most don’t walk them) and they stay while their child is in class rather than walk home. Still don’t have that figured out.

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Checking out their gear.

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Trish in light purple, her husband Dave, with the black ball cap, and me passing out stuff. It was pandemonium for a few minutes.

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Trish, Dave, the director and I looking at sizes. My cleaning gal Carla is on the far right in a purple tank. She lives near there and came down to translate.

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Me with a few of the boys. We got so many hugs when we got there and before we left. These kids love to hug you!

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The uniforms made the day for these boys.

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We all fell in love with this guy. Everything was too big but he didn’t care, he had a uniform. I see a few more pairs of TOMS shoes.

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Bill and I (L) and Trish and Dave (R) with the newly uniformed kids.

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This little boy took off his TOMS shoes that we (Because We Care) fit him with this spring and played soccer in his bare feet.

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I love seeing girls playing soccer!

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Their bleachers

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Rumor has it this little girl kicks a$$ on the field.

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The field is very rough, barely any grass, rocks, cans, glass, trash. Nothing like the fields the kids in the US get to play on. The director allowed the students to play against each other and then the winners played each other. We couldn’t stay for the whole thing but I guess new uniforms trump class any day.

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Bill was in the process of lifting this little girl up, I tried but she was too heavy!

I’m really happy that Dave and Trish were able to come along and meet the kids and see how happy the uniforms from Hillcrest Village mean to these children. Nice uniforms make it a whole new game. Many thanks to Hillcrest Village Soccer Club!

On Thursday my friend Caroline and I went diving with Ernesto @ Blue Island Divers. It was an insanely HOT day and all I wanted to do was get underwater. We hung around BID until Ernesto was ready to go. We got on the boat, got geared up and tumbled overboard into the sea. It was my first time with my new camera case, still a bit of a learning curve.

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Beautiful sponges

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These are so fascinating, I can’t swim by one without looking inside it.

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Love the blue color

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Caroline took this of me

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Sea fan

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Caroline, she has been diving for years and had a business called Scuba Diving Divas.

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The coral and sponges were amazing here. We were at a spot called DD’s.

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Ernesto spotted this Scorpion fish, very poisonous. He also took the photo with my camera because he can control his buoyancy better than I can. I will be working on that. It’s eye is the yellow dot on the R.

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Ernesto also spotted these cleaner shrimps. So cool.

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They attach themselves to whatever needs cleaned.

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A Nassau Grouper

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Ernesto pointed up, when I looked this is what I saw.

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There is something down there but I have no clue what.

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Stunning blue sponges

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Coral

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This was huge, over 3′ tall

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There is something down in this one also.

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I don’t know what this is called but it’s beautiful.

We had an excellent 50 minute dive. I realized after this dive that I need to hone equalizing my ears and my buoyancy so I plan to get my Advanced Open Water certificate which will address both of those issues. Once I got home from the dive I had an earache in the ear I screwed up when diving in Akumal many years ago. After reading online about equalizing I figured out what I am doing wrong. I should be equalizing with every breath during my descent through the first atmosphere (33′), I was not doing that. I was trying to do it when I got almost to depth, which is wrong.

By Friday morning I had an earful of fluid and when I swallowed it sounded like I was underwater. I was trying to get into Dr Rafael at the clinic but couldn’t get through on the phones to verify he was in. I messaged my friend Andrea, who is the nurse at CocoView dive resort and she said to come see her. I met Andrea when I first moved here alone, we both lived at Pineapple Villas. She has been diving for years so I drove there and she picked me up on the boat and we went over to her office. She looked in my ears and yes, I had water behind my eardrum. She has these small ear vibrators called Ear Docs and said vibration was the best way to open the eustachian tubes. She took me back to the dock armed with what I needed to do and some Sudafed. I took a pill and used my large back/neck massager on the front of my ear and behind it and by the next morning my ear felt better. But I didn’t. I was getting a wretched airplane cold.

I was down most of the day Friday and Saturday. Sunday we had company coming. We were all going to a party at the Reef House then coming back here for pizza. I decided instead of not going, to just go and relax and see my friends. I’m glad I did.

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My diving buddy and dinner company Caroline and my BFF Marilyn.

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Bill and I, thanks Keri for the photos.

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This is me with 2 hats on my butt cheeks. Thanks Ann for encouraging me.

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Ann took this also with David floating in the background. If you’re wondering where we are with such an amazing view, we’re at Trish and Dave’s. And yes, Ann has a bubble gun and is blowing bubbles.

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A photo of the western tip of Roatan taken by Nixon Oneal. Fabulous.

My friend Linda posted on FB that she had limes to give away. I was all over that. Bill and I were there at 8 AM Tuesday morning and I got 2 colanders full of limes. Some were huge Key Limes, never seen them that big.

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I sat on the porch and squeezed them all.

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So juicy

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Picture perfect

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I threw all the skins over the bank so the lizards, watusas and whatever else could feast on then.

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I filled up 4 ice cube trays with lime juice.

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Once frozen, I pop the cubes out, put in a zip-loc and use them for cooking or throw one in my ice water. Yummy!

The other day on FB I got a friend request from a college friend. I haven’t heard from Kathy since we moved. She said she didn’t have my correct email so I sent it to her. Then she emailed me saying: Sounds like you are enjoying your life in Honduras. I was just reading an “ISLANDS” magazine a couple of days ago (searching for a new vacation destination—we usually go to the Bahamas Out Islands)  and came across your name (shocking!!) in an article about living in Honduras. So I decided to try again to find you and am so excited that I finally did!

What article?? Then I remembered I was interviewed for an article but had no idea it was for Islands magazines. Click here and scroll down to Roatan. Actually the best part of this article is that Kathy and I are in touch again!

It’s past my bedtime. I’m going to publish this, give the dogs their treats and go to bed. Buenas noches amigos.

My Mother told me, “Don’t get old.”

wine8/30/2016 I’ve returned from my trip to the US. I was really happy to get back to my little island and my daily routine but every time I have to say good bye to my folks, it just keeps getting harder. They are 95 and 91. Time is of the essence.

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At Appplebee’s

This visit wasn’t a hang out and relax one, I was trying to help my sister, brother-in-law and brother prepare my folks to move closer to my sister Missy.

I arrived in BWI at midnight and made my way to the rental car place. I knew my cell was dead but I had my charger in my carry-on so I was good to go. I got my rental and left the lot, but my cell wouldn’t charge. I went across the street and sat in a vacant parking lot screwing with my phone. I needed my GPS to get to my sister’s house. I could get it to come on but it wouldn’t start to charge, and then it shut off. After about 30 minutes of this crap, I was ready to cry. I was hungry and tired and wanted to be somewhere so I could relax. I decided to go back to the rental car garage and go inside the building and charge my phone. I got the wall charger out of my bag and went inside. I told the girl at the car rental desk what was going on and she said to have a seat and charge my phone. About 5 min. after I went in there, she said, we have car chargers here for sale, maybe that would work for you. I decided to buy one and got my money out and she said she had an extra, I could have it. She made my night. I was finally off to my sister’s house. I arrived there around 2 AM, meaning I had been up 20 hours so far and was running on fumes.

Missy and her husband Mark and I stayed up another 2 hours talking about the situation with Mom and Dad and some of the obstacles they and my brother, P.J., have gone through trying to make this move happen. I feel like a schmuck because I live so far away. Once they move they will be 30 minutes from BWI, not 90 and 4 minutes from my sister, not 90, closer for P.J. also. The move is good for various reasons and I am really happy they are doing it. They will still be living independently but in an apartment, not a condo. There will be someone to clean weekly and change their bedding. The dining hall serves excellent meals and it is in the same building that they live in. Convenience all around.

I stayed with my sister Sat and Saturday night too. I don’t get to see her and Mark much so it was nice to hang out with them. I left Missy’s on Sunday morning and went to Ikea and then to Mom and Dad’s.

My job while visiting my folks was to help (push, coerce, trick) my Mother to part with all the shit she had stored in that condo. THIS WAS VERY HARD. There were 3 expired cans of cheese, 2013. A single serving apple pie on the top shelf of a cupboard from 2012. This was the tip of the iceberg. She had enough Q-tips to clean the ears of each child on the island of Roatan. She did not want to part with her waste cans, she had 7, not counting the big one in the kitchen and the 2 outside the kitchen door in the garage or the HUGE one outside the garage door. I went through all of her cupboards and boxed stuff to get rid of and I threw out trash bags full of dead food, broken scissors, tie bars and cuff links. Jars of nail polish that were hardened in the jar?Enough, no more about the amounts of stuff but the hard time Mom was having parting with it was a very new, different reaction to have to deal with. Like, “really Mom, you want these 11 empty pill bottles in case you travel. Where are you going?” It truly was hard for her to let go of so many things. Usually my Dad is all about throwing crap out. He threw out so much of my stuff, so much of everyone’s stuff when we were little. He never liked clutter; however he has been living in it for some time.

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Cleaning out the computer room

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And I caught my Dad on this stool, I got him off of there quickly and finished the job myself. It’s really difficult for him because he was always in charge of things, everything was always under control when he was around.

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This is how hot it was when I arrived in the Solomon’s

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Dad found a box of these old hair clips and a few of the pins you stuck through the curlers to keep them in place.

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Remember these things? We stuck them into the different colored/sized curlers and actually slept with them on our heads. I remember having dents on my forehead from these pins.

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Found this old pic, I think it was from 1958, Me, my brother and cousin, on the beach in Florida.

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Mom’s idea of tying one on. O’Doull’s through a straw. UGH.

Mom has knee trouble and she just broke her wrist so she has trouble getting out of chairs and out of a car. Every time she did either she would look at me and say,”Debbie-Leigh, don’t get old.” It was really sad because I am getting old, not a damn thing I can do  about it and she doesn’t seem to be enjoying her golden years at all. I sure hope once they get settled in their new place things will be easier and the fact that they are up in years won’t be so evident. Dad is going to stop driving, which breaks my heart and makes me happy. I know it’s his independence but I also know mentally he is a danger on the road to himself and to others. So bittersweet. So many thoughts in this old muddled brain of mine. I find myself trying to exercise in the pool more and to be more active, with Mom’s constant warning floating on the sidelines of my brain.

Mom and I had some disagreements about things to keep and things to donate and things to trash. Keeping was the easy part. Throwing out spices she has not used for 5 years was traumatic. Dad and I had an argument also, he was being very stubborn, changing his mind rapidly and being nasty about it. I feel bad that we argued but it sort of cleared the air and got him on my side disposing of things. We went from keeping 25 photos (wall art) to about 8. Dad gave them to the neighbor who uses the frames immediately, that way Mom couldn’t change her mind. We were donating things ASAP because she was developing the habit of going out in the garage and looking through the boxes of crap we had just thrown out. I had to rein her back in to the task at hand many times.

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I told her to get rid of her LARGE sewing kit. She doesn’t sew, never has. She finally agreed, except she pulled the pinking shears out because they were expensive. Then she threw out all of these flyers that came in the mail only to go back through the trash can looking for one because it had a sewing kit for sale. I died.

Mom wanted a smaller TV stand but didn’t want to spend much money so I suggested Walmart. She and I went and looked at them and she saw one she liked, but they didn’t have it in the store. We went home and I looked online and saw that the store over the bridge had it. We went out to eat at Olive Garden that night but before that we wanted Dad to look at the TV stand. We got to Walmart and he said he wasn’t going in. I said if you think I’m lugging this thing out here to have you say you don’t like it, you’re wrong. Now get out, we’re going to look at it. I had him push the cart so he had something to lean on. We went back and I found it on a lower shelf. Now these things are made out of particle board and weigh a TON. I got it off the shelf and dropped it on the floor. Great, now I had to get it back up and in the cart. Dad wanted to help, I said no way. I asked some young guy to help me load it and he was very nice and put it in the cart. After we paid we asked for help to get it in the car. We had dinner @ Olive Garden and then went home. I was going to get the TV stand out of the back of Mom and Dad’s mini van for them.  Mom was insisting they had a cart to move it but she didn’t know where it was. Dad said the neighbor had it. Mom said, “go get it, we need it.” I have the 3000# piece balanced, ready to slide onto a cart and wheel into the garage when Dad rounds the corner with a walker. A flipping walker. I said, “what the hell is that? ” “It’s a cart.” I said “like hell it is, it’s a walker. How the hell am I supposed to move this damn thing with a walker?” By then I was feeling very Charlie Chaplinesque and had to laugh at the situation. Here I am moving a TV stand that weighs as much as my car with a freaking fold up walker. We’re all insane. I got the damn thing balanced on the walker and held the other end and wheeled it over the lip into their garage. When I went to get it off the walker (am I really saying this shit?) I dropped it on the concrete floor, I tried to stop it from hitting the ground and it landed on my middle finger. My Mom yelled, “Oh my God I hope that stand didn’t break.” All the while my finger is still under the 3000# box.

I drank a shit ton that night.

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My beloved wine

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It came from a Black Box, not a green Bandit box and I have to say, this was pretty decent wine.

The next day Mom and I were going somewhere and as we’re walking out of the house she says to me, “I can see your breasts.” I said “no you can’t.” She said “yes I can and I can see a little of the lace on your bra.” So I pulled my V neck Hurley T down to my navel and asked if that was better. She dropped it.

I took a walk down to the pier one afternoon, it was so hot out and there was barely a ripple of a breeze.

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The Patuxent River.

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Osprey nest

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A view up, the white building is apartments, dining hall and gym of Asbury, the place they have lived for 11 years.

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Mom melts her ice cream in the microwave so she can dish it out easier.

My sister and I were talking one evening while I was at Mom and Dad’s and she told me a few week ago she took them up to Prince Frederick (about 30 min N) for Dad’s check up. They stopped at Applebee’s on the way home for lunch. Mom said she was cold and Missy said she would run out to the car and grab a sweater. Now Missy moves fast just like I do, so she was back in a flash. And they were gone. Mom and Dad weren’t there. WTH? She looked around and found them sitting elsewhere AT A TABLE FOR TWO. She asked what they were doing and Dad said he didn’t like that spot so they moved and Missy said, “but you moved to a table for two, what about me?” I was dying laughing when she told me the story and she was laughing so hard her dog and cat came running to see what was wrong.

After many days of packing and talking in the evening (through Law and Order, which they watch 4 or 5 shows in a row but the TV is on mute most of the time but they act like they’re the world’s best lip readers and they knew what was going on the whole time the TV was on mute)  {I was so confused} we decided to go to Applebee’s to eat but I told them I wasn’t leaving for any jackets or anything and if I went to the bathroom, they had to stay in the same place until I returned. The Olive Garden and Applebee’s are their favorite places to eat. Not mine.

Obviously I have re-located and not been told. Mom told everyone, this is my daughter Debbie-Leigh, she lives on an island in the Pacific. I say Caribbean. Next person, same spiel, I say Caribbean. I continue to say Caribbean every time I am introduced as the daughter who lives on an island in the Pacific. Geography was not one of her favorite classes.

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I was freezing in their house. I am not a fan of A/C and was really happy I had gotten Bill new socks. I even wore them to bed. In fact, I pulled the floor vent out of the floor in the guest bed room, closed it, put it back and piled pillows on top to keep the cold air away.

My time to head home was drawing near. I was really missing the dogs, it’s too bad they don’t understand words and actually knew I was returning, as opposed to deserting them for the rest of their lives. I couldn’t wait to get their wet sloppy kisses. I didn’t go overboard shopping for them, buying mostly NylaBone toys and a few more stainless food bowls.

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Parting shot before I got in my car and cried half the way to BWI.

My trip home took 24 hours. I left Mom and Dad’s at 10 AM and drove to Baltimore, waited several hours there, then to Denver where my plane landed at 6:01 and the flight I was getting on boarded at 5:55. I had to run again. From Denver I flew  to  Los Angeles, then had to find the Avianca terminal. Once there, they changed gates, I got to the last gate and was sitting there and they called my name. I went up to the counter and they asked about a return ticket to the states, I said, no, I live in Roatan. They asked for my residency card (which I am still waiting for) so I gave them my Constancia that says I am a resident of Honduras and they thanked me and that was it. It was interesting. I was the only white girl on a plane full of Central American’s from LAX to San Salvador. I was bummed because I’m Premier Gold on UAL and had to fly Avianca to San Salvador in row 30D. Turned out the plane was empty and I had all 3 leather seats to myself as well as a USB port and disco lighting. Avianca was a cool flight.

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The whole darn row to myself.

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Mood lighting

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Leaving LAX, headed for El Salvador.

The El Salvador airport was spotlessly clean and vacant. I sat alone for several hours at my gate waiting to board my flight to Roatan. Once again, the plane was pretty empty. There was a couple across the row from me on the way to Roatan. The girl sounded like a drunk Daffy Duck and she was not using her inside voice. They were pointing out Toxic Hole and West Bay and I’m all, dude, that’s NOT even Roatan. I didn’t say anything, I just continued to allow them to be delusional.

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Cool shot of the mountains through the scratched window on my way to RTB.

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HAH! On Roatan, the most popular beer is Salva Vida, or life saver.

I always get teary eyed returning to the rock and this time was no different. My flight arrived at almost 10 AM, making for a 24 hour trip for me. Bill met me, we ran a few errands (still trying to get my replacement residency card) then made our way home, I was so anxious to see the dogs.

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They were all on the porch and they saw me coming.

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It was a glorious reunion, I love these guys so much.

I am thrilled to be back on the rock, I spent a few days organizing all the stuff I bought, getting groceries, all the normal stuff. We have some friends staying here so I had to get the downstairs cleaned up also, Carla came and did that. I’ve spent a few days poolside, today we delivered some soccer uniforms and hopefully I’ll catch up with my friends this weekend.

It’s always nice to visit the US and see my family but I can honestly say I prefer island life to living stateside.

I’m looking forward to getting underwater again and playing with my case for my dive camera, it will allow me to go deeper and take photos, Thursday will be the trial day for it so stay tuned, lots of island info and fun shots returning soon.

I’m growing a tail

 

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08/09/2016 I’m recovered from company and have been in chill mode for many weeks, nothing I have to do except enjoy my life on the island. We spent a few days waiting for Hurricane Earl, who, at the last minute changed paths and headed straight for Belize. They got hit, we just got rain and wind. Very thankful we were spared and sad for the people in BZE.

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This is what we could have been hit with.

A few weeks ago Nidia was contacted by Carnival cruise lines that their employees had taken it upon themselves to organize a food drive for the elderly on Roatan. We met Nidia and Mac at Mahogany Bay at noon to pick up the cruise ship employees and take them and their 60 bags of food to the East End of the island. Due to some snafu, it took longer to pick them up than planned but we got them and were on our way to Pandytown. The people were waiting when we got there.

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Alexi helping load the stuff on to Mac’s truck

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We had the 2 on the right and the girl 3rd from the left riding with us. Two of them were from South Africa and the other from the states.

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I of course, found dogs. I was pulling ticks off this little girl when the owner approached me and said I could have her. I said, Thank you but no. He said her name was Lola. One Lola is all I can handle. She was adorable.

Next stop was Punta Caliente but when we got there a few crew members had to be back on the ship so we left and took them back to Mahogany Bay.

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These are the folks from Punta Caliente coming to meet us. The employees would like to do this monthly, which is pretty awesome!

On July 30th Because We Care did a breakfast for the people in Hottest Sparrow, a community many times forgotten. I got there around 6:45AM and didn’t really do much until the ladies cooking the food were finished, then I helped serve, made chocolate milk for the kids, passed out drinks, some soccer balls donated by Trish and Dave Symons and then helped pass out toys and gifts and clean up. It was a fun morning.

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The kitchen. My friend Carly from Blue Island Divers graciously helped with the cooking.

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Plates of food, eggs, bacon, sausage, tortillas, cheese, beans and juice and milk.

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Lots of hungry kids

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I love the older sibling holding their younger brother/sister.

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Sweet brothers

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There is not much in the way of fruits or vegetables in their diets.

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Of course, I was feeding the dogs all the left overs.

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These kids got some donated soccer balls, some from Trish and Dave and someone else donated a few larger ones as well.

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The school director with the ones I gave him, I also gave him a ball pump from Trish and Dave.

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Little girls with their Barbie (sic) dolls.

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Your guess is as good as mine.

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They passed out balls and were a few short so we gave this guy a soccer ball, he was thrilled.

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What’s a party without a Piñata?

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Nidia was throwing the candy

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Nidia and her box of mystery gifts

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Tom’s shoes

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He was so funny with the ball in his shirt

We were fortunate enough to meet some new friends from California via Alex. Kevin and Pam bought some land near us and plan on building on it. They had never been to the East End of the island so we took them to La Sirena, our favorite place.

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The end of the world.

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We stopped along the way and gave these boys a soccer ball (again, thank you Trish and Dave)

On the way home we stopped at the pirate ship and our friend the guard was there. He gave us another tour and some more wooden stuff, like a Seahorse statue that I am in love with.

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I finally got a decent photo of the chandelier. It’s stunning, as far as chandeliers go.

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And Pam got to hold onto an M 16!

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The mast and rigging on the closed down nightclub

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Oh yes, I got a reserved sign too.

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Rooftop view

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Really. 5 dogs!

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Such a pretty sky

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Barrio and Max swimming

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Maxiedoodle

We have had so many people over for dinner lately and that is always fun, especially when it’s a nice day and we can be in the pool.

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Dave, Trish and Jeanie

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The stunning Duchess of Camp Bay. There is only one.

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Roger and some dogs..

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They love each other.

I picked up my twinnie Ann and we went snorkeling at West Bay again and then had some drinks (of course) at Grand Roatan.

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Neon Goby on coral

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Ann in the swim

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Parrot fish. I love their lips.

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Lots of small Chromis.

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Love the coral

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I see you!

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More cool coral

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Sucks that we live somewhere so ugly.

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My favorite beach

This past week I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long long long time. I got my dive refresher and went diving. Thanks to Eric White of Blue Island Divers, he made my dreams come true once again. It’s been over 12 years since I dove and I really wanted and needed a refresher. Diving is dangerous, it’s good to go over these things. Eric was excellent and made me feel very comfortable. I’m looking forward to diving again with him as soon as I return. Thank you Eric! (his wife and I are friends and she cooked at the community breakfast, great people)

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We did a 62′ deep dive, the water was 80 degrees. I was able to dive in my swimsuit. I had my Ariel moment and will be doing it as often as possible now. There is nothing like being down there and looking at the vast world under the sea. Fish are so lucky.

Speaking of Mermaids, Robby and Julie brought me this mug. It keeps water cold and ice stays ice for 12 hours. It’s an Ozark Mtn. mug.

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Love this mug.

All was fabulous with the mug until yesterday when I took my mermaid cup to our friends Dave and Trish’s for a party.

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Trish in the “pink hat.” That’s another story for another time.

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Dave (Trish’s husband) and David on the raft

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The guys

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The sky, part way down their road.

The ice stayed ice, just had to refill the water several times while there. (in between glasses of wine) Even after the cup sat along the pool in the sun, the outside was warm, inside ice cold. I filled it again before I left our friends. We got home, put things away, fed the dogs and I laid down to watch some Netflix. I filled my cup w/ more water when we got home and had the cup sitting on the floor while I was on the couch. Around 9 I got up to go to bed and wanted to put more ice in the cup, I took the lid off and there was a small 1′ long Gecko floating belly up in my cup. I FREAKED OUT! Needless to say, I was over the top out of my mind thinking I might have sucked it up in the straw. OMG. I am going to devise something to keep the hole small enough that nothing can crawl in it ever again. Never ever ever again.

Today we delivered the clothes that Robby and Julie brought for Alexi’s brother, nephew and sisters. It was a success because everything fit. They were very appreciative and said thank you very much. I also gave Efraim and Osman a soccer ball donated by Dave and Trish. Earlier I took Alexi to Mega Paca and bought him 2 long sleeve white shirts for school, 3 pair of long pants, 2 black, 1 navy, some underwear, a few pairs of athletic pants and a couple t-shirts. Then we went to LST and bought him a brand new pair of black shoes for school. This is just the beginning of helping him. Thanks to Liza and Mike, Karl, Christy, Brenda and Sean. Thanks also to Tarra for the Old Navy flip-flops. They fit Alexi and he was thrilled to have a few pairs of new shoes. We’re going to take care of a few months of school for him also ($15.00/mo). I’ll keep you posted. Thank you all so much. The little boys and the girls were so excited with all of their new things and Alexi is looking forward to starting school with new clothes! 

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Alexi and his Mega Paca haul.

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New kicks

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Alexi’s younger sister Jessica, she is a beautiful young girl. She said that her step dad won’t allow her to talk to any boys and he hits her if she does. He’s a sick man.

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Alexi’s 19 year old sister Julianna. She has a 4 year old son, Osman.

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Osman

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Bill with Alexi’s 7 year old brother. He is the same size as his 4 year old nephew.

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Bill and Osman

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This kid is adorable

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Mother and son

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Max and Efraim, Alexi’s little brother

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Alexi and Juliana hauling their load of clothes home. They were so excited.

That’s it, I’m off to bed. I just wanted to get this stuff out of my mind because I’ll be gone 2 weeks and won’t have time to do any blogging then. Mom and Dad have finally said they would move closer to my sister Missy in Olney, MD. They will be 5 minutes away instead of 90+. So much easier. I plan to help them go through stuff, donate and pack, should be an interesting visit.

I’ll post this mañana, I’m off to fill up my water mug (and check for geckos) and then going to bed.

 

 

Getting to know you…

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07/25/2016 Our last planned group of company is here and gone and I am still trying to settle back into my routine, whatever that may be.

I have decided to step away from the airport greeting gig for awhile. I am so grateful to have been a part of it and for Milesse and the wonderful friends I have made through the group, great bunch of ladies and men. I’m sure I’ll be back doing it again, I just need a break.

On Saturday July 9th we went to the wedding of two good friends, Chelsie Thomas and Sam Arch,  here on the island. It was held at San Simon Beach Club in West Bay. They were married on the beach, it was a beautiful ceremony. The guys were dressed very casually, the bridesmaids in gorgeous seafoam and white dresses and Chelsea was an absolutely stunning bride.

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On the beach

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Dining area

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Water bottles in a canoe

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Personalized

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Sherman, Sam’s brother and Mrs. Arch

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Sam and his dad, a most fabulous man, Mr. Sherman Arch

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Sam’s niece Derricka, she is a gorgeous little girl (and she just became a big sister)

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The bridesmaids in their sea colored dresses

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Chelsie and her father, Jon. Sam’s other sister Gale, in the beautiful turquoise dress.

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Sam’s face has the biggest smile, I cry every time I look at this photo.

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I adore Sam and Chelsie. If ever there were 2 people who should be together, it’s these two.

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She’s gorgeous..

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The Minister used a tablet instead of a Bible. The times they are a changing.

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The cakes..

We left after the ceremony. It was 6 PM, takes an hour to get home and the dogs hadn’t been fed. I know, I know, they’re dogs but still they need to eat on time.

Chance and his family arrived on Monday. Alexah was sick, they thought she had strep but she refuses to take medicine so she coughed and hacked the whole time she was here.  It was a little different than we thought it was going to be. Not having seen the girls for several years made us virtual strangers to them and forming a good relationship takes longer than a week. Nonetheless, we are still happy they came to visit, that they got to enjoy their first plane ride and that they each took home a favorite memory.  I hope it will be a vacation that they tell their friends about.

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The first day in our pool

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The girls selfie

On Tuesday we went to West Bay beach, it’s an hour drive one way there and it was a cruise ship day too, so more crowded than I like. We went down to my normal spot to snorkel and got everyone situated in their gear. Alexah and I were going to swim out so I could show her some things and Chance and Alecia were  getting Chloee ready to snorkel. After a few minutes I turned to look for Alexah and she was gone. I couldn’t find her anywhere and momentarily freaked out, until I saw her back by the beach with her parents and sister. Somehow Chloee swam into coral and got a brush burn on her leg. One of the medics for the cruise ship group tended to her with some salve. That was the end of snorkeling for the day. We put the snorkel stuff away, grabbed the rafts and headed down to Beachers for some food. After eating there we hung out in the water for awhile.

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Alexah during her first ever snorkel

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A pair of banded butterfly fish

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Sea fan

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My buddy the Parrot fish, he came so close to me. Such a gorgeous fish.

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Leaving Beachers for the water.

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Chloee floating

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Alecia found this and asked me what it was. It’s a jellyfish but I don’t know if it stings or not. People felt due to the color of it that it did.

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Beach girls

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Chloee’s belly

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Alexah the gymnast

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In front of Mayan Princess

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Starfish, Alexah took these pics w/ my camera

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And a green starfish, haven’t seen one of them since O and I snorkeled off the dock at Blue Bahia.

The next day we went to Little French Key. UGH, I hate that place and everything about it but Chance wanted the girls to see it. They swam and ate and jumped off of the high platforms.

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Chloee contemplating whether to jump

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Chance and Chloee jumping off the platform

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A few conch shells

I was floating and taking photos when I felt something fall off. It was my 2 gold bracelets that I had fastened together.  They were  somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. I was semi freaking, hand made, very expensive and yes, I always wear them. Luckily Chance and his eagle eyes found it. The one with the bad clasp is in the mail on it’s way to my favorite goldsmith in Fairhaven, WA. I called my goldsmith, Bill and told him the bracelet was coming and he told me his daughter was in Utila recently learning to dive and that he and his wife may come down because he wants to learn to dive also. Of course, I asked him to come visit me.

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Alexah sitting on the waters edge.

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Everyone on the Bottom’s Up Bar preparing to jump.

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Chloee mid jump

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Alexah took this pic of the spiny sea urchin nestled in a bad spot under a table at LFK, someone is going to step on it and it’s very painful if you do.

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Anyone else think this enclosure is a little small for this cat?

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The lion looks sad.

Chance and the family got lunch there. When the waitress brought the bill all the taxes were on it already. He handed her his credit card and she said, “it’s an extra 15% on top of the bill if you use a credit card.” I said, “seriously??”  Chance paid cash. As we were leaving a guy came around and asked how our day was and if we would give them a 5 star review. I mentioned the 15% charge using the credit card and his comment was, ” If you use the card it’s the tax on it but if you pay cash there is no tax.” What??? Ridiculous.

We also saw the little cub in the water swimming with people, which is not natural and then Alecia and the girls saw the workers kicking the small cub and then they chained it in it’s enclosure on a chain barely long enough to reach the water bowl. Last time I’ll ever step foot on LFK again.

The next day we chilled out here at the house, went to Arch’s Iguana Farm and then to Mega Paca. After that we came home and swam and ended up at Cal’s for dinner.

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View from Cal’s Cantina

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Chance and family on the dock at Arch’s

On Saturday we drove back down to West Bay beach but when we got there nobody wanted to snorkel so we sat at Bananarama, swam, floated and hung out for awhile.

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So pretty there on a non cruise ship day!

Sunday was their last full day on the island so we went to Parrot Tree lagoon. I sat there with them for awhile and then came home. I wanted to sweep the floors and get the veggies chopped up for the pizza we were making for dinner. Bill ran over and picked them up a few hours later. Chance said they had a good time there.

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At the lagoon at Parrot Tree

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Don’t know where the tree branch came from, it wasn’t there the last time I was.

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Chance and the girls

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So pretty there

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Highway with his new do

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Chloee and Highway

Bill made pizza while the gang was at Parrot Tree, I chopped veggies and cleaned a little bit. The dog hair was overwhelming!! I was just finishing sweeping when Bill returned with them. They went in the pool and swam for awhile, then showered and we had our last meal together, yummy home made pizza.

The next day we went to the airport and checked them in, then we left, rode through Coxen Hole and then went down to Las Palmas to check it out. I’ve only been there once when Bill was fixing something there for a friend. It looks pretty nice, we were the only people there.

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The girls posing

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Dang, Alexah is as tall as I am and she’s 13!! Love their tie dyed shirts.

I hope as they get older they may want to return, you never know. Even though they didn’t seem real thrilled with the island, I’m pretty sure it gave them lots to talk about with their friends.

The thing with Omar is on hold. I still have every cent you all sent me. If he and his sisters don’t move out by the end of the month, early August I will be returning your money. I appreciate your thoughtfulness for sending it but I refuse to give the kids anything if there is one speck of a chance that the mother will benefit from it. We will buy nothing while they are living downstairs in her house because her deal is, she takes it and sells it. My friend clothed and bought diapers for Omar’s younger brother because he ran around naked and went to the bathroom where ever he was. The clothes were sold by the mom {for beer money?} and the child continued to run naked for years. We will not allow her to make a cent off of anything, therefore we are being very cautious before stepping in. Despite the fact that she cares nothing for her children and her actions speak very loudly, the kids remain devoted to her and will continue to give her money. We can not support this and have a clear conscience.  We are told that the police will continue to shut down her bar. What I don’t get is why continue, close it down and fine her or jail her if she continues to operate it. I mean WTH, it’s illegal. But then again, there are a few others in the same ‘hood.

The day I picked Chance up at the airport I signed in and worked to get them through immigration. I gave Chance my keys and went to sign out at the airport. I told them I would meet them at my car. We left the airport and went to the grocery store and while there I realized that I lost my residency card. The card that cost us a fortune to obtain. I went back and looked for it the next day, went in and asked the guys I know, nothing.

The day I took them back to the airport to go home I looked again. No card. So on Tuesday I left here at 8:15, headed for the immigration office in Plaza Mar, on the other side of the island, 45 min from our house. I waited until the girl who does the cards arrived, close to 9:30 (open at 9). I told Marcos (immigration guy I know from airport) that I lost my card and they said I had to go to French Harbor (10 min. from my house) and file a Denuncia. So I drove all the way back there. The guy at the Transito desk didn’t speak English but I was persistent. He took me upstairs to a really sweet girl who asked me all the questions for the Denuncia, wrote them on a paper, gave them to the guy who typed up the Denuncia. He filled it all in, we signed it and he handed it to me. Then I went back to the immigration office in Plaza Mar and waited my turn. Jennifer filled out forms and said to take them to the bank in the Plaza Mar lot and pay to get the card re-issued. After waiting 40 minutes until it was my turn at the bank I was told only Lempiras. So, I left, not ready to wait another 40 minutes. I got in my car to leave and it sounded like a Mack truck. I called Bill right away and he told me to look under the hood. For what? What is it I was looking for? There was an engine and a battery and other than that, nothing I recognized as the culprit for my car noise. He asked if I could drive it and I said I would try. My car barely made it up the hill leaving town so I pulled off in a car rental lot and called Bill and told him where I was. While sitting there waiting a dog came up to the car looking for food so I went to the trunk to get some rawhide beef stick things. I happened to lean over and look at my exhaust and some ASSHAT had hit my car, hard, great big dent in the bumper and they did a number on my exhaust. I decided to drive to my friend Annie’s store and wander around there instead of waiting where I was. It took Bill 30 minutes to get there, he checked it out, the exhaust was hit so hard it broke things and shoved it to the side. I need an exhaust and bumper repair. If I had seen the person who did this I would have nailed them to the concrete wall.

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They hit me hard.

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Jammed my exhaust and broke it in 2 places

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Nelson, my mechanic started work on it Wed and I had it back Sat. morning, can’t even tell it was hit. $210.00. I now park 3 miles away from any store and hike in.

On top of that my washer broke, it wouldn’t spin at all, the repairman came and fixed it but it was almost as much as my car!!! This is 3 things, residence card, car getting clobbered and washer. Isn’t 3 the magic number, don’t things get better after that? I’m waiting.

I am going to take the dogs for a morning swim and then go run some errands. I’ll try to be better with my posts, I know, I’ve really been a slacker this summer..

She doesn’t care about me.

kids

06/29/2016  This is not a fun or lighthearted post. It’s brutally frank and honest and unbiased, sprinkled with my disgust. I feel the need to tell this story, maybe just to help me accept my life in a third world country.

We met a 13 year old boy named Omar while we were building our house in 2013. He came with the electrician, who said he could “work around here” and that he needed money for his mother. He spoke Spanish and English. His mother had 4 children, a then 16 year old girl who had a year old son, Omar, a 10 year old sister and a 3 year old brother. They had nothing. There was no father around, except for the men his mother slept with. Omar and the rest of the kids have no idea who their father is, they have never seen any of their fathers.

We got used to having Omar around and always made sure we had “work” for him. We would feed him when he was hungry, which was most of the time. One day he brought a chicken neck for lunch. We bought him school clothes, a backpack, many pairs of shoes, notebooks, underwear, all things that he needed. For his birthday Bill got a cake and had the guys sing Happy Birthday to him. It was the first birthday cake in his 13 year old life. For Christmas we bought him a Qatar soccer jersey, he really wanted one. He said he had never gotten a Christmas gift before.

We made sure he was going to school and I even spent an afternoon helping him do homework that needed to be done on a computer. This is so weird because many of the kids don’t have electricity in their homes, let alone a computer. That was the day I realized that Omar could not read Spanish. Not too long after that Omar didn’t want to go to school. We found out his mother wanted him working, not in school, she needed the money he made. Soon after that he quit school, not even finishing the year. We were disappointed, to say the least.

He was working with us more and more, weeding, cleaning up, painting, whatever we could find for him to do. By this time his mom had a new “husband” (doubt they were ever married but he was around a lot).

Omar was 16 then and his mom was pregnant with baby # 5. One day he came here with his “stepdad” to ask for $$. His mom was in the hospital, something was wrong with the baby. The stepdad was on his motorcycle but he didn’t have the $25.00 he needed for Omar’s mom. Whatever, we lent Omar the money and he said he would work it off. We knew he would.

His mother ended up losing the baby, say what you will but it was divine intervention. No child should ever be raised like Omar and his siblings are being raised. She needs to be spayed like all the dogs on the street.

Things at home were getting worse, Omar’s sister would call him during the day crying because she and the stepdad had a fight or the stepdad was drunk and they needed Omar to come home. It was awful , even worse when you realize there is a 13, a 6 and a 4 year old in the home.

Omar found out about an English school where he would learn to read and write English. He wanted to go and we encouraged him to do it. Our dream is for him to get a job on a cruise ship and get the hell away from his mother. He loved school and was eager to go every day. He told us how strict the teachers were, no messing around, no touching each other, no speaking Spanish in class, it was all good for him.

In this time frame his mom and step dad opened an illegal bar in their home. A perfect environment for a 4 and a 6 year old child to be in. Let me tell you this, their house has a few windows, most are broken, Omar shares a room with his siblings, none of them have beds. Much of the time they have no electricity or food. The kids have tattered clothing and no shoes. The younger daughter has a vacant look in her eyes, she’s not there.

I am not condemning poverty or dissing those who are poor. There is a huge difference between being poor and loving your kids and being poor and not giving a shit about them. Omar’s mother does not care. She cares about herself and her men. It’s so evident that it makes me sick.

He completed the first quarter of school and was so excited because they were having a graduation ceremony. He wanted us to come and we said we would. We got to the church early and asked where his mother was. He said she wasn’t coming, she was busy. Then he said, she doesn’t care about me. We tried to assure him that she did care but I think the words fell on deaf ears.

Omar got an award for perfect attendance, we were really proud of that. He also nailed his poem that he had to say from memory, in English. I thanked his teacher for all that she did for the kids. She knew who I was because we fit his class for TOM’s shoes.

School is on break now so Omar is here more than he’s not. He is a big help around here, he plays with the dogs, helps clean up, swims, he’s learned to clean the pool. Bill has been teaching him as many life skills as he can because the kids around here have no opportunity to learn any on their own.

Our company arrived Sat the 18th. They had been traveling overnight and were exhausted. They went to bed around 9 PM. Bill had just gotten in bed when his phone rang, it was 10:10. It was Omar’s older sister. Seems the stepdad and the younger sister got into another fight and Omar separated them and threw the stepdad out. OK, first of all, what mother allows her “husband” to physically fight with her 13 year old daughter and why does the stepdad always fight with her?? The stepdad was drunk, of course.

Omar went to bed. At some point the stepdad came back and hit Omar in the middle of the forehead with what was described as a bat. He was bleeding badly. After calling 2 uncles who refused to help, they called Bill. He got dressed right away and went to get Omar to take him to the hospital. When he got there and saw the injury he was stunned. His head was split open to the skull. That’s how hard he was hit. His mother didn’t go to the hospital but SHE SENT HER 6 YEAR OLD SON, HER 13 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER, HER 19 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND HER DAUGHTER’S 4 YEAR OLD SON. She sent the whole damn family but she stayed home. What mother stays home after her son has his skull laid open in an act of attempted murder? I want to hurt her.

The doctor at the hospital dropped the ball completely. He should have filed a report, the police should have come. He blew it. It was not reported. The lighting in the hospital was so bad that Bill had to use his cell phone flashlight so the doc could see to stitch up Omar’s head. He was given a prescription for antibiotics and sent home. Not a word was mentioned about the physical abuse or the attack. Bill took Omar and the kids home around 1 AM. His mother DID NOT GO WITH HIM TO THE HOSPITAL. How could she stay home and not know how badly her son was injured, really, how could she do that? I’m still horrified over this whole thing. She also did not go and get the antibiotics the next day and by 5 PM he still didn’t have them so we got them and took them to his house. He looked awful, I just hugged him. He was close to tears.

Supposedly the step dad was told to leave and not come back. That was Omar’s moms peace offering. Well, less than a week later, guess who’s back? Omar’s mom called the stepdad and asked him to come back, probably begged him to. She’s a tramp, no mincing words for me. I have not a speck of respect for that woman.

The other day Omar came here totally devastated. He said his mom doesn’t care at all about him and we didn’t say, “Oh yes she does.” It’s time for him to learn the ugly truth. I asked if the stepdad apologized and the response I got was “hmmph, never”. He and his older sister are getting a place and taking the younger sister and his older sister’s son with them. The 6 year old will stay with the mom.

The police know about it, word travels fast in a small community. Because Omar did not file a Denuncia (police report) in 24 hours, nothing can be done to his step dad, except the cops know what went on and that’s a good thing.

Yes, we live in Paradise, it’s beautiful here, as are MOST of the people. There are scum everywhere and here on this island and in many other 3rd world countries, things like this happen with not a second thought and that makes me sick to my stomach. His mother makes me sick to my stomach, she’s not really a mother, she is/was a birthing vessel. Her kids have no chance at all.

We are keeping an eye on Omar and his siblings. His mother will be very upset once he and the older sister leave because she will not have his income anymore.

I know many of you know who I’m talking about and are wondering why I am using this name, it’s to protect him and his siblings, so please don’t use his real name in any posts or comments.

Please keep these kids in your prayers, they need all the help they can get.

The “after company” let down

13179325_1264685736893509_4469429168352604729_n06/29/2016 Having company is wonderfully amazing, I really enjoy it, but it’s also a lot of work. I always go out of my way to show my guests a good time, making sure they see the highlights of the island, the must sees and must dos. Sometimes, more often than not, I am successful. I previously had company for almost 3 weeks, then they left, I had a 10 day break and then my youngest son and his friend Maureen came for 10 days. To say I was excited to see him is a bit of an understatement. I stood at the doors to the immigration building on high alert, waiting to catch a glimpse. I told Kevin, an airport employee who was at the door with me, that I was waiting for my son and he kept asking did I see him yet (at least I think that’s what he was saying, my Spanish sucks, as does his English)? I said, when you see tears (pointing to my cheeks) you’ll know it’s him. And yep, I cried when I saw him.

Trace and Maureen had traveled all night to get here, leaving Vancouver, BC, to Calgary, Alberta, spent a good part of the night in the Calgary airport, then Houston to Roatan. It was Trace’s second visit, Maureen’s first. Trace came in Jan 2015 and I think it rained almost every damn day he was here. This visit was the opposite. It was H O T. And H U M I D. Crazy humid.

Our plans were to go to West Bay Beach on Sunday to do some snorkeling and beach it for awhile. We got to the beach around 11 and started snorkeling right away. The first things of interest that I saw were some squid, I think there were 7. They are so cool, they change color if they feel threatened and they do a little “posturing.” Trace and Maureen were not very close to me, the squid were in the sandy shallows, Maureen was putting on her fins and it was just enough of a distraction to ruffle their tail feathers. Just a little bit, they didn’t move so they obviously were not threatened, which is good. I don’t make a habit out of threatening anything, in the sea or on land. Except Scorpions.

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They are Caribbean Reef Squid. They change color and camouflage quite well.

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Seriously, I could float there and watch them forEVAH!

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This was only the beginning of a great discovery day.

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A Christmas Tree Worm farm.

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Blue Tang. This is not Dory.

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Always a great find, this stunningly gorgeous French Angelfish. The yellow flecks almost glow.

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Hanging with the Tangs.

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Mr. Lips, Rainbow Parrot Fish

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Banded Butterfly Fish

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Can you find the Scorpion fish? His tail is black and white and his nose is in the middle left of the photo. Yes, poisonous if you step on him. Another damn good reason to keep your feet up and not stand on or kick the coral.

In all my years of snorkeling and the years that I dove, I never saw a Scorpion fish, they are so well camouflaged. And isn’t it odd that at my age I can find something like that WITHOUT corrective lens. The mysteries never end.

After we snorkeled we went to Bananarama Beach and Dive Resort and hung out, had lunch there too.

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Trace and Maureen

Nights were spent on the roof or the porch. We mostly hung out, ate and talked.

Monday eve there was a Full Moon, Summer Solstice party at Wendy and Andrew’s lovely home situated high on a hillside overlooking the azure North shore in Punta Blanca. There was a large crowd there, nice to visit and chat with everyone. They served Greek chicken and pork souvlaki’s. Excellent. There was a huge variety of other foods there and then Wendy made to TO DIE FOR FLAN CAKE. It was about 24″ in diameter and absolutely perfect. Perfect, not a crumb out of place. I could have laid down on the floor and had someone feed me ALL of that FLAN. You know it must have been good because I rarely speak of food. It doesn’t interest me. We had an excellent meal, hung out until we had to leave to come home and feed the dogs. Yes, I’m the one that leaves the party because my dogs are hungry. It’s their dinnertime. No, they can’t wait.

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Wendy and Andrew’s large porch, it’s beautiful. Trace and Maureen in the lower left.

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Marilyn and I, photo by Maureen, I believe.

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Roger, Jeanie’s husband, and Bill.

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Their view and pool. Pretty nice…

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Francie and Franklin sitting down by the pool. Lovebirds.

The next day we went to the Iguana Farm and checked out the lizards. There were lizards everywhere. Sam said it’s still mating season so they haven’t stopped fighting over the women. Some looked rather battle weary.

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This is a Black Spiny Tailed iguana. They are indigenous to Roatan. This one and all the ones they could find were tagged by National Geo, they are studying them. They have a blue chip in their necks. The Roatan spiny tailed lizards are endangered and protected.

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This is a female Iguana. I’m so excited, I can tell which is which. Every time I go there I learn something new about the Iguanas.

After we left there we went to Little French Key. This is somewhere I stopped going for many reasons but I did want Trace and Maureen to enjoy it. I’ll be going again with Chance and the girls. I was obviously un-enthused since I only took 1 photo while there.

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Maureen jumping off the Bottom’s Up Bar ledge.

That evening we went to Isery, the closed nightclub that was owned and financed by a big shot with the Sinaloa drug cartel. We planned on just taking pics but the guard gave us the grand tour. And I mean tour, we saw every inch of that place. A freaking mazing.

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ISERY, the club that never was.

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In the US something like this rigging would never be allowed, especially at a bar. This is an insurance nightmare.

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And it was easy to get to if you wanted to climb it. I could very quickly have accessed it. I didn’t.

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Authentic right down to the portholes

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Mural in one of the several bars

We were given tickets to opening night, which never happened, shot glasses and maybe a turtle.

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a ticket

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I blocked out the guy who gave it to me, don’t want him shot by anyone over a partially rotted turtle. Hence the name is Sinaloa.

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They obviously had a load of fireworks. Good thing they are illegal here.

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Trace

It was really interesting inside of there, I think this place will end up vandalized to the point that it collapses. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. It’s an eyesore.

One morning Trace, Maureen and I walked out on Oak Ridge Bight, the kids walked to the end and I stopped and chatted with Sandy Byrd. After that we went and found Everald for a Mangrove tour.

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Photo by Maureen

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Photo by Maureen

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Photo by Maureen of our guide Everald.

Wednesday eve we all went to Cal’s for dinner. Haven’t been for a few weeks, although, we stopped earlier that day and I cleaned his cats ears. The view was great, a beautiful night, I am such a slacker lately with photos, I apologize. I think I get burned out.

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My only photo at Cal’s

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Thursday we rode out to La Sirena. Trace and Maureen rode in the back like rednecks on their collapsible chairs. We stopped at Roger and Jeanie’s on the way out. I wanted T & M to see their house, named Hell with a View. It’s so cool! We won’t mention the sunburned tops of their feet from riding in the truck. Their idea. .

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Barbon Beach

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La Sirena, the sign is right. Also, the BEST onion rings.

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T & M

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This beach girl needs some TLC. I planned to go out Monday but we ended up laying low and keeping T & M out of the sun. She is starving and has a sore ear and recently had puppies. She needs spayed desperately.

Friday was BJ’s and the day before my friend Marilyn left the island for 2 months. I had to go to see her before she went to the US. Trace, Maureen and I drove out to Pandytown to see if school was in session, it wasn’t, so we just headed to BJ’s. They had quite a good crowd and as usual, it’s always fun to be there.

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Trace and Maureen taking pics.

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Marilyn

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Selfie by Maureen, love this photo of the two of them.

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Marilyn, Me, Trace and Maureen. Thanks Andrew for taking the pic.

That evening Trace and Maureen had Bill drop them at Cal’s for dinner. They ended up getting their food to go because the flies were so bad and they walked home and ate here. There must have been a hatch, they’re not usually very bad.

Sunday was funday at The Reef House resort. We got to BJ’s around 1 and were waiting for a boat to take us over when John and Debbie passed by. They stopped and picked us up and we were off for a day of fun in the water. I was extremely happy because my partner in crime has returned to the island, the Duchess of Camp Bay is back!

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Franklin, Mike and Francie. Nice legs Francie!!

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If ever there were sirens, we would be them. Francie, Jeanie and me.

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All with matching rafts

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Trace, chilling

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Scotty C (who provided the music for the day) and Jeanie doing yoga with Kathy looking on.

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And we planked, of course. Karen, Barbie, Kathy, me and Jeanie

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Yep, the water is that blue.

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If only I knew what the hell Gail and Francie were doing.

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Serious trouble in the tie dyed shirt with more trouble looking over his shoulder. Kelly and Terry.

Monday was Mondays Don’t Suck but the kids had enough sun and wanted to just hang out here instead of going anywhere. Since it was their last day here, that’s just what we did.

The day guests leave is always a drag. You sit around and wait for the time to take them to the airport. Their flight was at 1 so we got to the airport around 11 and the United line was long, as was the immigration line to leave. Once they were checked in we ran into Coxen Hole to the meat market and got dog meat. Well, meat for the dogs, 3# of heart and liver. That should keep the boys and girl well fed for awhile.

We then took the kids back to the airport and through tears I said good bye. More than anything in the world I hate saying goodbye to my kids. I wish they were here or I was there, I never ever get tired of being with them and miss them so damn much.

We were in Madeyso waiting to buy screws and bolts and stuff when I heard their plane fly over on it’s way back to the USA.

In 2 weeks Chance and his family will be here, I am so excited for that. We can’t wait to see the girls. It will be their first island visit, hopefully the first of many!

I’ll leave with a few pics of the water dogs. Oh my gosh, they LOVE the pool.

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Gringo, Barrio and Max

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Barrio and Max, they fight even when they are swimming.

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If you’re not going in the pool, you have to stay out. Highway loves to swim but has a hard time getting up the steps so he stays out. And whines.

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Otters

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A lucky shot (no skill involved) of Barrio

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Barrio and Gringo

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Barrio

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Fabulous mangoes, thanks Jaw!

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Some dogs sleep with stuffed toys, mine sleep with coconuts.

I’ll leave you with this post I found on VRBO about a house that is for rent here on the island. Seriously? You post this on VRBO? Obviously this homeowner has a serious issue with prostitutes. My question is: How do they determine if someone is a prostitute? Medical exam before you can rent? Police record? I died laughing a few times over this. What if their grandmother WAS a prostitute but stopped hooking, is she allowed to stay there?

Only guests disclosed to us are eligible to stay on the property. If the property is already at the maximum, the guests will be asked to leave by security no exceptions. If the property is not at its maximum, and “additional” guests arrive, the per guest fee changes from $55 to $100/per night per guest. Prostitutes are not allowed to be at the property at any time. No exceptions.

I’ll be back soon, I’ve got more to say about something very ugly.