The Roatan East End Senior’s Luncheon

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07/30/2015 Sorry I didn’t post this last week, I’ve been super busy with the vet clinic that is in town and trying to get ready for a visit from our son and well, you know, 7 dogs and a cat take up some time too.

Last Wednesday was the big day for our Senior’s luncheon (7/22/2015). It’s the first time it has EVER been held on the East end of the island so it was extra meaningful for these fabulous people. On the eastern end of the island people live much more remotely than on the west end. Communities are located further apart, so seeing their friends or relatives doesn’t happen very often.

I would like to say I played a huge part in the event but I really didn’t. It was Nidia, she is pretty amazing. This event took 6 months to organize, and remember, everything done here is done on island time. Many meetings and many many many hundreds of phone calls went into this event. She organized the patronado’s from each community to research and make lists of the oldest people in their area and called them constantly to make sure they were following through and that all the respective people were notified. There were chairs, tables, tablecloths, silverware, pots, pans, stoves, coolers, all this had to be brought in. They had to figure out how much they needed of everything to serve everyone. There was a gas stove that didn’t work that had to be fixed, and ice and water to be gotten. This is Roatan, there aren’t lots of catering companies.. Nidia did it all. I’ve never met anyone with the ambition and fortitude and determination that this woman has, she is a power house; she gets things done. Funny thing is, everyone who crosses her path knows she means business, yet they adore her. She honestly is one of a kind and I’m so blessed to say she is my friend.

The luncheon was PDS, Pretty Darn Spectacular. Instead of words, enjoy the photos and a few videos. Please watch the videos, they too, are PDS. {click on the italicized words}

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The cooks are cleaning chicken, lots of freaking chicken. I rarely touch it.

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Jimmy and Mac unloading chairs. Mac is a recent volunteer with BWC and an all around great guy!

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Tables and more chairs

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The Live Again Ministry realizing they have to bag all that candy into 450 individual bags.

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450 done

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wrapping the utensils

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Our master chefs

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P O T A T O E S

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B A N A N A S

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B E A N S She was really cute, before I took the photo she had to adjust her skirt..

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Sugar high

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The other dynamo on this island, Miss Daine Wood Etches, an amazing and knowledgeable lady. She was born into one of the oldest families on the island.

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Separating the food items for the baskets

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Downstairs hallway. Must have been a grand place, reminds me of Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing.

This resort was previously called Spy Glass Hill and it sits on some amazing land. The new owner of the resort, now called Henry’s Cove, graciously allowed us to use this place. Another Nidia accomplishment.

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Wonder woman Nidia and Pastor Ronny from Live Again Ministries. Everyone kept going in to the kitchen because it smelled SO good!

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Food for baskets

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Sun Water donated bottled water

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Counting chairs

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Here she is, Miss Amazing…

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A filled basket

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These ladies can cook. There were no laptops opened to Pinterest and no cookbooks in sight.

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Enough food for 450 people

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The front porch before tablecloths

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Cleaning carrots. There was music playing in the background, these ladies were having fun!

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My friend Lisa, one of the cooks. This woman gets it done.

I caught the cooks mid song (video) the morning of the event.

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baskets filled pre-cellophane wrap

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Some of the ladies, all dressed up. In case you are wondering why she has a wash cloth on her shoulder: it is a common sight to see people with a cloth on their shoulder or in their back pocket or purse. IT’S HOT HERE!! And if I smartened up, I would be carrying one too, preferable frozen.

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The wonderful Mayor of Santos Guardiola (east end of the island), Carson Dilbert. He is such a great man, we are lucky to have him.

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This lady was gorgeous..She is Garifuna from Punta Gorda

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Nidia making name tags

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The lady in the wheelchair on the left is Miss Daine’s mother, Mrs Catherine Wood. She is a gorgeous woman and she grows great veggies, whenever I’m in town I check to see what she has for sale.

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How could I not capture this face? I had just taken the balloons off the wall and handed them to him.

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Getting the dining room ready

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Some of the early arrivals. Many of them were unsure of me taking pictures so I always offered to show them their photos.

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The guests waiting to eat while visiting with friends

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Plates of food being served, traditional island food

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Mac with some of the Live Again Ministry in blue shirts. Live Again Minsitry brought boxes full of donated sandals, bibles, beads and fans, these guests got the royal treatment. The Ministry Group was a great help in making this happen. Thank You!!

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Miss Catherine on the left with a friend.

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The oldest person in Politilly Bight, Ms Carolina Pinnace, age 90

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This is Mr. Bodden @ 92, the oldest person on the remote island of Saint Helena, or St. Helene. He is the father of my friend Woudsin. His grandson Jordan, in the striped shirt, brought him to the event. It was nice to catch up with Jordan!

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Ms Juliana Ruiz at the age of 92, oldest and sweetest lady from Milton Bight..

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Ms Etty McLaughlin, eldest member in the Diamond Rock community…

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The oldest resident of Juticalpa, Doña Elisa Matute age 88. She was a little taken back by the cameras and all the people. Most of these people live a semi solitary life, except for family.

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Ms Ermones Calderon, 89 years old, eldest member from the community of Punta Gorda…

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The eldest from Lucy Point.

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And from my favorite spot, Camp Bay, Ms Jane Pandy, second eldest in the community of Camp Bay. (the eldest did not come)

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Daine, Mac and Nidia, getting ready to present Auntie Jane with her basket.

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Mac, Auntie Jane and Nidia

Auntie Jane, (video) almost 99, rocking out with Mac. What a riot she is, so full of life, she gets around fine and is pretty hilarious and witty.

This amazing lady is the oldest (that we know of) resident of Roatan. She is Auntie Clara and she is 99 years old. She is blind and can not walk but that doesn’t stop this lady from living her life.

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Auntie Clara, 99 years old, she turns 100 in October.

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This little doll was actually trying to eat the watermelon, without using her hands, while it sat on her grandma’s lap.

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THIS is what it’s all about.

After dessert was served, they did a Plat Pole up by the pool. I know this as a Maypole that we did in school on May 1st. BUT IT WAS NEVER THIS MUCH FUN!! They were rocking out to music (video) and dancing and weaving in between each other, it was so much entertainment. I loved it when Miss Linda, who had a pitcher in one hand, pulled me out to dance with her..

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Ms Linda is from Camp Bay, I met her when we worked on the school up there. She is the lady dressed in all blue and she has a plastic pitcher in her left hand!

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My friend Darla. She is a teacher at the school on St. Helene.

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The plat pole begins

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Starting to plat

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My friend Darla and her daughter in matching dresses

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Adorable, just waiting until they are old enough

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Plating or braiding the ribbon

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Original position

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Wrap and unwrap

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Intertwining makes for fun dancing

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So awesome!

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This is my friend Darla’s daughter. She was also in some of the Helene photos when we delivered desks. She is the cutest, silliest most well behaved little doll, I could kiss her all day. And sometimes I do..She had my name tag on..

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The clean up/break down and sort

You know how when you are looking forward to doing something for someone because it will make them so happy?? That’s how we all felt about the senior luncheon; and yes, it did make many people happy. However, what it did for me is so much more than that. I cried many times, moved by the people I found myself surrounded by. Profoundly touched by the moment when 99 year old Auntie Clara sang What would I do without Jesus  (video) I stood there with tears running down my cheeks as this woman, whom I’ve never before seen, sang to us. (I’ve been invited to her 100th birthday party in October and oh heck yes, I’m going!!)

I feel like I left the event a better person, it awakened something in me, it stirred my soul.

Thank you Nidia Webster, for allowing me to become part of Because We Care. You, my friend, are an inspiration to many.

There will be another Roatan East End seniors luncheon next year!

The Mermanettes

 

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07/24/2015 Last Sunday, after seeing Marcia’s photo of one of our puppies swimming, we decided to throw the pukers and pee-ers in the truck and go to the lagoon at Parrot Tree to see if we could get them in the water.

Hah!! No issue there, they were crazy in love with the water and jumped right on in.

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Once we took their leashes off and I went out in the water, they were all over me.

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Holding 3 wet 20# pups is not easy

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To say they loved the water is not sufficient..

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My baby boys

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so much love for these guys

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And we have noses

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They got out and ran around in the sand but as soon as I ran in the water, they charged me.

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Gringo going to Bill

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Max doing his shaking thing

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The lagoon

It was the most fun thing we have done with them. We plan to take them again this Sunday with Rob and Lisa and their pups, Sable and Bandit, our boys brother and only sister.

I have been walking them each separately, teaching them to sit when I stop. It’s going quite well actually and it’s getting me some much needed exercise. Next is teaching them to come when their name is called. Then I will instruct them on the finer points of making me a vodka fresca with fresh rosemary in it.

Thanks Deb Murphy for the phrase “mermanettes”

It was a semi pain when we got home from swimming b/c they all needed baths so I took them in the downstairs shower that has a hand held shower thing and a nice big seat. It worked out well scrubbing them while sitting at their level. Once they got bathed and semi dried off we put them outside on dry bedding and they crashed hard..

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This is the most recent batch of dog chow. It’s chicken, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans. Gourmet food for over their Kirkland dry food.

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This is their newest treat, 32 oz plain yogurt, 3 bananas, 1 c. peanut butter, blend well, put in ice cube trays and freeze. They LOVE them!!

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How many of my Flower Child friends remember this? Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Oil Castile soap, it’s the best. Back in those days I never used anything but this stuff. I ordered some my last trip home and use it for my showers and to bathe the dogs. I can honestly say I have read every single word on this label and believe me, there are a LOT of them!!!

I finally gave in and paid AGAIN for my license plates. The country of Honduras has our plates but doesn’t “know how” to distribute them so this is their solution:

A) Spend the $$ and go to Tegus and get them

B) Pay a middle man to go to Tegus to get them

C) Buck the system and have your car confiscated.

Yes Lin Coyle, it’s true. You can’t make this shit up.

I got stopped again on the way home from preparing for the Senior Luncheon on Tuesday, he spoke no English so I think that helped me blather my way out of the situation.

In the end I chose option B, it cost me $90.00, they gave me a paper to keep the police from towing my car and letting me stranded by the side of the road. My plates should be here in 2 weeks. I find it hard to believe that a country with the highest crime rate and jails full of hardened criminals is incapable of producing an abundance of license plates. Welcome to paradise…

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Max is the smallest, but not really small at all. He’s a love.

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Gringo is getting so big, he’s the heaviest of our 3 pups

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And my boy Barrio

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Licking the bowl clean that the banana popsicle mix was in.

On Monday I ran some errands, got an extra memory card for my camera and went in Ace to look for a “dog hair” broom of sorts. I found something I thought would work so I bought it. When the guy ran my card, the machine was out of receipt tape so he re-ran it on another machine. I asked him if he didn’t just charge me twice, he said no. Today I looked at my credit card bill and OH YES HE DID. I disputed it online, printed everything out and am going to go show it to the manager. Stoooppid.

I have a lot of photos to post from the preparation the day before and of the actual luncheon. I’ll save them for another post. I’m off to get cleaned up and meeting Nidia and Jeanie at BJ’s for an afternoon drink, then it’s dinner at a friends house..

Have a great weekend, especially to all of my friends who eagerly anticipate FRIDAY!!! I hate to say this, but most days I have no clue what day it is. It just doesn’t matter all that much..

As promised, the rest of the story.

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07/21/2015 Just for the memory, remember the termite wing horror we had at our house?? I have NOT forgotten, never will. Anyhow when I went to take my mascara off in the hotel in Baltimore, I opened my travel pack of Kleenex and TERMITE WINGS fluttered to the ground.

Not a very good segue, but I tried. Lamely.

It was great seeing my parents and I feel so fortunate that we all still have them in our lives. At the rate they’re going, they will be with us for awhile. Both of them are in good health, Dad’s memory is foggy at times but hell, he’s 94. Mom can remember pretty much everything so I have to give her credit for that. Dad still swims 3 times a week at the center but they don’t go out much. They really enjoy their back porch and spend most of the day there, weather permitting. They read but mostly snooze out there. Can’t say that I blame them, it’s a great napping porch.

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Breakfast time. Like father like daughter. He eats the SAME thing for breakfast everyday and has for years, Cheerios with 1/2 a banana sliced on top with milk. I have eaten the same thing every day for almost 2 years, a tortilla stuffed w/ brown rice, cheese, scrambled eggs with red, green and jalapeno peppers in it and salsa.

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94 & 90 Pretty amazing parents!!! Mom was upset her hair wasn’t fixed. Heck, most of the time mine is only finger combed.

Mom and I shopped quite a bit  every day for dog toys and I had no trouble buying them, didn’t really matter what they cost, just so the boys would have some new toys..  I was looking for clothes too but it’s funny, I didn’t want to buy any. My realization is this: when I lived in the US and worked full time I made a decent wage and was able to buy whatever I wanted. And I did and I did it excessively, although I never really looked at it like that until I was getting ready to move to Roatan.

When we were still in the states I bought new clothes every freaking weekend, and black shoes or boots and scrapbook supplies. I could have opened a scrapbook store. I had a whole room nicely and obsessively organized with so many supplies 12 women could have scrapped there and had everything they wanted. When I started sorting through clothes and shoes and coats and bags and scrap stuff I wondered what the hell I was thinking; why did I buy all this STUFF? I bought it because I could. It satisfied a need, a ridiculous need.  I now have 2 plastic milk crates in my closet stuffed with shoes I have not worn in almost 2 years. Some are new and they are festered over with mold and mildew. What a waste. That doesn’t count the 10+ pair I have given away so far. I was a product of my environment, of advertising, of magazines (not TV, haven’t had cable since 2003) of Macy’s RED discount cards that came in the mail and had an expiration date on them. OMG, HURRY UP AND SHOP!! I did, I used those freaking Macy’s cards, I coveted them. I felt that if I didn’t use them they would explode in my purse or blow up in my greedy hands.

While back in the states this time shopping I saw skirts and tops and shoes galore that I loved but then I remembered why we downsized, why we live the life we do, why we don’t NEED the things we think we WANT. I thought of my life on the island and the fact that I wear the same 3 or 4 dresses (old worn out cotton things) every week. I sweat in them, clean in them, scoop 39 piles of dog crap in 5 minutes in them and many times I nap in them. They are all I need to wear around here. I also have my regular “go to” choices that I wear most of the time. I still have new clothes I have never ever worn that I bought before we moved. And I’ve given away bags of clothes here on the island. While in Marshall’s, my 3rd shopping attempt, I just stood there and looked around at all of the stuff in there. Vases for your flowers, fancy candle holders, dishes, pots and pans, clothes, all kinds of handbags and suitcases (I adore NEW suitcases), then I looked at the people, so intent on buying the things in the store, some had carts full of stuff. I wondered what their lives were missing that they kept buying all this shit, and then I remembered myself and how I normally behaved in a store. These people don’t know that they don’t NEED this stuff, they have not reached that point. Some never will, some already have and are working on their plan. I’m glad I’m over it.

I’m getting there, not quite there but I’m trying like hell. Since I have been spending so much time with Nidia and seeing parts of the island most people don’t get to see (some people who live here would rather ignore the fact these places exist) it has opened my eyes so much. I see children who don’t get breakfast because there is no money for food, kids who wear size 9 mens shoes to school because it’s all they have, little girls who wear knee socks belonging to their years older sisters that are 4″ too long and they have the sock folded over under their foot, inside their shoe. Some kids have no shoes. Their homes have no glass or screens in the windows, no flush toilets, no comfy beds with 600 thread count sheets, no electricity or running water. I see women wearing whatever they can find off the piles of clothes that are donated from other countries. A striped skirt with a plaid shirt. Who cares? They are clean, so what if they match? It has made me realize that to be happy I don’t need things, I need moments.

The moment when the little boy hugged me before I even fitted him for TOMS shoes, the smile on the face of the girl I gave 5 pairs of shoes to, the children as we handed out meager Christmas gifts last Christmas, the smiles on the faces of the mothers we gave food to, the smile of the little boy we gave a Spiderman backpack to, the little girl who was amazed at her fancy pink plastic ruler; and I think I need more new stuff? I don’t need shoes until I wear these out. I don’t need clothes until I have nothing to wear. Yes, I’ve learned a lot as I’ve grown older and living here makes me realize that I still have a shitload to learn.

So there you have it..

My parents and I only went out to eat once to Olive Garden, their favorite place. It was fine as far as chain restaurants go, certainly not a Milano’s or a Cal’s Cantina, but it was fun to be with them and they enjoyed their meal.

I left the next morning, after making sure I had everything, I was off to Ikea to get 2 bathmats (which I needed and they are MUCH cheaper and nicer than the variety here) and then to my sister’s. At the last minute I made a stop at a TJ Maxx. I walked around with hangers in my hands and hung them all back and left. I bought NOT A THING, despite the urgent feeling I had to shop, I got over it and left with a smile on my face.

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I had 2 of these complete headlight assemblies to carry home and pack so they arrived in one piece. They did.

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And all of these dog toys

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and these and there are more not photographed!

I had a great dinner with my sister and her husband. Miss and I repacked my headlights on her dining room table, we ate and I left there around 8, went to check into the hotel, then return the rental car, get a shuttle to the hotel, sleep for 4 hours, get a shuttle to the airport and begin the flight home.

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The sight of the beach made me tear up.

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Look at that gorgeous water

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Half Moon Bay (West End) and West Bay beach

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A ‘hood that I didn’t know existed and will now have to find it

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Flowers Bay

It’s nice to work at the airport, I know all the baggage handlers and some of the people on the tarmac. I got hugs and as soon as I was through Immigration Banjo came over and grabbed my baggage claim checks, Orlando hugged me and Luis gave me a high 5! Once again, those PRIORITY tags mean nada in Roatan.

I asked Bill to bring Barrio to the airport when he came to pick me up. He brought him and he puked twice on the way, all over the truck and Bill. When we got home Bill had  to pull the seats and console out of the truck and scrub everything. Around 4 we noticed a big sore on Gringo’s elbow so I called Bethany to make sure Doc was still there and Gringo and I headed down. He would have no part of riding in the car. A mile down the road he crawled over on my lap and peed. All over me and my cloth seats, while I’m driving, one-handed down the road. We saw Doc, he gave Gringo an antibiotic shot and he howled for 3 solid minutes, I was in tears. I also have to bathe him with special soap and give him cephalexin for a week. We were headed home and he was on my lap again, crying, straining to not be anywhere in the car at all.  Soon I felt the warm trickle run down between my legs, my underwear was wet and I DIDN’T EVEN PEE. GRINGO DID. AGAIN!! Just as we pulled in the driveway he puked all over my arm, into the door handle/well and alongside my seat onto the floor. Welcome home Mom!!

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Bill put another coat of sealer on the floors while I was gone. The floors looks great but I had the aftermath to deal with.

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I unloaded my suitcases onto every available counter space.

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It was a nightmare

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Dog toys, brown rice (don’t ask) and 8 tubes of Sensodyne toothpaste. TJ Maxx bag was from Bill’s socks!

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Dominoes for the senior dinner

It took me 3 days but I got everything put away and cleaned the dog hair off the floor.

We took the pups swimming and I’ve never had so much fun, photos will be in the next blog.

I apologize that these posts are rather random. My brain is really flipping random right now. So much going on, Senior’s luncheon is tomorrow, we worked HARD all day and will be there at 7:30 tomorrow morning to finish setting up everything. We are expecting 450 people for lunch, games, music, dancing, throwing down some Dominoes and a Maypole..

Next week it’s the vet group, Helping Paws Across Borders, I’ll be working there several days. Then Chance comes, There is so much going on and I’ll bust my butt to keep you all in the loop.

My vodka is empty, I have to publish this, shower, kiss the puppies and then it’s crash time for me.

P.S. New record, 65 new piles of poop in 2 days.

 

Leaving the rock

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07/16/2015  When I posted the previous blog, I said that when I’m working at the airport, I welcome people to the island with a smile and say, “Welcome to Roatan.” Later that day I got a friend request from someone that I didn’t know. I vaguely remember getting a WordPress message that someone new was following my blog so I looked at the name and at the friend request and realized it was the same person, so I accepted her friend request. I then looked at Julies FB page and came across this poem written by her husband Robby Bennett and posted on June 25th. {posted with his permission}

It’s called, appropriately:

“Welcome to Roatan”

Ten years they spent dreaming and designing their plans
Out the door they walked, their entire existence in their hands
Another world they both longed to learn and explore
A new life they sought on some distant Caribbean shore.

The sun was just starting to show its light
Soon they’d be catching their dream flight
Anxious and nervous they stepped out of the cab
Their bags taken under arm as he pays their tab.

Checked in and passed security, they waited to board
Butterflies in their stomachs as the engine roared
The plane lifts up and into the sky they did roam
Another world they would both soon call home.

Nothing more than clouds and ocean below
The plane flew them where they wanted to go
Tears in their eyes as they glanced over the wing
As off in the distance their island could be seen.

They dropped through the clouds as the plane flew over the beach
Touching down as the engine slowed and the tires began to screech
The captain came over the speakers “Welcome to Roatan”
Ten years in the making they finally realized their plan.

Smiling faces greeted them as they exited the plane
Immediately they knew their plan was not in vain
No more worries or keeping up with the Joneses
A much simpler life with daily hammock dozes.

Listening to the melody of the waves and trade winds
Barbecuing the days’ catch or making new friends
Laughing and loving, living life like it was meant to be
Or sitting quietly, just the two of them down by the sea.

Lazy days, doing nothing or diving on the reef
An unreal world that seems totally make belief
But it’s their new life, exactly as they planned
Far away from old troubles, “Welcome to Roatan”.

Isn’t that an awesome poem? He should be marketing moving to Roatan, he expresses the feeling so perfectly.

I have since been in contact with Julie and she can’t believe I’m a greeter a the airport and that I say that to people. I look forward to meeting them!

I am never thrilled leaving the rock, really not. This time I was excited for the opportunity to see my parents and sister and to do some shopping but was not mentally prepared for what life in the US is all about.

The shoreline of Roatan is so gorgeous.

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The small island on the left with a dock is owned by my friend Milesse. It is a divers paradise, check out Barefoot Cay.

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French Harbor, where I lived when I was down here alone for 4 months.

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Little French Key (r) and Big French Key are the two islands in the bottom center.

I had a nice trip to the states, it was interesting to say the least;  I was flying on the day United’s computers crashed. again. My flight from here was 2 hours late making the connection in Houston next to impossible. We were landing at 6:45, my flight departed at 7:05. Fortunately we have Global and that allows me preferential treatment as opposed to waiting in the formidable lines for immigration. I cleared it in mere minutes and ran to the baggage carousel. I found out that my connecting flight to Baltimore was also delayed until 8:20. Hmmm, it’s possible I’ll make it. We are Premier Gold with United which means your bags get offloaded first (except in Roatan where they do not understand the word written on the tag that says PRIORITY) However in Houston I waited for 40 minutes; my bags did come out first after the four flights that came in before we did. The line through customs was at least 250 people long, no lie. Off to the right I saw a sign that said GLOBAL EXIT ONLY so I ran like hell with my cart with 2 suitcases on it to that line and there were 4 people in front of me. I re checked my bags and ran up the escalator to security. There was no Premier line, dammit!! I got in the regular line and when it was my turn to get in the full body scanner,  just as I stepped in the girl said, “Miss, can you please step out, WE HAVE TO RECALIBRATE THE MACHINE.” My brain was screaming, WHAT?? YOU NEED TO DO THIS NOW? I HAVE 7 fu*&%ng MINUTES. It took a few minutes to do, I went through, gathered my belongings and started to walk as fast as possible which wasn’t fast enough. I kicked off my flip flops, grabbed them and ran to the gate. I asked the ladies there if I made it and they said barely. Once I got on the plane there was a girl in MY SEAT. Oh no you don’t.. I said, you are in my seat, three times before she looked up from her phone. She said, I’m in 8F, I said, good because I am in 8A and you are in my seat. There was already someone in 8F and the 2 people in 8D and E were both ticketed to sit in the same seat, 8D. The girl in my seat said you can just sit in 8F and I said NO, I want my seat. Dammit to hell..They finally got that straightened out and I was in my seat and off to Baltimore, not arriving until 12:30 AM. Only 1 suitcase arrived, thankfully it was the full and not the empty one. I went in to the United agent who was super sweet and helpful. She looked it up and said, “it’s in Houston, TSA confiscated it.” WHAT? It’s empty except for an empty Samsonite nylon duffle bag.  She assumed that’s why it was taken and assured me it would be delivered to me in the Solomons on Friday. Luckily it was not a big deal to me, one less bag to haul for now.

My plan was to get a good nights sleep and then my friend from decades ago Bill Gross, who happened to be in MD at the same time (he is currently traveling the US) was going to pick me up for breakfast. I got to my hotel after 1 and crashed. I told Bill that I would call when I woke up and then he could come get me. I was aroused from the sleep of the dead at 8:30 by my cell phone ringing. I jumped out of bed and grabbed it, knowing it would be Bill. I was still mentally in a different time zone and wondered WTH he was calling so early, until I glanced at the clock. Holy shit, 8:30. I asked him how long it would take him to get here and he said, “I’m here.” Alrighty then, quickest shower in history, reloaded my suitcase and was out the door. We went to Crackerbarrel for breakfast and to rehash the many years that have passed. Funny, didn’t seem like that long since I had last seen him.

We spent a few hours chatting then he took me to BWI car rental where I picked up my illegally?? driven car for the week. Since my parents live 90 min. from BWI, I have no other options than to rent a car and use my credit card as the only insurance. The rental company never asked if I had insurance either. I do however have a legal US drivers license.

From there I drove to the Potomac Mill outlet in Woodbridge, VA. I had my heart set on a Vera Bradley backpack.

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The outlet mall is ginormous, I had a difficult time finding the store. Once I stepped in the mall I was overcome by the sights and sounds and people, swarms of them, everyfreakingwhere.

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I was elated when I saw the Vera Bradley sign and almost ran to the store. I was overcome with all the colors and patterns and sizes and styles and zippers and choices. The only pack I could decide on was black and that defeated the whole purpose, so I left. It was too much for me.

From there I drove back up towards Baltimore and then down to my parents. I was so glad to get out of the car! When I walked in their house they invited me into their “warehouse.” My room filled with boxes. All Amazon.com.

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This isn’t all of it, things were delivered for several days.

Just a few pics from Asbury in the Solomon’s, MD. The grounds are nicely maintained but that’s about the only positive thing I can say abut the “retirement village” they are living in.

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their back yard

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Their sun porch where they spend most of the time.

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Osprey nest, Solomon’s Pier

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Mama Osprey

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Guarding the baby birds

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Asbury Solomon’s buildings

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On the Patuxent River

Not going to go into the reasons we are displeased with the place they live, it’s too depressing. BUT, on the flip side, my parents are doing quite well considering Mom turns 90 on August 1st and Dad is 94. They both still drive, not a great distance but they are mobile. It’s always an adventure going to visit them and this time was no different. I find it exhausting changing your daily lifestyle for a week, but worth it in the end.

More on that and my revelation that I had while in Marshall’s in Lexington, Md. It was kind of an epic event for this shopper girl. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

A quickie before I go

smile06/05/2015 Our fourth July 4th spent on Roatan. We were very low key. All the dogs watched except Lucky, he barked. The pups sat on the steps staring at the sky, I’m glad we were here for their first night of explosions. Bill worked at home all day and I did my airport gig all day. I was also a greeter last Saturday and while making my way through the lines chatting to people someone said my name and then said, “you’re Mermaid On a Raft.” I have NEVER BEEN SO FLATTERED IN MY LIFE. She introduced herself as Lizeth so I kind of followed them through the line and chatted with them (her husband and friends) for a bit. Yesterday as I was getting ready to go into the immigration area I saw them again, they were heading home. Then I recently got a comment on an older blog post from a gal that we met at La Sirena. Her husband just happened to find my blog and remembered talking to us at Jimmy’s. A few of them had on Akumal shirts and we have been to Akumal so naturally conversation ensued. Strong rum punches also encourage conversation..Liza and I have been in touch by email recently and are making plans to get together when they return this fall. Liza, hope you are recovering! (bicycle crash)

It sure is a small damn world.

Being a greeter at the airport is tiring but I LOVE IT! I especially love that I finally got to see my boy Tank yesterday. Kevin and Claire have made him the Blue Reef Properties official mascot and greeter. I saw Kevin come in the airport and he pointed over his shoulder to Claire and Tank in the parking lot. I went right out to see him and once he smelled me he knew exactly who I was. I was so happy to see him that Claire said to me, “are you crying?” Yep!! so happy Tank has a good home, they really adore him, which makes me feel good. I got to see him a second time during our break waiting for the 2:45 United flight to arrive. Sure love that boy!

I really enjoy welcoming all the people coming to the island and talking with them about their visit, answering questions and meeting the whole family. A girl asked me yesterday how I got the gig and did it pay well. I told her I volunteered and no it doesn’t pay at all. It’s just a good thing that we are doing and according to the feedback we get, people really like being greeted by someone with a big smile on their face saying, Welcome To Roatan!

And YAY, Lizeth (from the airport) just friended me on FB!! Thank you so much for introducing yourself, look forward to meeting up with you next time!

I met Nidia from Because We Care again this past week in Pandy Town. She was wood burning names on the backs of the desks and I went to take photos and for moral support. There are 2 classrooms but only 1 teacher showed up. The room next to us was being loud so Nidia went in and had a chat with them. I followed her in with my camera and that instigated a whole other experience. I started taking photos and they got crazy funny laughing at their pics..I’m getting them developed and taking them back to the students when I return from my escapade in the states.

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Shy or silly

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Brilliant smile

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making faces

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cutie

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Her hair must have taken hours. She is so pretty.

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Another beauty

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Camera shy

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She was too

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such pretty young girls

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He kind of loves the camera

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pretty pretty

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Not my picture, then he got hysterical when he saw it

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This was pretty funny too. Hope I can recognize him by the back of his head to give him this picture

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Nidia, AKA Wonder Woman, etching the names into the backs of the desks.

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Schoolyard dog, thankfully he wasn’t injured..

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recess and time to eat some mango

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or drink some sugar syrup stuff, like Kool Aid but probably worse.

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Playing hopscotch, it was drawn in the dirt.

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This little boy was adorable. Instead of tossing a stone, they were using a piece of glass. No joke.

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glass

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This is the snack bar at the school

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He asked me to take his picture

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So did these sweet girls. There was a man and a young boy at the school when I arrived. They were in the other room passing out school supplies and stuffed animals to everyone.

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Had to photograph these 2 also!

I leave on Wednesday for the US for 5 days + 2 days of travel.  I SUCK at packing. I totally am the worst packer ever.  I am physically and mentally incapable of packing  just a few things. My issue is, I can’t just “assign” outfits for a day b/c I may not be in the mood for the outfit of the day and I may not want to wear that option EVER AGAIN. I just put 1 more skirt and 2 more tops in the travel bag and am going to try my damnest to not add  another frigging thing. I am however, taking 2 huge bags and a huge duffle.  Actually, one big suitcase is for my 2 complete headlight assemblies for my car. The ones that were in it were the wrong ones and incorrect voltage. When I  put new bulbs in they exploded, seriously, into little pieces. An electrician here told us in 5 min. time what the problem was and by damn, he was right. We have spent the last 2.5 months trying to get ones here and gave up. I’ll transport them home and I will FINALLY be able to drive after dark! So, I’ll have a few (sic) clothes, ALL THE STUFF I’VE ORDERED ON AMAZON and my headlights and anything I buy to lug home. Yay for shopping in the USA. Happy it doesn’t happen often.

Today we ran down to the Beach Grill to get some stuff from Rob and then went to Rob and Lisa’s homes to see our former puppies, Bandit and Sable.  We took Barrio with us. He puked once all over the floor mat, then I stupidly gave him some water and he puked again. Lola used to get carsick too, guess he needs to travel more. Bandit and Sable remembered both of us but Barrio was a little apprehensive. I actually think it was mostly because he had been car sick. I let him off his leash and he started running around and playing with them.

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Driving on the beach from the Beach Grill

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It is a road. Sort of.

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Dock at Tranquil Seas

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Sandy Bay

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Cool plant but I didn’t really get to examine it so I’m confused..

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Barrio meets his brother Bandit (R) again

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Sable and Bandit both checking out Barrio

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Is Bandit not adorable??

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Sable and Barrio, she was the only female pup so she is a tough one!!

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You can tell Barrio and Bandit are brothers

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Lisa and Rob’s cat

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Sable chewing Barrio’s ear

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Little Miss Feisty

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The neighbor dog w/ Bandit and Sable

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Barrio was very timid

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Standing on the dock on the bay. His feet were going between the boards, he didn’t like that.

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Rob and Lisa’s restaurant, The Beach Grill. A really good restaurant with a gorgeous view!

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Sacked out on my foot until I gave him the last little bite of Bill’s burger, he was hungry after throwing up all of his breakfast.

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Just a quick pose, first restaurant visit.

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Beach Grill is attached to the Blue Bahia resort, separate owners. Olivia and I stayed at Blue Bahia in 2010.

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Boys fishing

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It really is a sucky place for a hammock…NOT.

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My 3 boys sit until I put their food down. I don’t even have to say a word, they know.

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They are still sharing out of the lasagna pan. Maybe it will teach them not to fight over food.

Handsome Highway..he and Lola guard the dish while the boys eat. Never know when a piece will find it’s way into their mouths!

This morning while cleaning up the kitchen I threw something in the trash can. EEWWW. There was a good sized dead lizard in there. I asked Bill, “why is there a dead lizard in the trash.” His response, was, “I didn’t think you would want it laying on the floor.”  My cat does not eat them, only slays them. Although, that statement doesn’t explain the gross lizard tail in my last post.

Life in the jungle.

P.S. I lied when I said this was a quickie..once I start talking, well, you know.

****Thanks Lizeth and Liza for reaching out, hope to see you on the island again soon.****

 

Final note, I promise. We changed Brindles’ name (Bill hated it) to Gringo..