Now I want gills

you-me

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

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

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

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Thanks Tarra for buying this awesome wine thermos for me!

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

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

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

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He was skin and bones

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

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

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

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Dog food in the making

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

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

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

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

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

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Improved view, neighbor took down an ugly dirty tree.

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

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

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

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Blue Islands divers are beachside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Corky sea fingers

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Scattered pore rope sponge

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Branching vase sponge

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Giant Barrel Sponge

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So jagged

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A blue sea rod coming through a barrel sponge

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This was on a swim through

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My friend and dive master extraordinaire, Eric

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Cole getting a huge Lionfish

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

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Finger coral, a large brain coral on the left.

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Can’t get enough

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Club finger coral

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Sponges with some yellow fish swimming by

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Sea rods

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

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

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

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Club finger coral

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So amazing

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One of my favorite pics of the day.

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

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

Gills are on my Christmas list.

 

 

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Equalize, equalize, equalize. My new mantra.

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

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

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

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

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She carries her rope with her tail.

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

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

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

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I saw this on my way home.

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

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Chris and I on the roof

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Bill and Jimmy and Highway and Max

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

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Dozens of pairs of shorts

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Jerseys of every color

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

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

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

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Checking out their gear.

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

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

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

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The uniforms made the day for these boys.

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

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

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

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I love seeing girls playing soccer!

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Their bleachers

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

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

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

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

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

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Beautiful sponges

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

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Love the blue color

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Caroline took this of me

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Sea fan

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

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

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

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Ernesto also spotted these cleaner shrimps. So cool.

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They attach themselves to whatever needs cleaned.

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A Nassau Grouper

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

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

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Stunning blue sponges

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Coral

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This was huge, over 3′ tall

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There is something down in this one also.

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill and I, thanks Keri for the photos.

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

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

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

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

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I sat on the porch and squeezed them all.

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So juicy

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Picture perfect

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

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I filled up 4 ice cube trays with lime juice.

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

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

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

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