Almost a century

 

beach-body

02/22/2017 I have been lost in space the last several weeks, seems like months since I blogged. I’ve had company and a sick dog but all is now well and we are enjoying day visits with new friends. I’ve been to Calabash, Camp Bay, West Bay and West End, even made a few stops in Sandy Bay to see friends.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t filled you in on the Pirate party, it was held at a different spot this year because Franklin and Francie sold their fabulous home where the previous parties were and set sail for a year or more (boo) in the Caribbean. This year it was in the Calabash area again, on the water @ Andy’s home. I was “picked up” by Franklin and Francie for the ride out to Calabash. The road left a lot to be desired, although the location was very nice, right on the water, it did make up for the lousy road. It was a fun party but was not quite as epic as last year’s.

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Llyn reading a farewell poem to Francie and Franklin. She was followed by Rosalie who also wrote them a poem. Sad, I had tears in my eyes.

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Cindy Macy is flipping me the bird.

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Carmen, enjoying herself as usual. I love this girl.

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Jeanie, Carmen and Cindy who is hiding in the tree.

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Brett, Carmen’s husband, and me.

Lots of my friends were there and the Bobby Reiman band was playing tunes. Needless to say, we partied, danced and planked. Of course we did. What’s a party without pirate plankers?

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Martina, Marilyn, me, Francie and Jonna

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Carmen, Jeanie, Pam, Marilyn, kissing me and Francie.

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Jonna, Marilyn, Francie, Martina, Karen and me on the dock

I’m not sure who I handed my camera to when we planked, it was one of those moments, “here take a pic of us being awesome.” It may have been Brian Boyer.

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Me, dancing my way down the dock.

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Front to back, and I’m guessing because I can only see butts and arms. Me, Marilyn, Pam, ? Jeanie, Cindy, ? Wendy and Heather. Maybe. It was fun anyhow, always.

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We danced.

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The most famous and well loved Pirates of Calabash, Franklin and Francie. Their faces sure are missed. Love you both big time.

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Having just lost a pair of prescription sunglasses I was very cautious not to forget these. It was a perfect resting spot while we danced.

Nothing beats hanging out with your friends and being crazy. I’m so thankful for the friends here on the rock, such a great group of peeps.

I was invited to a luncheon at my friend Milesse’s. She is the one who owns Barefoot Cay. Since the place changed ownership she gave up her condo there and moved into a friends guest house in Sandy Bay. This is no ordinary guest house, it’s AMAZING. The place is decorated perfectly, everything about it is stunning, which is no surprise. Milesse’s previous place was pretty stellar also. There were just a few of us there, we enjoyed a great lunch and wine, of course. Then we had dessert and some more wine down on the palapa over the ocean.

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The vaulted ceiling

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Kitchen

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I fell in love with the wall sconces

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Sunroom

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View from the palapa

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Drinking some water that was poured over the spilled wine

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Tidepools

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The guest house, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. Every bedroom has a private porch and an amazing bathroom.

It was a fun day spent with some of my favorite ladies.

A friend and I met at Cal’s one afternoon, and over a glass of wine we discussed how to best help Alexi and his family (not mother). Alexi is living at the Bomberos (fire department) and he said they didn’t have much food. My friend donated a big box of food for them and I went to the store and bought them all sorts of food items and powdered drink mixes. Their fridge was well stocked and the guys were very grateful.

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This is the kitchen at the fire station

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Some of the food for them.

We were hoping they didn’t eat all of the food in one sitting, Alexi reassured me they didn’t.

I met Jessica at her school, paid for the matriculation fee and the first Q. After we were finished there we went to the store and bought backpacks for her and Osman. When I was taking her home we saw Ephraim, he was on lunch break.

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I gave him his new backpack that was given to me for him. I was also given bags of clothes for him, Osman and the girls.

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Osman with his new backpack. Both of the packs were filled with school supplies brought by John and Lizeth! Thanks you two!

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This is Alexi’s mothers home. She and her idiot boyfriend and Ephraim live upstairs. Jessica, Julianna and Osman live in 2 rooms downstairs. The lower level has no windows, breaks my heart that children live like this.

Osman was not in school when I gave him his backpack. I asked why. Jessica said he didn’t have shoes. We bought his clothes and backpack and gave him donated supplies. His mother has internet on her phone, her mom’s boyfriend got a new motorcycle but nobody has $15.00 to buy the boy shoes. Bill and I decided we had to step away, we will continue to take care of Jessica and Alexi but the whole situation with the mother is just too much. We are afraid she sells the things we give the kids, it’s happened before. We were told to be careful. Sometimes helping can backfire and with a mother as evil as theirs is, we need distance.

My friend Teri came to visit, she is Frito, the 3 legged wonder dogs Momma. The day after she arrived we went to Mondays Don’t Suck, of course. There was a small crowd there, always fun.

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The beach dogs. The black one was very sick looking. I didn’t see the pups the last two times I was there. I hope they are OK. These beach dogs are so sweet, I always take them food.

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What a gorgeous place

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Looking west towards Alligator Nose.

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I could photograph this forever.

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She claims she didn’t have a glass. As far as I’m concerned, a bottle is a glass.

The next day Teri and I went to Marcia and Dennis’s home to go kayaking. It was a nice day but pretty windy. Going to the mangroves required some effort on our part, coming back was a breeze with the wind at our backs.

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Entering the mangroves

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So pretty. The tunnels were made by the Paya indians a long time ago so they could go from place to place without going out in the open sea.

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Teri floating along

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On our way back

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Marcia and Dennis have one of Frito’s pups, Duke. Isn’t he handsome?

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Duke and his big sister Shay. Both sweet dogs and very loved.

That evening Teri and I went to Cal’s for dinner, yummy as usual. International Living asked if there was a local hangout that I would like to write a little blurb about, so I did one for Cal’s. It was just published in their March issue. I’m going to print it and laminate it for Carl.

cals

Teri and I hung around the house for a few days, pooling it with the dogs. On Saturday eve I was in bed and Bill came in and said Max puked. I came out and he had puked 2 puddles about 3′ in diameter, all over the floor and the one dog bed. We got it all cleaned up, hosed bed cover off to wash the next day, and I went back to bed.

Sunday Teri and I went to the Reef House for a party. The sky was looking ominous on our way there, I called Keith and Jimmy came to get us. It was starting to drizzle as the boat docked at the resort. I said to Teri, we better run it’s going to pour in minutes. 30 seconds later the sky opened and it poured. All of the people went into the dining room where it was nice and dry. Alex was playing outside so he moved all of his equipment inside. It was kind of crazy for ten minutes, the rain must have made everyone realize they needed a drink because Keith was slammed. Teri and I finally got drinks and settled into chairs. Soon after that, the rain stopped and the sun came out, people slowly migrated outside again.

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After the downpour

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The “pool”

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Not a huge crowd but a good one due to the weather.

When we got home Bill said Max puked again, a lot. Now I was worried, he wasn’t eating or drinking and we hadn’t seen him poop. I was giving him pedialyte and water with a syringe and we held back food for 24 hours to give his stomach time to settle. He was having difficulty walking and had no energy. My vet doesn’t come until Wednesdays. Tuesday morning I took him to Doc Calderon’s office, my friend was going to start a saline IV to keep him hydrated. When we got there, he actually seemed better and we decided not to do the IV and I would just see doc in the morning.

On Tuesday afternoon Teri and I ran to West End, she needed to get a few things to take home.

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Loved this piece of a man in a Speed-o.

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Awesome floor

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Nidia scored some of these awesome maps. They are on canvas, plan to get mine stretched and mounted.

We stopped and saw my other family at Blue Island Divers, love all the people there, really amazing group. After that, I took Teri to the sloth farm. Now she wants a monkey and maybe a sloth. Daniel Johnson has such a fabulous place for his animals, they are so well taken care of.

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Monkey talk

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These two jumped on Teri from up high, causing her to scream.

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Male sloth hidden in the trees.

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I love sloths, so amazing. Their only defense is camouflage.

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One of the sloth whisperers. The sloths are not caged, they just stay in the trees.

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Gorgeous parrot

I was at the vets at 6:30 Wed. morn with Max. Doc called Bethany around 7 to translate for my friend KJ (who was there w/ her dog) and me. He drew blood and checked him to make sure he wasn’t bloated, checked for hard masses/lumps, took his temp, all ok. I took the blood to the lab to get it tested, making sure they knew it was for a perro, dog. I then came home and waited until Teri was packed and ready to go and I drove her to the airport. She was headed home to see Frito, who she missed terribly. Then I drove towards home, stopped at the lab and got the results from the blood test. I went back to my house, picked up Max and drove back to Doc’s. He read the test results and said Max is anemic and has ehrlichia, which is a tick borne disease. I don’t get it because they all get monthly flea and tick meds and heartworm medicine, like clockwork. Max was given 2 shots by Doc and he is on doxy and prednisone. He is slowly feeling better.

I stayed home the rest of the week and read by the pool with the dogs, keeping an ever vigilante eye on Max.

On Monday my friend Ann came down to our house and rode with Carmen, Brett and me to Mondays Don’t Suck. It was a fabulous day on the beach with a great group of people. The water was crystal clear with small waves. It was postcard beautiful.

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AMAZING

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My twin Ann, strolling down the beach

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Boundless beauty

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Flags proudly flying

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Beach dogs. I put dry food on the big leaves, the pups were not around this time.

I gave more school supplies to Eddie’s brothers, Milton, David and Lester.

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Such cute boys. Being raised by their grandparents

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The one in red is a year older than the one in the skull shirt. Thanks again Lizeth and John.

I still have crayons and pencils and that cute raincoat to give out. I’ll do that soon.

I have been in touch with Jessica’s teacher and she has been going to school daily. I’m anxious to talk to her and see how it’s going. I’m so happy she is back in school, it gets her out of that horrible environment for a few hours a day.

I expect we will soon be delivering TOMS shoes, it’s that time of year again. The people from Live Again Ministries are coming as are our good friends Brian and Addy from Canada. Looking forward to seeing them all again. It’s always a pleasure to have Pastor Ronny and the gang come to help, fantastic group of people.

It looks like it’s going to be a busy summer, visitor wise again. Three of the people are repeat visitors, three of them are new to the rock. I always love showing newbies around!

My last thought for the night; my Father just turned 96 on Feb 17th. NINETY SIX YEARS OLD. He has lived on this earth almost 100 years. I see the subtle changes every year when I visit, see him slowly, mentally slipping away. He was always such a strong figure in our family, someone you could always go to and get the best damn advice ever. He was always right. I was, and still am so fortunate to have this amazing man as my Father. I wish him many more happy birthdays!

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Victor @ 95

It’s time for me to stop typing and go to bed, going on 8 PM, close to bed time. I will make a conscious effort to be more timely with my blabbing. I still have a lot to say. Life is never boring.

 

The good, the bad and the ugly.

awesome

01/31/2017 When the weather has been crappy for so long and then it gets nice, $hit starts happening and it gets downright exciting here on the rock. We had Francie and Franklin over for Bill’s signature pizza, which he had made the day before while I was running around with Jason and Alex. We sat by the pool and sipped wine for awhile, then went up to the porch to have salads and pizza. As usual, the pizza was the bomb, there were only 2 small pieces left from 2 big pizza’s. Old Kentucky Bourbon chocolates from our Kentucky friends were dessert. Thank you John and Lizeth for the yummies. I am eating the last one right now. And Francie and Franklin, you are missed already. {They took off last week to spend some time on their new boat  yacht. They’ll be cruising around wherever they want to for the next year or so.}

I met Jason (IL) at Barefoot Cay on Thursday morning for a tour with my wonderful friend Milesse. Milesse is one of the founding owners of this exquisite small boutique resort on it’s own private cay.  We started with a tour of the resort. Having been there many times before, I thought I knew the resort rather well, I didn’t. Milesse pointed out so many things, took us into the rooms, behind the closed doors, laundry, food storage, into the villas and into the condos above the dive shop. I wrongly assumed the places above the dive shop were nice, clean little rooms for divers. So wrong. They are elegant condos overlooking the water that separates the dive shop from the cay. There is nothing plain about any of the rentals. They all emanate subdued elegance.

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From there we went over to the palapa where you can enter the water to snorkel or lay on the hammocks and swing in the breeze.

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The color of this water is why I moved to Roatan.

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Not sure what this is.

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Very nice villa with a kitchen, 2 nice bedrooms w/ AC and baths, and this porch, overlooking the 3 steps to the beach. Paradise.

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Your private beach!

We walked all around the cay and saw where they will do a few more rentals. They won’t overpopulate or change the atmosphere of the resort, they have a lot of unused land. BFC has become Barefoot Luxury and will seek out new locations in the Caribbean to open dive shops or a new boutique resort or both.

When we were finished with our tour we went to the second level of the restaurant and had watermelon smoothies. They were extremely refreshing! It’s always pleasant spending time with Milesse,  getting to do it at the resort is like icing on the cake.

From BFC Jason and I went to French Cay to Arch’s Iguana and Marine Preserve. My friends own the iguana park and I am blessed to have become family with the Arch’s.  They are a very cool, well known and respected island family. The Arch family patrols the Marine Park Reserve which is right off of their docks, 24/7. It’s all protected waters with no fishing allowed and people still poach at night, stealing small conch and baby lobsters. It’s a never ending thankless job. People that do this stuff either don’t care or don’t understand that they are ruining the future of these sea critters. Kill the babies and you’ll have no adults. such bad behavior.

Jason and I got to visit with the iguanas, see the babies and let the big guys crawl across our feet.

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So many baby iguanas. They are caged until they are around 18 months old. If they weren’t caged, the chickens and birds and black spiny tailed iguanas (carnivorous) would eat them, few would survive.

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Yep, I allow warm iguana bellies on my feet.

Just as we were finished looking at the babies, Sam came. He took us out on his boat (that he and his father built) Miss French Cay. We were in the area that he protects, down to Fantasy Island, CocoView and back. It was simply gorgeous on the shimmering sea.

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Some of the boats in the cay. The water in the cay is protected by the reef,  many boats safely anchor there.

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CoCo View. The most returned to dive resort in the Caribbean. My friend Andrea is the nurse there.

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Under the bridge

We left there and drove straight to our house. I wanted to show Jason the view from our roof, which is amazeballs. We, along with all 5 dogs, went up there, he took some photos and then we left for the quick drive to Cal’s for lunch.

When we got there I told Carl (owner of Cal’s) who I was with. He actually smiled. If you know Carl, a smile is a big deal. Jason and I had a great meal, I saw some friends there and we also saw Paul, a gringo who Jason interviewed on Tuesday. When we went to pay, Reynaldo said Carl got the bill. Super nice of him, not necessary, but appreciated.

Feeling satiated, we went straight to Daniel Johnson’s Sloth and Monkey Hang-out. Daniel wasn’t there when we got there, they said he was just at lunch. Stephanie (Daniel’s GF) had our name on the sheet and we were given a guide and taken in. It was later in the day so the sloth’s were sleeping in the trees but we could easily see them. Some of the monkeys were running helter skelter on the roof, sounding like rhinoceros. The monkeys all get 2 hours a day out of their cages (in pairs, not all at once). The guide took us in the cages with the huge Macaws. These birds are magnificent. Now, let me say, I’m not a bird person. I used to lock myself in the bathroom when my mother let her damn parakeets out to fly around the kitchen. Here I am in a cage with birds bigger than my head. Just then Daniel came and he stepped into the cage with us. They held a sunflower seed over my head and the freaking bird landed on my head, 2 TIMES. I ask Daniel if it was going to poop on me and he said, you never know. Great, thanks.

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Monkeys climbing high

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Beautiful bird

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The colors are brilliant

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These birds were all rescued

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Jason holding one of the macaws

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Not what I imagined doing that day

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Walk like an Egyptian

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A sleeping sloth

Daniel talked to us about his next project which is to make his cages much larger and taller than they currently are and to move a few things around. He has a nice operation and he takes impeccable care of the animals. He is Sam Arch’s cousin, small island.

Jason had another appointment in West End at 3ish and I had volunteered to drive him back to the other end of the island. Once I dropped him off I called my friend Ann and ran up and said hello, she’s my twin, in case you didn’t know that.

On Saturday Jeanie and Roger came here and we all rode together to Trish and Dave’s home in Sandy Bay. Trish and Dave were headed back to Canada the 23rd. We had a nice dinner, enjoying the amazing view. Once it started to get dark, we left for home. I never had the tint removed from my windshield, it’s pretty dark and makes a night drive similar to driving at night with almost dead flashlights. Plus, the Duchess and husband still had to drive to Hell with a View in Camp Bay.

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We ate dinner out here, gazing over the north shore

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Beautiful

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Never ending beauty

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The Duchess having a chat with Santiago, her watchie man.

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My twin Ann’s house is partially visible from Trish’s deck. She lives the next hill to the east.

This is part of the mess we came home to. Barrio and Highway were left inside. Aside from the bottle of Black Seed Oil that Barrio chewed up on top of the ottoman, he also destroyed a styrofoam egg carton. This really isn’t a big deal, but I never buy eggs in styrofoam, only in a cardboard flat of 30. I then transfer them to the styrofoam containers because they fit in my fridge so much easier.

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I found the GLASS dropper from this 2 days later. So happy he didn’t get hurt but not sure how he got the screw top lid off.

Sunday was a day at home. I did go to Mega Paca in the morning but then stayed here all day, we had several workers so I stuck around and made sure things I wanted done were getting done.

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Alexi finishing the barbed wire top of the fence. he also wrapped the rubber tree branches in barbed wire, it will thwart any would be thieves for sure.

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One of the things Bill and Miguel did was put the top forms on the concrete gate posts. Now to get them finished. The gate does open with a remote now, no more getting out of the car and opening or closing it. SO MUCH BETTER.

The school bells are once again ringing for the island kids, they are on break Nov-Feb. This year Alexi will be going to a different school, one he needs to go to for the Bomberos (fire fighters) that is held every Sunday in Punta Gorda. He needs new school shoes, we are taking some of his pay every week and holding it for him so he has some money to buy things he needs. If he has money, his mother “borrows” it and never repays him, of course. We are going to open a bank account once he gets ID. He has never had any because it requires his mother to actually do something to get it. Jessica, his younger sister is going to go to the English school that Alexi went to the last 2 years. She needs everything for school except undershirts and socks which Julie and Robby brought for her already. Alexi’s brother and nephew both need school clothes also. I don’t know if it’s me and my attitude or what but it pisses me off that Alexi’s lazy assed “mother” will not spend one penny for her kids to go to school. If someone else doesn’t cough up the money, so sad, too bad, they don’t go. This will be Jessica’s first year back to school after not going for a couple years because her mother wouldn’t buy the uniforms and supplies that she needed. In her defense (and believe me, the last thing I would ever do is stick up for the lousiest mother of the year award winner) the uniforms are expensive. We spent $100 USD on 2 pair of dark blue pants, 2 white short sleeved shirts, a pleated skirt for Jessica and a pair of slip on black shoes for her and socks for the boys. We also got them each writing notebooks that they needed. $100.00. A hundred dollars to get kids almost ready for back to school is nothing for people who have a little money but for the majority of people on the island, it is a LOT of money. Now remember, many families have MANY children (hello birth control?) and they can’t afford the uniforms so the kids don’t go to school. In a country with such an overpopulation of children and extreme poverty in the majority of the communities, why the hell do they have to wear uniforms? How does that change their  learning capabilities?

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Jessica and Efraim, he’s trying on a shirt for school.

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Bill bought the boys each a bag of peanuts.

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Osman on the L and Efraim on the R. Efraim is Alexi’s brother to a different father and Osman is Juliana’s 5 year old son.

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We bought local and went to Oak Ridge to Clifford’s store. he is the Vice Mayor of Santos Guardiola and a really nice man. He helps Nidia out a lot.

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A motorcycle coming down the hill and 3 guys on horses. It’s the wild wild west.

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Efraim

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Osman

We dropped Juliana and the boys off at a seamstress in Politilly. The boys both needed their pants shortened and tucks put into the waist. Hopefully they will get 2 years out of the pants. We didn’t buy them big on purpose, they were the 2 smallest pair they had.

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This door is on the second story of a house by the seamstress.

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Jessica and a friend’s baby.

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Efraim and Osman on the porch where the seamstress lives.

When we were leaving Politilly we had to slow down to go around a motorcycle on the road. When we got right up to it Bill said, “well, look who it is.” It was Alexi’s poor excuse of a mother and her boyfriend who beat Alexi. She probably knew the kids were with us and that we were buying them school clothes but she never even said thank you. We should have knocked them over. Or run them over. I turned my head, I was afraid of what I would say. If she cared at all, just one tiny little speck of care, I wouldn’t feel so upset by her, but she doesn’t. She just does not give one $hit about the kids she brought into this world.

It’s all about the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m trying to make peace with it, I struggle.

 

 

On the go again

 

summer

01/26/2017 I’ve been so busy having fun that I forgot about this blog. Not really, but I’m good at putting it in the back of my mind while there is partying to do. And there was partying.

I went to a great party in Port Royal at the lovely property owned by Mel and John. They have put so much hard labor into this piece of property, in the year since the last time I was there, the changes are amazing. This was an undeveloped piece of land situated right at the water’s edge. They have built a large boat dock there and they are still living in their boat while building and working on their land. They have a bodega with a living roof and an awesome casita called Casita Lisa, named for Mel’s BFF. There is a beautiful hand laid stone path winding down from the casita  towards the water. The spot for their home is ready and waiting to be built on. I rode out with Francie and Franklin, it’s a long drive on some rough road. We went to the landing in Port Royal and got a ride with Maggie and Norm on their boat, along with Deanna and Roger and Jeanie. It was a great day with wonderful friends.

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A real cow skull on the front of the living roof.

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Fabulous old canoe, think this was given to them by Franklin and Francie

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This is the roof of the bodega (storage building)

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The crowd and the food table

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Jeanie, Francie and I sat on this bench for awhile and chatted about..life.

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The amazing trees next to their property. I hope nobody ever cuts these down. I was told that pirates used to seek out these trees because they could find “sweetwater” near them.  I think they are some type of cypress tree.

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Francie and Jeanie

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This says it all

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Roger and Jeanie on the boat

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Francie, Me, Roger and Jeanie with Heather in the back

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The boathouse next to the dock we tied up to.

They had BBQ beef and pork and even though I don’t eat meat, I did and loved it. We left late afternoon for the loooong drive home.

On Friday the 13th I decided to push my luck and go diving with my friends Eric and Carly who own Blue Island Divers in Sandy Bay. I have not gone diving since I hurt my foot on Oct. 6th. It was time. After the 5 shots to the ankle it was feeling pretty darn good. I had my friend Carmen’s dive gear to use. She has company for the forseeable future and then they head back to the states so she decided I may as well use it. I got to the dive shop and Eric checked out my gear, got everything ready and we left in the boat. There were 3 other divers with us besides Eric, Carly and I. One was the new DM, Pauli, and a couple and another guy. We got to the spot and fell overboard, waiting for everyone to get in the water before descending. I have used the same mask since the end of Feb 2008. I bought it then while in Curacao with Olivia. It cost $40.00. The last time I dove with it the mask was fine, no fog, no leak. Perfect.

I was having difficulty equalizing and had to ascend a bit before I could clear my ears. Plus, my mask was filling with water. I got my ears equalized and descended with Eric. My mask was like a funnel, I must have cleared the damn thing a dozen times. As soon as I would get it cleared, it filled up again. It reminded me of a situation when we were getting certified. I had a mask with a big profile, it held a LOT of water. We found this out while doing the mask clearing part of our certification. I took my mask off underwater, put it back on, cleared it but couldn’t get all of the water out so I sat on the bottom of the YMCA pool w/ a regulator in my mouth and my mask filled with water. I was fine, just chilling, waiting for the instructor to make his rounds. He came to me and gave me the “up” signal. He asked what I was doing and I told him I couldn’t get all the water out and he said, “so you’re going to sit there with a mask full of water?” Yep, I was. He gave me a different mask, I went back underwater and cleared it immediately. This is what happened diving this time. After clearing it so many times I said, screw it, just dive. So I finished the dive with my mask 1/2 full of water. My dive kind of sucked, had to keep my head in a certain position and didn’t want to go to the surface because, well, I just didn’t. I was pissed. And I had a major head full of snot. UGH! New mask is on the horizon.

After my dive I went up to Ann’s house. I’m so glad she lives close to Blue Island because I may not get to see her very much if she didn’t. We ran and grabbed lunch, I took her home and made the drive east myself. Not bad driving east at days end, you don’t have to fight the blinding sun like you do when you drive west.

Bill and I went to Chuck and Nancy’s house for drinks and dinner one evening. They live 4 minutes away. We were joined by Lynda and Dave and Don and Janice. (thank you for the CD Lynda)

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Nancy, me, Lynda and Janice (Lynda’s photo)

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Drinks on the deck overlooking Milton Bight

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Drinks, see my Mermaid cups? One for wine and one for water. {Thanks to Julie Bennett. }

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The view

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The tree in the center of their circle

Earlier in the month I was contacted by my friend Amanda Walkins who used to live in Scotland but she and her Irish Colombian husband recently moved to Ireland. Amanda has a boring life. NOT. This girl travels and she writes. This is sort of how we met. Anyhow, she emailed me and asked if I would be interested in meeting Jason Holland. Jason is the Latin American editor for International Living (IL). Jason was going to be visiting Roatan in the near future.

I said of course I would. I asked my friend Alex Poirier to join us. Alex is a Buyer’s Agent and has been here for a long time, he has a boat and is a buyers agent for the realtors on the island. Jason wanted a tour of Port Royal and the waterways surrounding and Alex was going to do that.

Alex and his wife (and my partner in crime) Marilyn and I picked Jason up a few days after he arrived. We showed him some properties for sale, showed him Pristine Bay, Havana Beach, went to Eldon’s, to new areas being developed and we showed him a home for sale. After that we went to the dock, jumped in their boat and went to Alex and Marilyn’s house for a drink.

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Jason and Marilyn. It was so windy his shirt was filled with air!

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CBYC Calabash Bight Yacht Club, AKA Alex and Marilyn’s home

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Alex, Jason and I at CBYC

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Their miserable view. (it’s gorgeous) The house on the hill to the right of the mast is my friend Kathy’s. Rumor has it there is also a Pizza Hut (sic) somewhere on that mountain side.

After that Alex, Jason and I did a tour in the boat. We would have gone down to Port Royal but the ocean was rather pissy that day, it was blowing hard with good sized waves.

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Calabash Bight

Alex would need to stay inside the reef and you can’t do that to go where we wanted to. So we went back to the car and drove there. On the way to the landing in Port Royal, we stopped at Martina’s restaurant and B&B. O M G. Martina makes these curly fries from potatoes she spiral slices very thin. Again, O M G. We also had Jerk Chicken Tenders that were absolutely delicious. If you are ever on the road to Port Royal or in Camp Bay, go to Martina’s, yummy stuff. Or spend some time there, the rooms are nice, she cooks for you and it’s a very tranquil setting.

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The view from Martina’s deck

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Beautiful shrubbery surrounds the property

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The dining area

With full bellies we left Martina’s for the boat landing. There we grabbed her skiff and went to Port Royal the short way. We were headed to Kim and Joe Wonder’s house on the water.

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Martina’s boat. From here we could reach our destination and still remain inside the reef.

Kim and Joe live totally off the grid. They have their own electric and water and with boat access only, they have become very adept shoppers. So unlike me who forgets so much shit that I sometimes travel to the store a few times a day or I talk Bill into going for me. Their home is very nicely done, amazing bathrooms (main home and guest house) it’s well taken care of, everything looks new. Honestly, the view literally takes your breath away. AND, it’s for sale. They want to go out on their big boat and do some live aboard traveling. Here is the link to this gorgeous home: http://www.islandrealestate.com/view/roatan-home-4354/  Check it out and spread the word.

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Their home, guest house to the R in the photo.

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It’s a very nice home, I could easily live there.

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This is their boat, Sea Song. They will be traveling in her when they leave.

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Seriously. This is their view. How stunning is that, looking right at the cow and the calf. Excellent snorkeling right in their front yard.

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Some of the Yabba Ding Ding Kim and Joe have found over the years. Left over from the pirate days.

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Glistening water

After we did the Port Royal tour we drove Jason out by La Sirena in Camp Bay and then turned around to make the long, into the sun, drive west.

I hope Jason had a good time. There were still a few things I wanted to show him so we made arrangements to meet on Thursday morning for a little tour of my favorite places. Unfortunately, we did not make it to my favorite place on the east end, the beach on the moon. Maybe another time.

Wrapping this up because I need sleep. These past few parties (in the next blog) have worn me out.

Come back soon.

Another year, another birthday

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01/13/2017 To me, the New Year means another birthday. Having my birthday on Jan. 3rd has always been sort of lackluster. Everyone is still in the NYE hangover phase, struggling to write the correct date when they go back to work, worrying about taking down the tree and putting all the decorations away. Me? I’m over here going, yep, another year bites the dust. I don’t feel my age most of the time but there are days when it’s a neon sign right on the WTF lines between my eyes.

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Just in case you didn’t already know this.

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Google remembered my birthday.

A couple weeks ago the klutz in me resurfaced. I was going down the back steps, they are wooden and shaded and slippery as hell, just like ice. Yep, all 5 dogs around me and I fell. My left leg was under me and I landed on it. Cue knee replacement pain. OMG. I finished what I was doing and came in and had a time out with a bag of frozen peas. I’m sure it’s OK, it’s metal to begin with, I’m damn near bionic. I must have cursed a blue streak because two of the dogs were terrified.

We finally had some sunshine and I totally absorbed every ray I could get. I read a book the first day, front to back, then I started another. This was pretty much my rhythm for the week, the dogs and I were in heaven once again.

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Lola, Gringo and Barrio, working on their tan lines.

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My handsome boy Barrio. He was the only pup I was going to keep. See how well that worked out?

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The jungle guards, Highway, Gringo and Maxillicious

I was introduced via FB to a vet from California who brought HeartGard meds to donate. Dirk and his wife Patti came over to give me the meds and meet the dogs. Bill knows a lady who loves her pets but can’t afford to get veterinary care so once the road down to her house is fixed we will start dispensing the meds there. Thank you Dirk and Patti, we’ll be able to help several dogs with the meds you donated.

On Tuesday the 3rd I went to see my orthopedic doc @ Cemesa Hospital about my re-sprained foot (from the slip on the stairs) and to talk about removing the alien. When I got there and checked in they said he wasn’t coming. WHAT? Obviously he had an emergency surgery at the other hospital so they rescheduled me for Wednesday. I arrived early Wednesday and he was ready and waiting for me. He said to remove the alien from my ankle that he can give me a local, slice the ankle, remove the screw and sew it back up in 15 minutes, I just have to schedule that with a days notice being necessary. Yes, a DAY. He also gave me an anti-inflammatory shot in 5 different places where my leg meets my ankle to see if he could settle this down. It finally is feeling better and I can walk without a limp.

Thursday our friends from Kentucky (who arrived on Sat. and were staying in West Bay) were heading down to this end of the island and they stopped by. It’s really funny how we met. I was working at the airport, walking around chatting with people and I had a name tag on. I spoke to this woman and she said, “You’re Mermaid on a Raft aren’t you?” From that point on we were friends. John and Lizeth are wonderful people and we can’t wait until they finally make the move. Last time they were here John’s sister and brother-in-law were with them. We all went to La Sirena for the afternoon. This visit they brought their son Philip who is a junior at Rochester Institute of Technology, super nice, handsome, sweet and obviously very intelligent young man. Lizeth brought 2 bags of school supplies for the kids and the cutest little REI raincoat for some lucky little girl. I’ll start passing things out when school begins in Feb.

They did a mangrove tour in the morning and afterwards we met them at Cal’s for lunch. Always a good meal at Cal’s. As soon as I got home from Cal’s I called the Duchess, Jeanie, and she was at Nancy’s so I made myself a big vodka fresca and drove the 4 minutes to Nancy’s. There were a few other friends there doing some art projects. Chuck and Nancy have a fabulous art studio in the tower of their home. I stayed for almost 2 hours and then came home and laid on the couch for the rest of the evening.

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A young girl who just moved here did this henna tattoo on herself.

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She did the mermaid on the Duchess. The extra lines are charcoal and will wash off.

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Chuck helping Valerie

Yesterday I dropped off some other supplies (that people brought to Because We Care from the US) at Nidia’s store then went to see my friends at Blue Island Divers. They have been SUPER busy and I’m so happy for them, they are good people, they have an excellent dive op and they work really hard. The Doc said I can dive in a week. YAY!

After that I went to West Bay to see my friend Mario who was staying at Bananarama. I met Mario on a flight from San Pedro to Houston, he was on his way to start college @ Midland University in Nebraska. I was so impressed with this young mans demeanor and attitude that we became FB friends right away and have stayed in touch. He messaged me that his family and his girlfriend were coming to Roatan for a few days so we decided to get together. I got to meet his girlfriend, parents, both sisters, brother in law and adorable 2 year old nephew Mathias. We talked for about 30 minutes, his parents are both college professors on the mainland and they want to build a house here. They asked me if I could help them find land, I said I would try.

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Mario and Sharon. I borrowed this photo from FB.

In the meantime, my friends John, Lizeth and Phil had just gotten back from a dive so I met them at the dive shop, we grabbed lunch at Bananarama (no ranch dressing Liza) and then we went and looked at their property.

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Their view is amazing

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They are so close to the water!

After that we went back to where they were staying and laid on the rafts in the water and had a beer.

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No cruise ships meant a deserted beach

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It felt so good to be back in the water, floating. I love the Caribbean.

It was really nice to spend an afternoon with John, Lizeth and Phil. I am still overwhelmed by the amazing friends I have met through Roatan FB pages or my blog. I’ve been very blessed.

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The sky last evening

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It was a pretty night

Last night when we went to bed it was a semi calm evening. I woke in the middle of the night to huge winds and heavy rains, both bedroom windows, bathroom windows and closet window were open and everything was soaked. Again, thankful for concrete floors.

I got up this morning, sliced the dogs banana and sat down at my computer.  I asked Bill why he had closed it and he said my hard drive was running. I opened it and tried to boot it up and this is what the screen looked like.

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What he didn’t realize when he closed the laptop was, there was a pen laying in it. The pressure of the screen on the pen ruined my display. I’m now using my laptop hooked up to an old monitor while a new screen is ordered for my laptop.

The next morning the weather had turned downright ugly, winds up to 40 MPH, raining sideways and zero visibility, we have a full blown nor’easter bearing down on us. I feel sorry for the people who arrived on Saturday for a weeks vacation, at least it’s not snow and 5 degrees. I still went to Mega Paca. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these shoppers from the swift competition of the newly marked down.”

I just read on crime watch (a Roatan FB page) that there is a diver missing on the south shore, 5 boats and a helicopter were looking for her. She was a skilled 72 year old female diver and was last seen by her DM @ 200′. WTH? 200′, who goes 200′ besides a technical diver?? The divemaster tried to get her to go back up but she didn’t respond and he had to turn around. If she was at 200′ and still going down she was either unconscious or dead. No recreational diver would do something that insane on purpose.  Always a terrible thing to read about, I feel sorry for the family, the DM, the resort, just sucks.

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The sky this morning, crazy winds. This was taken later this afternoon when the rain stopped.

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Earlier this morning you could see nothing but gray, the shores were not visible. It was like living in the clouds.

I have vowed to make these blogs shorter and to post more often and that’s exactly what I am doing, ending this one here and now.

Check back soon, I’m not done yet.

Out with the old, in with the new.

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01/07/2017 Aside from all the parties for the island kids we did some partying of our own. The evening after our trip to St Helene and the boat fiasco we went to Alex and Marilyn’s home. They live on the water in Calabash Bight, boat access only.

Alex picked us up, along with Franklin, Francie and Sarah @ 4 PM. We stopped by to talk to Brett, who assumed his wife was still with me. He didn’t know Carmen had been home for a few hours. When we pulled up to the Calabash Bight Yacht Club the first thing I saw was a huge mermaid pinata! It was so cool.

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We had a few (sic) drinks and some yummy finger food while we waited for the lighted boat parade.

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Marilyn, Martina, the Mermaid and Skipper and Scruffy.

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Francie and her daughter Sarah

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Carmen and Brett arriving

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Martha, I mean Francie’s ode to Christmas

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Francie showcasing her masterpiece

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The table was true Marilyn style, elegant.

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Marilyn’s cute little Hallmark tappers

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The feast

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Outside looking in

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Marilyn’s mother made this years ago. I am in love with it.

This was the first year for they had the boat parade, there were 7 boats. I hope it grows and people start coming from all over the island to take part in it, I think it could be a really cool holiday attraction for the east end.

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Just as the parade began, my camera battery died. I took a few pics with my cell phone. I just suck at night time photos. The boat parade started in Jonesville and ended in Calabash Bight. We played “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” loudly, as they motored by. After the show was over and we all had full bellies, we had Alex take us home. It was after 9 and we had 5 starving, frantic dogs.

Friday night we had another party to go to at our friends in First Bight, Linda and Jay. Their home is ahhhmmaazing, I’m always excited when I get to go there. They had a huge spread of food, turkey that was smoked and a big ham along with every side dish you could imagine. The food and the conversation was excellent, such a great group of gringos. Dessert was all fat free, cookies and to die for peanut butter fudge with chocolate topping. OMG and Baileys too. Yep, I didn’t gain an ounce that night for sure.

Saturday I was on the borderline of feeling better and getting sick again. I was coughing a lot and I kept telling myself it would go away. It didn’t. Rather than go to the Christmas party at Ed and Julie’s and cough like a TB patient, we stayed home. I know we missed a great party and I’m pissed but it was the right (polite) choice.

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This is my fiber optic tree that is about 20 years old. It still works. I did a Prism (app) fix on it in this pic.

Christmas eve the dogs didn’t want to sleep outside because it was raining, no, it was pouring. Even though they stay dry on the covered porch, I allowed them to sleep on their comfy dog beds in the living room and I curled up on the couch to sleep. (If I don’t sleep in the living room with them, they may eat the couch). Around 2 AM Lola started pacing and barking, I hushed her once but she continued, barking even louder until I was wide awake. When I sat up I smelled something burning, it smelled electrical. A few seconds later I heard snapping and spark like sounds and they were coming from the monitor. I woke Bill and he came out and unplugged the monitor. When he took it apart the next morning that is what he found.

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Damn geckos. It may be salvageable.

The week between Christmas and New Years was pretty crappy weather for the most part. I putzed around here, had my cleaning girl come and we cleaned upstairs. On Friday Dave and Trish and Natasha, the rum cake queen, came for pizza. Surprisingly, we had a decent evening to eat on the porch.  It’s always nice to visit with the Symons, looking forward to them being here full time in the not to distant future.

New Years eve there was a party out at Mondays Don’t Suck beach but  it’s a 40 minute drive and the road are beyond awful, we decided not to make that trip. I’m pretty sure I was in bed way before midnight. Bill still says NYE is for amateurs.

We went to brunch with a group of friends at one of my favorite places, Barefoot Cay on New Years Day. We reserved the second floor of the restaurant. The view, the ambiance and the service there is stellar. New Years day was gorgeous, sunny and warm. Finally.

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A Catamaran docked there

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The pool view from the room where we had NY day brunch

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One of the nicest boutiques resorts you will find. It’s comfortable, not pretentious. BFC encourages you to relax and enjoy yourself and they will be there when you need anything.

When we got home I put on a swimsuit, grabbed a book and crawled on the raft and floated. At various times throughout the afternoon I was joined by one of the boys, they get in, swim a lap or two and get out to lay on a chaise. Yes, they have a terribly rough life.

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Handsome Barrio, he was the only one of the pups I was keeping. See how well that worked out?

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Lola, Gringo and Barrio

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Highway, Gringo and Max, defenders of the jungle.

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My folks at Missy and Mark’s for Christmas. My sister is an angel, really, she is.

Dad turns 96 Feb. 17th and Mom will be 91 in August. They are still living on their own but my sister is 5 minutes away. On the day of NY Eve Dad called Missy and said that Mom was having difficulty breathing, she has asthma. Missy had tried to take her to the doctor on Thursday, PJ was down for the weekend and tried to take her Friday, she wouldn’t go, she was fine. Sure she was. They admitted her on Saturday, got her breathing taken care of, started her on IV’s and kept her there for a few days to observe her. She is home now and sounds good. I’ve called nearly every day. When VR answers the phone and realizes it’s me, he says, “oh, you again.” I’m not sure if there is a hidden message in that or not. Not that I really care.

I am headed to the roof with some wine and my camera. Happy New Year to everyone.  I certainly enjoyed ringing in the New Year in my bathing suit, it beats being cold and bundled up anytime.

 

 

Hustle and bustle of the holidays

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12/27/2016 Christmas is here and gone. The build-up to it is so much less than when the boys were younger and still at home. I used to make myself frantic ensuring everything was just perfect for them. Now we barely celebrate, we stopped exchanging gifts when I moved to Roatan alone in 2012 and never resumed. It’s not like things are easy to find here, shopping is pretty much nil except for Mega Paca, ACE and Serranos. Other than them (a used clothing, household store and 2 hardware stores) it’s slim pickings. And that’s OK, there really isn’t much either of us need or want, really.

Christmas has a different meaning here on this island where so many have so little. The kids on the island don’t have a clue what the kids in the US experience at Christmas time. There are no iPads, iPhones, new laptops, motorcycles, flat screens for their rooms, none of that. The majority of the kids don’t even have a Christmas meal that is any different from their everyday meal of beans and rice. Some don’t even get that because their families are so poor.

Nidia has taken it upon herself for the last 18 years to try to make things better for the kids on Roatan. For her to have so many parties or do food drives is a huge undertaking, but she does it and she does it well. She is so well respected on the island that people jump at the opportunity to help her. I first met her in 2014 when she was doing a food and toy drive at Christmas. We dropped off food and she was there and I introduced myself and said we would help. That was our first year. In 2015 she decided to concentrate more on the kids and make the whole thing center around them. That year there were 2 large parties, one on the east end and one on the west end. This year she expanded to 4 parties and 2 days of visiting different forgotten communities. People have no idea what is involved in pulling off something like this on Roatan but Nidia is undaunted, she just digs in and gets it done. I am so proud to call this whirlwind of energy my friend, I adore her, she is truly a gift to the island of Roatan. Without her, none of this would happen.

I apologize for the super long post (yes, this is one of those, laden with photos). I could do it in 2 posts but I’m not going to. So grab a bottle of wine or a pot of coffee and chill for a bit.

I would say being down here in the gorgeous sunny weather is reward enough but the weather has been downright shitful. WET WET WET, sick of it. Yes, I like the rain but in excesses like this, I’m over it.

My friend Milesse owns Barefoot Cay, and she is also the one who started the airport volunteer group. She had a few ladies over to her place to meet the wife of the new General Manager of BFC. We talked about what we did on the island and had a fabulous lunch and mimosas and wine. It was a nice afternoon. A few days after that I was back there again with all the volunteers that greet at the airport. Once again, Milesse served us lunch and we had drinks and chatted about the direction the airport greeter group was going.

Then we were back at Barefoot Cay again for an evening get together to once again introduce the new GM and his wife. That was a great night, lots of incredible food, the wine was flowing and the place was filled with wonderful people. If I have to go somewhere several times in a short period of time, I can’t think of a better destination, Barefoot is really a one of a kind boutique resort. Everything there is done with exquisite taste.

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My friend Dario, the head of Immigration at the Roatan airport and Bill and I at Barefoot. Note to self, wear black bra next time.

Alexi turned 18 on December 12th. We took him to Mega Paca and let him shop for clothes. Most things there aren’t over $5.00 and he spent $63.00, he had a stack of clothes. After that we took him to Herby’s for lunch, he’s never been there before. He changed into a pair of his new shorts in the back seat of the truck before we went to lunch.

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His stack of clothes

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Alexi, making himself comfortable

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Alexi’s first time in Herby’s, probably his first time in a nice restaurant.

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Saw this truck at ACE

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Dead dinosaur in the pool, actually, it was an Anole. I’m surprised because I have seen them swim in the pool before. Maybe this was a catch and release by the dogs.

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Mega Paca haul, 4 each of the dishes and the seahorse wall hook, score.

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Morning glories at the end of the driveway

Our friends Marcia and Dennis were having a full moon party at their house. They just had a huge pool put in and were celebrating that and the moon. They have one of Frito’s pups, Duke. It was Marica I was snorkeling with last year on my birthday when the sea was full of jellyfish, it was pretty amazing. Trish and Dave came over and we all rode together to their house. They had over 60 people there, it was a lot of fun. I failed to bring my swimsuit, damn, I could have done some synchronized swimming with Francie.

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Caribe Bight

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Inside of their home

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Their new HUGE pool, it’s gorgeous.

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Francie went for a dip.

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Bill, Trish and Dave chatting.

My friend Carmen and her sister, who was visiting from South Dakota, wanted to come over to the house. Brett and Carmen live boat access only and don’t have a car. The girls took a taxi to get massages in Politilly so I picked them up on my way back from BJ’s in Oak Ridge, (I dropped off a box of soccer balls, wrapping paper and a few toys for the Fiddlers Bight kids Christmas party).

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These are some of the soccer balls donated by Hillcrest Village Soccer club in Toronto. They were brought down by Dave and Trish Symons and given to me to pass out, along with the soccer uniforms. There were over 60 balls to start, this is what’s left. I’m sure the kids loved them.

Carmen, Kecia and I came back to our house and Kecia met the dogs, sat by the pool for awhile and chatted and then went to Cal’s for lunch. Soon as we sat down and Reynaldo brought our drinks, he said, it’s going to rain. And it did, almost immediately. We moved to a table under the roof and enjoyed our meal. I took the 2 of them back to Oak Ridge and Brett picked them up.

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Kecia and Carmen, I didn’t take this, it’s from La Sirena at Camp Bay.

Nidia has been getting ready for all of the Christmas parties for the island kids for the past few months. Once she got enough money donated she went to the mainland shopping. She scheduled 4 parties and 2 days of doing deliveries in the smaller communities.  The first one was held in a small community called Wild Cane. It was outdoors under a tree, along a pretty busy road and a stream. Nidia expected 200-250 kids, there were 500. They came from so far  away it took the kids over an hour to walk there, not what we expected at all. We had many generous donations from all over that helped purchase a ton of Santa hats, toys for all of the kids at ALL of the parties, bags of candy, hotdogs, drinks and ice cream cones too. I was excited to see my friends, Fred and Trish, Faber, Jeanette and Don, K.J. and Mike and Toni there. Of course Janisha was there to help her mom and Johnie and Hector helped at several of the parties also. Faber comes from the states for the parties, every year. He goes to every one and is a huge help. He also brings donations from the people he works with at the hospital. (He also comes for the TOMS shoe deliveries.) Jeanette and Don, Faber, Janisha and Kirsty helped out at Big Rock also, slicing rolls, passing out hot dogs, removing packaging from toys. You name it, we did it.

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The set up area at Wild Cane

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Passing out santa hats

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Hmm, Moms weren’t supposed to get hats, guess she slipped by with one.

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Love these boys.  (Notice the mud. YUCK)

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Pensive

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Cuties with Minnie ears

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It was a sea of red

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Love the curls

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Of course, I always find the dogs. I fed this pitiful pup but one meal wasn’t going to do much for him. He was on deaths doorstep.

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Santa arrived in the big shiny truck parked along the wall.

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They held onto him as he walked

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Passing out toys

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Santa and the one and only Nidia, the woman with a heart as big as Roatan. Actually, Santa is pretty awesome too, he loves this gig.

The second party was on a Monday in Crawfish Rock, a small community down near the water. The road to Crawfish Rock is dirt and this time of year with the torrential rains it is slick mud with huge ruts and potholes. I was not looking forward to the drive down there.

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On the way to the party I came around a corner and there were cows in the road, a common sight here on the island. The one cow on the right was running rather haphazardly on the road. The guys on the motorcycles behind them were the “handlers.”

Helping at Crawfish Rock were Janisha, Faber, Johnie and Hector and Rusty and Sheila and of course our own special Santa, Sully.

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I recall from doing shoes at Crawfish Rock that most of the kids are shoeless. It was the same this time. Once it rained, the whole area turned into a mudhole.

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Nidia’s dog Coco

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An unhappy Minnie, waiting for an ice cream cone

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Soon after we got everyone lined up, it poured. We all ran to the school carrying anything we could get ahold of.

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Waiting for ice cream

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It’s backwards to serve the ice cream first but there is no other way to do it when refrigeration is an issue.

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We line them up smallest to biggest, at least we try to.

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Since it was raining we set up in a classroom and luckily, it had empty shelves. I was sad that the bookshelves were barren, to me, it meant that the kids had no books to read.

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Santa visiting with the kids

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I dug food out of the garbage bags and fed this dog.

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Happy kids

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These boys were so cute!

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Boxes of apples donated by Ron McNab, owner of the Galaxy Wave ferry. He did this for every party!

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A visit with Santa is priceless.

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He was afraid of Santa

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The school

After it rained 3 times while we were there the road turned into a muddy slip and slide. Santa, in his big truck got stuck, I was able to drive right out of there with my AWD car. Faber and Johnie were amazed that we didn’t get stuck.

When I got home on Monday from the party I took a shower immediately. Once I got out of the shower I felt a sore throat coming on. It got worse as the night progressed and by morning I had a full blown cold. Tuesday Nidia and some volunteers (Sheila and Rusty and Bob and Rosalie) were going to a few communities and passing out toys. I had too much to do that day and felt miserable so I didn’t join her. They went to Mudhole, Corazol and Hottest Sparrow. Santa has been busy.

Wednesday was the biggest party at Big Rock in Pensacola. Nidia expected 400+ kids and we had almost 700. Word travels fast on this little island. Many thanks to Don and Jeanette, Faber, Kirsty, Janisha and Franklin and all the other ladies who came to help control the chaos.

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Saw this momma pig on the way to Pensacola. She was wandering along the road.

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744 Hot dog buns, second time my car was full of these.

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We took as many toys as possible out of the plastic wrap that it came in. One less thing to have to clean up afterwards.

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This year instead of throw away cups, they got cups they could take home with them, less garbage is always a good thing.

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I fed this dog too and if he had not been so timid and come closer, I may have had 6 dogs. He was gorgeous, I really wanted him.

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The Big Rock bar has changed a lot from last year. It’s really been fixed up with these cool surfboards on the ceilings.

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He was a ham

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Nidia’s little dog Coco got away and ran under the porch. It took them quite a while to get her out.

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My friend Kirsty passing out Santa hats

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Beautiful

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I love her, she has a necklace and a handbag.

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Enjoying his ice cream

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Santa dishing up ice cream cones

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The place was packed

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Using paper plates, no styrofoam

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Mesmerized by Santa

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He’s a happy boy

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By 4 PM I was feeling awful so I headed home. Everyone was fed, all Santa had to do was pass out toys. After an hour drive, sniffling and sneezing the whole way, I was home and exhausted.

The last party was Thursday on the island of Helene. Helene is part of Roatan but it’s separated by a cut in the island. There is no electricity on the island and they got a well just 2 years ago, prior to that there was no water except for streams and springs. We were taking 2 boats to get there, one owned by Clifford Mejia, the Vice Mayor of Santos Guardiolas (the east end of Roatan) and the other owned by Ron McNab, who owns the Galaxy Wave ferries that go between Roatan and Le Ceiba. Ron is also the one who donated 2 cases of apples to each of our parties. Bob and Rosalie, Faber, Natasha, Nidia, Darla, Carmen, Rusty and Sheila and Mike, Toni and their son Rhys came along. Most of us got in Ron’s boat as Clifford’s was full of Christmas toys and baskets of food for the people of Helene. We set off for Helene close to 9AM. We were out as far as Port Royal, right near Fort Morgan Cay when the boat all of us were in stopped. We initially thought he was slowing down to maneuver inside the reef so the ride would be smoother but alas, not the case. We were drifting perilously close to the reef and to keep from colliding with it we called Joe Wonder on the radio (they live in Port Royal on the water) and he came buzzing out in his little skiff and pulled us away from the reef. Clifford was also alerted and he turned around and came back. The boat had died. We never did get the exact reason it died, all we knew was, we were being towed to Fort Morgan Caye.

Fort Morgan Cay is a small privately owned island. It is approximately 30 acres in size and was once a pirate hideout. There is a small runway on the island and a few pirate ruins and a fabulous large home with 4 rentable rooms. I can safely say that the majority of us on the boat were very excited to see Fort Morgan Cay. We tied the boat up there and all got off.

Clifford was going on to Helene, with Nidia, Rusty and Sheila and all the toys and food. The rest of us waited behind because we all couldn’t fit on one boat. Some of the stranded people started wandering around until they got reprimanded by the German manager. After talking to an islander who lives there and helps maintain the place he said he would take us for a tour of the west end of the island. If I were going to be stranded somewhere, this would be my choice.

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At Clifford’s dock in Oak Ridge, this is my friend Darla’s daughter.

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Ron’s boat that we were all going to Helene in.

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Loading the boats

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Food donated by Ron and the Galaxy Wave to be given to the people of Helene.

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Just south of Lime Key where the boat stopped. Look at the color of this water. It’s why I moved to Roatan.

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Clifford came to tow us to Fort Morgan Cay

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The skiff in the top of the photo belongs to Kim and Joe Wonder, Joe came and towed us away from the reef until Clifford could get to us.

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The buildings at FMC, notice the chairs on the roof.

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An outdoor shower

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The pool, OMG, it was gorgeous. The guy walking on the left is the one who gave us the tour.

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Looks like a deserted island

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What dreams are made of

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I could be shipwrecked here for a very long time.

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Natasha is the daughter of Dave and Trish who have a home on Roa. She’s awesome (and gorgeous), I absolutely adore her.

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Part of the old pirate fort

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wall decor

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Absolutely waterfront

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Doors to one of the rooms

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Outdoor shower

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She is not camera shy. I know her name but have no idea how to spell it. Keneesha??

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Ron said he was calling his Dad and he would come with a bigger boat. He forgot to mention it was a flipping yacht. We drooled.

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Ron’s boat is pretty amazing itself, it has 3- 300 HP outboards, but compared to this big “boat” it looks a tad insignificant.

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After they got more gas transferred to the other boat, they left us in their wake.

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Going through the mangrove cut.

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At the school in Helene

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Ron McNab, passing out toys, I think the cute boy in glasses next to Ron is his son.

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This little boy got a big plane and was thrilled with it.

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This school is in deplorable condition. So sad.

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These kids are adorable.

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Some are shy, most are not.

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Cute young boys

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Pretty girls

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The kids were told to wear red or green, most did.

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Look at the eyes on the girl on the left, gorgeous.

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Another poorly cared for dog.

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Ron, Rosalie and Nidia giving the kids toys. Santa didn’t come on this trip.

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The older boys got soccer balls.

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Sleeping beauty

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MMM, apples

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I remember this little guy from the TOM’s shoe drive and from when we passed out backpacks. He has the longest eyelashes ever.

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Big sister drying his tears

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Natasha handing out candy

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Carmen liked this little guy.

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Baskets and bags of food to be passed out to the residents of Helene

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We got to see the Free Radical on the way home. That’s the boat the EXPATS go out on for the day and party.

It was a fast, uneventful trip home and we even made it by early afternoon. I was amazed. We had a party to go to at 4 that day so I was thrilled to get back in time.

Nidia and a few others were doing deliveries to Camp Bay and Diamond Rock on Friday with a Santa that came from Canada, but I couldn’t go due to prior plans. At the end of one week approximately 1800 kids got Christmas gifts. A significant number indeed.

It was a busy week for all of us but much more so for Nidia who orchestrated the whole thing. She could probably run and direct the next economic summit or be Speaker of the House. I think her skills and her ability to make things happen far outweigh anything I have ever seen. Remember, NOTHING is easy here, we’re a small island belonging to a 3rd world country, floating in the Caribbean. It just goes to show that when someone puts their mind to something, anything is possible. Nidia has proven that time and again.

It will soon be March and time to begin the distribution of TOM’s shoes, something else to look forward to. Another good deed and the kids of the island once again benefit. Because of the force that is Nidia P. Webster. I love you girlfriend.

Coming into the Holidaze

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12/07/2016   It was a dark and pissy 2 months ago yesterday that I fell and hurt my foot and today is also my granddaughter’s 14th birthday, Happy Birthday Alexah!

I am walking but it’s painful, standing, well, forget it. I think my issue is tendinitis but I’m not a Doc so I’m guessing, and being optimistic that there isn’t a fracture. I have not done any diving or snorkeling yet because I enjoy being able to walk and the pain is enough to still be a deterrent to any new aggravation.

Our company arrived on a semi sunny Saturday, Nov 19th. Early that morning we took Gringo to the vets from Tegus who come to Roatan monthly to find out what was going on with his skin. Dr. Diana did a skin scraping and took some blood from him. The skin scraping showed a bacterial infection and I was positive it was fungal. So much for my veterinary degree. After 2 weeks of new meds he is 95% better and we are thrilled with that. We still bathe him often and have decided to keep him on meds for another 2 weeks. Keeping our fingers crossed.

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Mr. Handsome Gringo was not happy about being at the vets

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We had Bill’s truck (the dog food is in my car) so I couldn’t feed this poor dog.

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Talk about long lunches and crazy hours. Lunch is from 12PM to 2 AM and then they work until 5:30PM. Really Honduras?

We took Gringo home and I drove back into the airport to pick up Julie and Robby. Unfortunately 3 planes landed at the same time and it took them FOREVER to get through immigration. They were happy to be here and hungry, it was probably a bad choice to take them to the grocery store after they landed.

On Sunday morning Julie came with me to Mega Paca. We stayed as long as I was still able to stand. Afterwards we met Bill and Robby @ GiLei’s for coffee and food. Not that I drink coffee, nor does Julie and Robby isn’t a huge fan, but Bill is a coffee guy and the food we had was excellent, we’ll be back for sure.

The weather kind of sucked the first week Robby and Julie were here. It’s been an incredibly rainy winter so far. There’s been so much rain it killed some of my flowers that are in pots. Obviously I’m not keeping a very good eye on them either.

Monday Robby wanted to help Bill who’s helping out a friend and I have no clue what Julie and I did. It may have been a decent day and we may have laid in the sun.

The sun made an appearance on Tuesday so I took R&J down to BJ’s where they got a boat over to the Reef House to do some diving. They only did 1 dive and were waiting for me when I got there to pick them up. They said the viz was mediocre at best. Tuesday eve we went to Cal’s for dinner, excellent as always.

On Wednesday we all started prepping for Thanksgiving dinner. Julie and I baked, peeled and chopped most of Wednesday, even Robby was cooking. Carmen and Brett and Jeanie and Roger, and my friend and Divemaster Guru Eric all joined Robby and Julie and Bill and I for dinner. We had way too much food. I had enough damn mashed potatoes for everyone in this valley. Really I did. I suck at estimating how much food. I was worried a 22# turkey wouldn’t be enough. HA freaking HA! Eric stuck around and we chatted about diving for awhile. I sent him home with a box of food (his wife and kids are in the states and due to his dive business here, he had to miss out on family time). If you plan to learn to dive on Roatan, I can highly recommend Blue Island Divers.  Do your SSI course work in the comfort of your own home and then go see Eric and do your water certification. Diving done right.

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Preparation

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Those 2 big pans, full of potatoes.

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Robby, Julie, Roger and The Duchess (Jeanie)

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Carmen

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He has their attention with turkey scraps.

I tried to do the dishes that night and partially succeeded. Friday was another day.

It rained like hell off and on Friday, just gloomy as crap. Sam and Chelsie and Daniel and Stephanie were coming for dinner. When they got here it wasn’t raining but it was absolutely pouring when they left. It’s the first Stephanie and Daniel have been around the dogs. She and I were out on the porch and they were all excited and barking. Daniel asked if the dogs all had their teeth. Umm, yes they do. Sam’s family owns the Iguana farm and Daniel owns the sloth sanctuary, and they are cousins, and Sam’s wife and Daniel’s girlfriend have been friends for 10 years, Chelsie got Stephanie to move down to Roatan, they are both teachers at the Nuna Academy. We had a really nice evening with all of them, Robby and Julie enjoyed seeing Sam and Chelsie again and well, we always enjoy them and just love Daniel and Stephanie.

Saturday it was semi sunny so we hung out around the pool. Our other friends from Oregon arrived yesterday so they came down today to say hello. I was hoping to be able to dive with Robby and Julie and Liza and Mike but not this trip. Next one for sure.

Sam Arch was in a Wahoo fishing tournament over the weekend at Barefoot Cay. On Sunday they were having a BBQ and the prizes were being awarded. I wanted Robby and Julie to see Barefoot so we went down there around 2. As luck would have it, Sam won the Grand Prize for the largest Wahoo and the first place prize for the most amount of fish caught, weight wise. Everyone except me ate lunch/dinner there and had a few beers. Beautiful day by the water and really happy that Sam won.

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The eating area, we sat under a palapa to be out of the sun.

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I was looking for Sam’s boat but he had already taken it home.

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Chelsie and Sam

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Robby and Julie

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Sam, second from L, Haydee (works at Barefoot) Sam’s fishing buddy and Mr Sherman Arch on the R, Sam’s dad.

Monday was a gorgeous day and that only means one thing, MONDAYS DON’T SUCK at the best private beach on the moon. (It’s a secret and I get shit if I mention where it is) FED Duchess. We packed up some chairs, some food and some booze, a few rafts and headed to the moon. What an incredible place filled with friends all looking for the same thing, an uncomplicated day, minus all stress and hassles of life spent with good friends on our little island paradise on the moon.

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Robby and Roger raking

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The group is in the shade, the sun goddesses moved to be in the sun.

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Carmen, Pam, me and Martina and Dan-o and Molly the dogs.

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The Duchess and Molly

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Some people even came by boat and swam in.

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Julie, Pam and Carmen going for a walk on the beach.

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Proudly flying our flags

Since the weather was co-operating on Tuesday, I offered to take Robby and Julie to Blue Island Divers for some diving. Eric wasn’t their DM that day because he was flying home the next day so they dove with Cole. Cole is awesome, I dove with him a few times, he’s a fun Dive Master. While they were diving I went to Nadia and got my hair colored then went and hung out with Ann until it was time to pick them up. The plan that day was to have Alexi and his sisters, brother and nephew come over and swim and have lunch. Bill picked them up and we ran in the store on the way home and got what we needed. When we got home the kids were in the front yard playing with Bill and Alexi. They came inside and went out to the pool and before you knew it, the young boys were in their undies and in the pool.

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Efraim, Alexi’s little brother and Osman on the raft, (Alexi’s sister Juliana’s son)

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Efraim wringing out his undies

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Juliana and Efraim

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Jessica and Osman

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Alexi

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Efraim using Julie’s camera

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Efraim. Notice his shoes, they don’t fit. His nephew Osman is 2 years younger and bigger than he is.

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Juliana and Jessica hanging out the window

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Yep, Max jumped on the truck hood. Lola joined him but I missed that shot.

Bill made his famous infamous pizza on Wednesday night for dinner, it was yummy as usual. Maybe he should open a pizza joint here.

Thursday I took Julie and Robby back to Blue Island for some more diving. While they were diving I ran and got Gringo more meds then went back and sat at the dive shop and talked to Maria and Elton and the new Dive Master teacher from Greece. When they got done diving we went to the Salty Mango and had lunch, then ran down to see my puppies at Lisa’s house. I haven’t seen Bandit and Sable for several months but they remembered me for sure. Man, I love these puppies.

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Bandit looks so much like Barrio I had to do a double take on this photo.

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Sable, the only girl in Frito’s litter and she’s a feisty one.

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Bandit and Sable. They look different from the other pups because their ears stand up straight and they have smaller bodies than my guys do. Gringo weighs double what Sable does. I’m so glad Lisa has them, she loves these two so much.

Robby and Julie and I headed back east after visiting with Lisa and the pups. Little did I know, Julie had chicken and dumplings cooking in the crock pot, nice surprise and another great meal.

On Friday we all went down to the Buccaneer, a place that recently reopened. There are a few small retail shops in there and they are hoping to get more. They said a restaurant and bar will be opening soon, you can have parties there, meetings or go hang out by the water. Bill and Robby had coffee there and they both thought it was excellent and cheap. Me, I don’t give a rip about coffee, now if it had been wine I would have been all over it.

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The natural swimming pool that Julie and I floated in. However, on Sunday I was told not to swim in that water due to the poor disposal of sewage in that area. UGH.

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Nice long pier.

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Floating in the yucky but clear water.

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Huge swim area.

Friday night we went to Cal’s to eat. He was so busy we hurried and got our orders in before the 2 big tables did. When we got home we sat out front and talked and let the dogs play and tire themselves out. Hah, like that ever happens.

Robby and Julie’s flight was scheduled to leave at 1:30 on Saturday but it got delayed, then delayed more and delayed again. I don’t think they actually got out of RTB until close to 3. Since we had so much time to kill we ran to Blue Island Divers so they could buy shirts. Then it was off for a sweets run to Fresh Bakery. I had the banana chocolate chip cake and ohmygosh it was excellent. I decided to take 2 pieces back to Maria and Elton at the dive shop. We then made our way to RTB. The day I was there to pick them up the line for security leaving was all the way through the airport, this day, not so much. I saw Roger and Jeanie, Liza and Mike and a hundred other people I knew while waiting with them. Once they were in the security line and almost through, I left for home. After a quick stoop at the grocery store I came home and jumped on a raft and floated for awhile.

Of course, Sunday morning was Mega Paca day. I meandered through there for what seemed like hours, then ran to Eldon’s to get peanut butter, which I forgot the day before. I was invited by Milesse to Barefoot Cay to meet the new general managers wife Trisha. Milesse served an excellent lunch along with bottomless mimosas. Very nice afternoon and I met some new friends to boot.

I’ve had a quiet week so far, spent most of it hanging with the dogs, floating in the pool and reading. Today we are going to Brett and Carmen’s so Bill can help Brett with some plumbing {ended up unable to reach the pipes to replace the faucets and showerhead without a demo job}. Tomorrow it’s back to Barefoot Cay for a get together for the airport greeters, should be a fun time, I’m going with Cindy and Cathey.

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Marilyn stopped by Carmen’s while we were there, she is making some curtains, then we rode to her house to look at her pool installation that is happening on Honduras time.

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On the way back to Jessie’s dock.

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Marilyn’s dogs

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At the entrance to one of the mangrove cuts

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Going through the mangroves

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Kids fishing

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And playing

Pretty soon we will be having the Because We Care Christmas parties, there will be at least 4 of them, probably more, depends on how many toys we get donated. Stay tuned for us spreading holiday cheer on this gorgeous rock we call home.