Hustle and bustle of the holidays

xmas

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

weird

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.

 

 

‘Twas a dark and stormy morning

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11/15/2016 I wanted to get a quick blog out before my company comes, bear with me, I’m mentally disjointed lately.

We went to Alexi’s “graduation” ceremony a few weeks ago. It began 35 min late and seemed to be so drawn out and disorganized. There was a question contest, boys against girls. For instance, which doesn’t belong: apple, mango, banana, legume, but she couldn’t say legume. I almost stood on the bench and hollered, “the word is legume, it’s a f@*king bean.” The contest went on for about 40 questions, 10 would have been sufficient. The teacher read each question twice, once in English and once in Spanish. I wanted to pull her tongue out of her mouth and run screaming out the back door of the church, still holding on to her tongue. I’m not real good in these situations, my mind takes off. Spirits? Alexi got an award for only missing one day of school. I got his report card, checked it out and handed it to him. He said he wanted me to keep it. Well, alrighty then, I guess his Mom isn’t interested in it. Alexi had the last of his dental visits, all of his teeth are filled and we have talked to him many times about the importance of his teeth and how he needs to take care of them.

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Alexi getting his attendance certificate

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Alexi reciting his poem, he said it so fast I have no idea what it was.

On one of my first outings after I hurt my foot, I met Annie, my twin, at Cemesa Hospital. She fell while standing on her bed and hurt her back, she wanted to get it checked out. I was on my crutch and she had a walking stick 3′ taller than her. We were chatting in the hallways at Cemesa and they tried to get us to sit down, we probably looked bad for business. When she was done we walked from Cemesa to Mega Paca, she with a big stick and me with a crutch. I really hope everyone I know saw us cause we were flipping hysterical. We shopped for awhile, she’s little and disappears but I looked for her big huge staff to find her.  Now that I’m thinking about it, we should have had photos. Then we lugged our bags back to her car and she took me to my car. I went to Eldon’s, 1 month after the accident, first time out. I was whooped by the time I was finished there. I grabbed a soft drink and took a few swigs at the check out, then stuck it in my bag. While backing out of the lot I heard a loud fizzzz, my bottle of Fresca fizzled (lid not tight) all over the inside of my Keen bag. The damn bag is watertight. I could pour a bottle of wine in that bag and carry a crazy straw. Food for thought.

I have not been doing much in the way of fun wise. I did go to a Mondays Don’t Suck, Francie and Franklin picked me up in their chariot. It was fun seeing everyone but I hated having to sit in the damn chair the whole time, I’m usually leading the conga line! We got stormed on while there but it cleared up and was nice again. I’m happy that all the regulars are back on the rock.

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Franklin getting ready to twirl until he gets enough air in his beach lounger.

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Francie lounging in 2 of them.

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Franklin and The Duchess

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Marilyn let me use one of her awesome wine glass holders that Francie bought her.

On the foot front, it’s a slow go. I saw the doc again last week and he said he feels I am doing extremely well, considering. I feel I should be 100% by now and able to frolic on the beach with my friends. He said I can dive but he doubts I can wear my fin, I plan to try it in the pool soon. I have recently come to the realization that I have not (can not, will not) accepted the fact that I severely injured my foot and that people my age don’t snap back like a 25 year old, no matter how badly we want to. Today I pressure washed the concrete deck out back, moved furniture and cleaned up dog hair, vacuumed all the dog hair off the furniture, cleaned the dog hair off the screens and cleaned out all the window tracks in the living room. Then I washed the walls going down the stairs (dirt from the dogs) and cleaned the banisters (dog hair) and the stairs (more dog hair). After that I was exhausted and my foot was screaming. Like I said, I still don’t accept the fact that I’m not “good to go.” No-one ever said patience was one of my virtues.

I just wrote another article for International Living. It required me to finally visit my friend Daniels’ Sloth and Monkey Hangout. Let me say, holding a sloth has been on my bucket list and to know I can go hold one anytime is simply awesome. I talked to Daniel and Stephanie for awhile about how he got the sloths to begin with, met a lady and her daughter who are US missionaries living in Guatemala. She was sweet and took photos of me holding the sloth.

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A new favorite place of mine.

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Seven 3 toed sloths live at the Hangout, none are ever caged.

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So fascinating.

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Only the males have this unique stripe down their backs.

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I love these creatures.

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You can go in the cages with the parrots and they will sit on your shoulder and eat out of your hand.

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Believe it or not, this was on my bucket list. My arms look really weird, must have to do w/ my sports bra and side boob.

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On my way to the Sloth Hangout I had to stop so the Egret could cross the road.

We have been deluged with rain, so much so that I am freaking done with it. Everything is moldy and mildewed. I’m attempting to get the house ready for guests. My cleaning girl came last week and spent 6 hours in our closet and bedroom. I told Bill he can NOT touch his clothes.

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Four days later and it’s still neat

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My way of folding is similar to pulling taffy, same hand motion.

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This picture is only in here for Trish.

I bought a nice flat sheet at Mega Paca and another duvet cover to make dog beds. I took the duvet cover apart one evening and the next day I had Bill put my sewing machine on the porch. I used an old thin quilt and some polar fleece blankets I bought and made 5 new dog beds. Two are for the  kennels because they like sleeping in them and three others for the floor. The morning after their first night of use Gringo (I know it was him, he’s the destroyer of beds), chewed a hole in one. Dammit, I spent all day making them and broke at least 5 machine needles in the process. I hand stitched the hole closed and the next night he ripped a hole bigger than 2 of his heads. I made these beds out of cool cotton, hoping they would use them and reduce the calluses on their elbows but nope, not happening. They can have them during the day if we’re home, otherwise they are put away. They just don’t get it.

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Barrio and 2 of the beds

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Gringo, the bed destroyer

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Lola doesn’t like it so she pushes it to the front.

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New breakfast food, eggs and zucchini cooked in coconut oil with a spoonful of tuna on top. The dogs devour it. I go through over 60 eggs a week.

My cleaning girl comes again Friday to do the downstairs before Julie and Robby get here on Saturday. Of course, the fabulous island power company has chosen Friday morning for our end of the island to have power shut down while they do some maintenance. Should make cleaning interesting, especially if it’s as dark and gloomy as it has been. We actually turned the lights on the other morning, that is a rare event for sure. We have had a bazillion inches of rain, the dogs are moldy, the concrete is growing fuzz and Gringo is still having skin issues. He is going to the vets that come over from Tegus on Saturday morning. I plan to not leave there until they tell me what the hell is wrong with his skin and how I can fix it. I’ve been trying for 3 months now and it’s no better.

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During a torrential downpour yesterday.

So there you have it, not much interesting going on but I’m sure they will be a lot to write about coming up. Company arriving Saturday, Thanksgiving dinner (hopefully on the roof) with 6 of us and then more company the next evening for dinner. After that we’ll be getting into the swing of the holidays and the Christmas parties for the kids.

Wishing all of you a great Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family. I always miss our families a lot this time of year.

Like you’re under sedation

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10/31/2016 This rain is getting tiring, I feel bad for the dogs being cooped up inside because of the torrential downpours. Actually I’m feeling bad being cooped up myself but the weather has nothing to do with my interment.

I woke this morning to a tropical monsoon outside and 5 dogs anxiously waiting for the Momma to get up. Maybe they thought my mystical powers would make the outside more to their liking but alas, it was not to be. The rain has been non-stop the majority of the month, raining almost daily, at night or late afternoon, which is cool. Recently, however it just flipping rains and rains and hard rain too, not any little Seattle like drizzle that people still mow their lawns in. Oh no, this is stay in and stay dry. The roads become like black ice during the rainy season due to all the malfunctioning, poorly maintained vehicles. They leak oil all over the road and as we all know, oil and water don’t mix. Not one bit. I normally drive rather swiftly but when it’s raining, not so much.

That being said, I have not driven since October 6th. I have been out of the house 2 times since then, only to see the doctor. My new physical therapist came to the house on Friday, super nice guy. He was trained in the US and he and his girlfriend will soon be moving down this way on the rock. Mario talked to me about my injury and pointed out the ugly bruises on the bottom of my foot (I didn’t even know it was still bruised). He suggested I wear sneakers because, as we all know and hate to admit, flip flops do $hit for your feet. I have new sneakers, I have worn them once in 5 years and I hated every step I took down and back up the driveway with the dogs when I wore them the one time. I have been trying to wear them around the house if I’m cleaning up the kitchen or on my feet for longer than 15 seconds, but they hurt. They hurt too much to even wear for a short period of time and I’m thinking if they hurt that is not good. I’ve also been doing the exercises Mario gave me and can do one pain free but after I do the other one I’m hurting for certain. I posted a photo of the bottom of my foot on FB just because I didn’t want people to think I’m a sissy and a whiner and my sister-in-law who was a radiology tech for a long time thinks they missed something and that there is a break. I guess I’ll be going back for another x-ray this week.

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Colorful and painful

I realized I had another alien growing out of my ankle hole so I decided to extricate the thing the other day. After yanking and pulling, something that appeared to be rubber band like was holding the alien in my ankle. With enough pulling and twisting I was able to get it off. Now my ankle is painful to the touch, can’t let it lay on that side on the sheets or anything. Damn, this leg has to go.

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The alien begins to emerge

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This is what comes out of the hole, it’s a hard callus stringy like thing.

I can’t let the alien alone because it hurts like hell if I bump it or the dogs run into it. It feels like it sticks out of my ankle a good foot and is just waiting for contact with something to remind me it is there. So much for any sense of normalcy on this blog. Sorry.

We went to the docs on Tuesday to see what he had to say about my ankle and it was no walking for 10 more days without a crutch and to start Physical Therapy. This is the mess we came home to, Barrio had managed to find my calendars and chew them up plus he got on the table where I set the trash can to keep it out of his way and he emptied  it all over the floor, shredded.

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Part of the mess and yes, all the furniture is covered because, dog hair lives here.

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Hiding

He got smacked with the calendar and yelled at and he ran and hid alongside the refrigerator for an hour at least. I had to baby and kiss and love him to get him to come out of hiding. First time he ever got in trouble and it didn’t go over well with him at all.

Sitting here in the house looking at things has my mind going a million miles a minute. I see all the things that need done but that I can’t do, at least right now. I had Bill take all 4 of the orange ceiling lights down and I scrubbed them and he sanded the metal poles holding them together, repainted them and rehung them, big difference. Now I want  to clean out the closet and re-do the shelving, I want a bi-fold door on it, pronto. I’ll have Carla come and clean it, I heard she makes it look like a store. We have had so much rain that the closet/laundry room floor was soaked the other night. We assumed the rain came in the (closed?) window. Bill mopped the floor then turned the ceiling fan on to dry it out in there and water flew out of the fan as the blades circulated. OOPS. Not supposed to happen like that. It had rained so hard water got in the conduits on the roof and down into the fan. That was fixed yesterday. I also let the bomb drop that I want to repaint the upstairs, the blue is really getting on my nerves. I already know what color I want, it’s finding the time to prep the walls and do it, and we have company coming in 3 weeks.

Martha Stewart, I mean Marilyn and Carmen came over last Thursday and brought a lunch feast and a sewing machine. Martha made a cover for my dog torn futon so Robby and Julie will have a decent couch to sit on while here (when they’re not upstairs hanging out with us). After that was done we came upstairs and had lunch and just hung out for awhile, so nice of them to stop by and visit. Miss hanging out with everyone.

We were going to a get together at Carmen and Brett’s Sunday but I felt pretty crappy all day Saturday and didn’t eat much. Bill made spiralized french fries for dinner (I know, not your normal meal) and they were so good and I ate so many I was dutifully ill on Sunday. We stayed home and between naps I prepped some food and Bill made 2 loaves of zucchini bread and a big pot of carrot soup. It tasted so good.

I just got off the phone with my folks. They finally seem to be adjusting to life in the new place, at least I think they are. They have stopped complaining all the time to me about it so that’s a positive sign. My sister sent me these pics of them a few weeks ago. It looks like the grocery store Olympics, note Dad has beer and plenty of it on his cart. I’m a chip off the old block.

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This is outside their apartment door. They look pretty damn good for 95 and 90!

I am still fighting the never ending skin battle with Gringo, and I am not winning this at all. I have removed all grains, all vegetables that are hi- glycemic, no peanut butter, no bananas no pumpkin oatmeal balls. Instead he is getting scrambled eggs, yogurt, spinach and tuna for breakfast and Kirkland dry food, no grains but brown rice with zucchini, spinach and lentils in it for dinner. He is on medication for what I have diagnosed him with: Malassezia Pachydermatitis. I am not a vet and there is not a vet on the island that can check him for an auto immune disease which I believe he has. When Pro Vets come I am having his thyroid checked (they nor the other vets on the mainland do auto immune issues) but that’s not until Thanksgiving, and on Wed. he is going to Doc for an erlichia test. He is bathed every other day (weather permitting) with 2 different shampoos and a friend just brought me some Lime Sulfur dip for him. That has to be done outside because it stains and we have glass tiles in our shower. The rain hasn’t let up enough to use it. He’s not sick, eating well, playing, happy, loving, he just scratches and digs and claws at himself constantly. With 5 dogs, it is always something.

As I sit here the sky is rumbling with thunder and the winds have picked up a little bit, think we have more storms coming. For the first time today I can actually see both shores so something is changing quickly. I’m ready for some sunshine and pool time.

Happy Halloween everyone, we’ll be home today and tonight I am watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and maybe I’ll even do a little Time Warp too.

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My island pumpkin

 

Rockiversary number 3

10/26/2016 WARNING: Only a couple of photos in this blog.

Three years ago today we stepped off the Delta flight at the Roatan airport. It was a Saturday and we had two dogs and a cat in crates, five suitcases and four carry-ons.

A little timeline to put things in perspective.

March 4, 2013 I moved home from my 4 months in Roatan. I had moved there Nov 3rd 2012 with my cat Emmy and rescued Highway while I was there. Bill had to come get me to help with the animals.

March 30, 2013 I was walking Highway who was 4 months old and Dooce, our 90# Malamute Shepherd mix dog on the runway. I was screwing with my camera, not paying attention and they were running and playing. Dooce leveled me. I think I flew in the air because the wind was knocked out of me and the camera that was on a strap around my neck flew off. Bill was in the house and happened to look out the kitchen window. He had no idea why I was laying on the ground so he came out to see. He got the car and drove it over to where I was, we had already confirmed I couldn’t walk. Bill and Trace got me in the car to go to the hospital. They did x-rays and then the Doc came in. Yep, broken fibula, tibia and dislocated ankle. No surgery until tomorrow because I had eaten a big meal. Surgery happened at 3:30 PM the next day and I went home the next morning. I was packing to move out of the country and I COULDN’T WALK FOR TWO MONTHS. After I could walk I had therapy until my knee surgery.

April 18, 2013 Bill’s friend drove him down to Seattle to have his knee replacement replaced. He was down there for 3 days, I was in a wheelchair with 2 dogs to take care of.

Once he semi recovered he began packing the hangar/shop and building crates for our stuff to go in. I was still packing from a wheelchair.

We sold our house to Koreans who were putting in buildings to grow Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms. They said we could stay there for awhile. Define awhile please. Soon deliveries of their materials started coming. At one point there were at least 10 tractor trailers in our yard.

August 13th, 2013 I had my knee replaced. I was in the hospital 2 days, came home the third. I was still packing belongings to move.

September 1, 2013 We were told the guys building the greenhouses were moving in to our house the end of the month. We could stay, they would live there with us, we had 3 other bedrooms. OH NO, this was not happening.

September 30, 2013 We moved to half a double about 3 miles from our house. It was nice and clean but we had sold all of our furniture so we had a blow up air bed and 2 zero gravity chairs.

October 7, 2013 We started looking for flights to Roatan on United in a few months. What we realized was: 1) If we wanted to fly United we could not take our animals, they no longer flew animals to Roatan unless they were in the cabin. The dogs were too big for that. 2) if we wanted to fly Delta or American we had to do it before Nov 1 due to the embargo on flying animals in cargo until the end of March.

We bought tickets leaving Seattle Oct. 25th, arriving RTB Oct 26, 2013

October 7, 2013 While booking flights we realized Bill’s passport was going to expire and not be valid for the required six month period to enter Honduras so he had to rush order another passport.

October 16th, 2013 I began the paperwork to take the 3 animals to their new home. It’s the pet paperwork game. It requires you to do all of your paperwork in the 10 day time frame before you land on the island. Not 9 days or 11 days, TEN. I was familiar with the hoops I had to jump through to accomplish this so that was my job. I had to go to the vets, make sure the animals were up date on everything(they were) then I had to Fed Ex the paperwork to Olympia WA to the USDA so they could verify that my vet was an accredited vet with the state of WA. ( Doesn’t a copy of the vets current license show that?) Then they had to sign each document at an outrageous cost to us and send it all back to me in the prepaid self addressed Fed Ex envelope I sent to them with the paperwork. At that time in history Obama had shut down all federal offices (National Parks issue) but luckily there was a skeleton crew at the USDA. Meaning things moved slower than the extremely slow pace things move in government offices.

October 23, 2013 We had the paperwork in hand for the animals. Now we had to rent a vehicle that would hold all of us and the 2 huge crates for the drive to Seattle.

Time was drawing closer to our anticipated departure of October 25th on a red eye to Atlanta. Honduras was on the horizon.

I was so excited and so nervous, scared, stressed about the move. Leaving the comforts of home for a life on a 36 x4 mile island was indeed crazy. We knew a few people, but not a lot by any means. It was going to be different. Not having an 8-5 everyday is a huge change in a person’s life, all of the routine stuff for so many years and then it stops. It’s like going cold turkey from coffee. (I don’t drink coffee, never have, never tasted it)

October 25th, 2013 We took our youngest son to dinner that night and hung out with him to say good bye. We all cried when we finally got in the car for the drive to Seattle.

October 26, 2013 WELCOME TO FREAKING ROATAN, where nothing is what it seems but it’s all good and you’ll love it here.

We were met at the airport by Liz, Bill K and Miguel. Miguel had kept my car, the POS I bought in Nov of 2012 from him so I would have wheels while I was here alone for 4 months. We got the dogs loaded, {Emmy shit in the baggage area of the airport when I pulled her out of her cage, just a few turds, got them with a Kleenex and tossed them in the trash}, the luggage in the car and went to get my wheels. Highway peed for 5 minutes straight. Neither he nor Dooce went in their crates. Once that was done we moved into a house just a hill and a driveway away from our property. I was having a hard time in the house with all the steps and my knee.

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The house a few weeks after we arrived.

Nov 2, 2013 We moved to a single level rental at the foot of our driveway. It made it so much easier for Bill to be up at the house watching the construction and it had a fenced yard for the dogs. This was the 3rd move in 6 weeks.

March 14, 2014 We moved into the lower level of our house! YAY!! We still had stuff we were bringing up from the other place but we had the necessities and if I couldn’t find what I needed I went down to the other place and looked for it. Pain in the butt, not a real big deal in the grand scheme of things.

June 10, 2014 We were moving upstairs. Finally. We didn’t have everything hooked up but we moved anyhow.

We have been working on the house ever since.

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Before garage, pool and new car for me.

Jan 5, 2016 We started the fence out front and the shop.

May 20, 2016 We started the pool

June 10, 2016 Pool is completed

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Friends enjoying the pool.

October 26, 2016  Shop is almost done, fence is complete except for paint.

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Still have to paint gate posts, and bottom concrete around whole fence.

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The shop is all painted and has rain gutters on the right.

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Bill made the shop doors and now has big locks on the outside and inside.

This is just an FYI in case you wondered what we’ve been doing for the last 3 years. I volunteer as much as I can (when I can walk) and I’m also the partier in this family. I’ll never turn down a beach day or a dive day with anyone.

Foot update and then I am outta here:

I was told I “should” be able to walk this past Sunday. Well, I could but with pain so I didn’t push it. Monday I laid low and hung in the pool and on the porch with Carmen who came to visit me. Any day spent with Carmen is a great day. On Tuesday I decided to call the doctor for a check up. I was walking with crutches but putting some weight on my foot, not a lot but some. Let me say: I am not a pain woosie or a whiner and I hate not being able to do things myself so this has been grueling for me. I know, there are a lot of people who have it much worse than I do, and I feel for them. However, it’s me and my mental state I am dealing with. The hospital said to come in at 4 to see Dr Izaguirre. At 5:20, still no Doc, he wasn’t there so we told her we were leaving. As we got off the elevator, there was the Doctor. He had driven all the way from Woods Clinic in Coxen Hole just for my appointment. He left Woods and then was called back due to a situation with a patient. We went up to his office, he examined me, gave me 2 scrips and his cell #. He wants to see me in 2 weeks and wants me to call him in 1 week. He also wants me to start Physical Therapy with someone 2x’s a week. Luckily there is a guy who was trained in the US and he comes to your house. We went to pay for the Dr. visit and they said no fee. WTH? Bill went and got the one scrip, it was for a shot and they were giving it to me in the ER. He brought the med back and the nurse got the needle ready. I said, arm, she smiled and said no. Oh, OK BUTT! Great. The shot was a cortisone/anti-inflammatory shot. He said if I wasn’t better in 2 weeks when I came back to bring that medicine with me again (scrips are good forever here, the pharmacy doesn’t take them once they fill them) and he would give me shots in my foot in the tendons. He said it’s very painful, sounds interesting. Pain intrigues me. I got my shot and came home and by later that evening my foot felt better. I had wine and Oreos for dinner.

My foot feels a lot better today and I am walking on it a little even though he said not to. I know, I throw my cast away on day 3, walk when I’m not supposed to and suck taking meds. I’m just a lousy patient. I also found out I can not dive until I’m 100% better because nitrogen accumulates in damaged tissue and makes you more likely to get the bends, which is something no diver ever wants to experience. I just got DAN insurance. If I had it when I hurt my foot it would have paid for everything. Stupid of me to not have it.

Three years down, many more to come. It’s been raining like crazy, last night I had the window over our bed open and woke at 2:40 ish because I was getting wet. Bill slept right through it, well I woke him worrying about the dogs on the porch but they were nice and dry. I did not go back to sleep and quite honestly, I think it’s o-nap-thirty. Bill is at the dentist with Alexi and the dogs are all crashed out in various spots of the house. Quiet afternoon with more rain to come. Perfect siesta weather.

The crutch olympics

 

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10/20/2016 It’s 2 weeks today that the crutches and I became acquainted. It’s a friendship I could do without. Two freaking weeks, I’ve been out of the house ONCE to go to the doctor a week ago. The doctor is an orthopedic specialist who is here full time, working out of the new hospital and Anthony’s Key resort. He’s a real nice guy and was very thorough but said it’s going to take some time for it to heal. He said I could possibly, maybe put some weight on it ten days from the 13th, which would be this Sunday. HAH! There is no way I can walk on this if it doesn’t drastically improve in the next few days. Waiting for a miracle.

Many thanks to all of you who have constantly been checking in on me, I appreciate it. Yvonne, I soaked my foot tonight, thanks.

Bill is ready for me to be walking again I’m sure. It’s getting old really fast, he has to cater to Emmy’s morning ritual, which is; feed me immediately once your feet hit the floor or else. He’s not a real “immediate” kind of guy. Then he has to give the dogs their morning breakfast which is time consuming, especially if they run out of eggs and he has to scramble 18 more for them. It’s time consuming and not something that bothers me to do for them, I enjoy spoiling them. He thinks I spoil them too much, food wise. I do.

We have been battling a skin condition with Gringo for over a month. My friend Susan and I determined it was a fungal/yeast infection and after speaking to a vet friend in the Bahamas we tried an all inclusive medicine dosing. After 21 days he was no better. Then Susan sent me a link about yeast infections and it fit him to a T. We got shampoo and Bill started bathing him every other day with 2 shampoos and he was a different dog, for a few days. Then he was back to the digging and itching constantly. His elbows look like raw meat. Bill took him to Doc on Wednesday and Doc agrees, it’s a yeast/fungal infection. Gringo is on different meds and still getting every other day baths. We are hoping he will recover and get over this skin affliction, he is the sweetest most easy going big guy ever, I adore him. I put a cone on him because of his chewing but I couldn’t stand his sad face so I took it off. I had to, really, he guilt tripped me into it. Those big puppy dog eyes and him sitting right in front of me staring a hole through my forehead didn’t help.

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Poor sad Gringo

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I adore this big guy. Jessica took this photo.

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He just doesn’t get it, he’s supposed to be ON the cover, not in it.

Last Saturday afternoon Caroline and Sully came over around 3. They are friends I was diving with when I fell. Caroline brought booze, food to make dinner and dessert. She made chicken satay skewers and spicy zoodles. I’ve never had zoodles before and am not a huge zucchini fan unless it’s in bread or muffins but these were delicious. I immediately wanted a spiralizer. Caroline was sweet enough to get one for me. We used it the other night and made garlic and oil zoodles with parmesan cheese, so darn good. I want to get some beets and do them with red onions and a butter sauce. This is similar to my spiralizer.

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Jessica also took this pic of Emmy, hanging out with some scattered cat litter under the bed.

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Jessica cleaning the floors, she loves my little vacuum.

Oh yeah, Jessica. She is Alexi’s 14 year old sister. I thought maybe she could help me out around here, get me drinks, carry things from here to there for me (and earn a few bucks too) so she came over on Tuesday. I had her vac the floors and then she and I went swimming. She loves the pool and is a fish in the water. We have decided Jessica will go to English school with Alexi. She speaks some English but is very difficult to understand, although it’s not for lack of trying. School for all kids ends the second week of Nov. through February. Summer vacation is during the rainy busy season.

I’ve noticed today that Jessica is saying things I say. The first day she was terrified of the dogs but I promised her that even though they were barking at her they would not hurt her. She got in the pool and 2 of them jumped in, she was cool with it. Now she doesn’t seem to mind them. I heard her say to Gringo today, “you are so handsome” and she calls Max Maxie or Maxiedoodle like I do. Funny that she is picking up things like that so quickly. Every morning when she gets here, she asks immediately if she can come tomorrow.

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She is obsessed with Emmy cat and Emmy hates people, including me, except for when I precisely follow her morning rules and pet her while I’m trying to read at night in bed.

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Jessica swam longer yesterday than she worked. It was her second day in the pool. Her younger brother and 5 year old nephew wanted to come and I said no. I’m in no physical condition to be watching 2 kids who can’t swim.

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At one point she asked me for goggles, once she found a pair, she was under.

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Papayas growing right off the deck

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A girl and her raft

She has been here the past 3 days, she came again today with Alexi and did windows for me, well, at least the ones she can reach. Some can’t be reached easily, Bill has to use a long bamboo pole with a squeegee attached to clean them. Needless to say, I do not have clean windows. Such is rock life.

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Taken through the window last night

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Still swollen, using my bag of peas

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I just can’t get comfy

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Still fat and bruised, 10 days after

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She is determined to make Emmy her friend.

We have friends coming and staying here the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 2 weeks, it will be a blast to make turkey dinner with Robby and Julie, actually, Robby’s cooking the whole meal but he doesn’t know that yet. And yes, he reads this. Hopefully I can cram my foot in a dive fin and dive with them. I’m determined to get back underwater.

Today Bill set me up outside with my computer, pillows, water and stuff to do my toenails. It was a nice day, I just wish I had a fan out there too because it was hot.

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Almost everything I need.

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Not much of a breeze, water was flat.

After Jessica did the windows she asked if she could swim. I said sure. She didn’t want to get her hair wet (she had just gelled her hair) so she asked for a bag.

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She is so funny and you know, she looked adorable with a Mega Paca bag on her head.

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Chillin’

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She has on my clothes, she doesn’t have a swimsuit. I’ll get her some as soon as I can get out.

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She spotted an iguana in the tree and came up to get my camera. I’m not sure how she spotted it but man, she has good eyes.

I have yet to decide if it’s my love hate relationship with crutches that make them such a difficult part of my everyday existence or if there is a skill to using them that I am lacking. They have suction cups on the bottom and I’m sure it’s for a reason but when I am moving along at speed and the one crutch fails to come unstuck from the floor and I am catapulted forward, only to land on my sore foot, I’m pissed. This has happened more times than I care to admit. Why would they invent something with pointy ends to aid people with mobility issues? I think it’s cruel and stupid and just plain wrong.

I am the ultimate queen of impatience.

The art of being a klutz

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10/10/2016 I certainly do lead an interesting life, rainbows, coral and all things pretty. Although, it’s not always pretty things. A few weeks ago my knee with the replacement started hurting, not sure if diving had anything to do with it or not, you know, using different muscles and all. Age obviously not a factor. (HAH) I also had another alien in my ankle. After some digging and pulling I finally extricated the hard calloused knob out of the hole in my ankle bone. I have not yet had any doctor tell me what it is and why I have it, but this alien has been around since my ankle surgery in March of 2013. It’s gone from sore to very infected and oozing pus to now just a hard callous on my ankle that if it gets bumped the pain is intense. I’ve been told to let it alone and not dig the thing out but I have to because, well, I just do. This last one was hard to get off whatever it’s attached to so I used my nails and dug through it. I know, gross. The night I took it out I had really really bad pain in my ankle, bad enough that it woke me up. Then the next day my knee was killing me and I had pains in my leg, like muscular. Being the intelligent woman that I am, I chose to get in the pool and exercise. I guess I overdid it because the end result was I could hardly walk, my left leg muscles felt like they had atrophied. I laid low for a few days, no diving and stayed around the house. Once it started to feel better I ventured out.

Marilyn wanted me to cut Skipper’s toe nails so she and Carmen picked me up (by boat) one morning in Oak Ridge and we went to Marilyn’s house.

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The platform you see is the start of a new bar that my friends are building across the water from BJ’s.

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Yes, someone lives on this.

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The dock in this photo is at BJ’s. Marilyn picked me up next door at Jessie’s.

We got Skipper’s nails cut and caught up on island stuff. It was the first I had seen Carmen in 6 months, they were back in the states. So nice to have her and Brett back here.

Later in the afternoon Alex ran me back to my car because I promised my friends I would look at a house they were interested in. These are some new friends I met on FB who were here for 2 weeks on vacation, looking for a home to buy and checking out the island.

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The view from the home they were looking at. It’s right next door to my friend Marcia’s house. It’s the same bight we snorkeled with all the jellyfish on my birthday!

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Natalie, Tony and Louise, Nat’s Mother. They are from Florida.

I spent a day during their first week here showing them the east end of the island. Then we met up a couple times after that. Tony and I planned to go diving with my friend Caroline but I decided against it because I was still walking with a limp. The day they left I had an appointment to get my hair chopped off with Nadia so I stopped by Tranquil Seas where they were staying and said good-bye.

I realized that I wash my hair, comb it out, lose 319 hairs each time I untangle the mess after diving or swimming, and once it’s all tangle free, it goes in a clip. Never down, always ponytail or clip. What is the purpose of having long hair if it’s always in a clip? So Nadia chopped and chopped. It’s short and I don’t love it, but it will grow and it takes a minute to wash and comb out. Nadia uses product in my hair, I don’t. The day after she cut it I woke up looking like Barry Manilow after a hard night at the Copa. It was ugly.

Carmen and Brett were coming over Saturday for a pool day, they arrived around 11. We spent the majority of the day in the pool, floating and talking and drinking. We only got out to eat and then got back in. It was great to catch up with them.

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Carmen with her cute haircut and glass of wine.

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My favorite boat guy, Brett.

They left around 5 and we just hung out that evening, more than likely I went to bed early. I was supposed to go to the Reef House on Sunday but was having Barry Manilow issues with my hair and was grumpy and not in the mood, so I stayed home and crisped in the pool.

On Monday Bill and I ran over to Karen and Dwight’s house so Bill could look at something for Dwight. I got to see Bacall, the little pup we rescued a few weeks ago. Let me say that love goes a long way with these island dogs. Bacall has flourished, she is a different dog. She and Bogey are inseparable, she can’t let him alone. What a perfect pair. I’m so glad Karen got her, she has a great life now.

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Bacall

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– Bogey, he’s huge!!

I love being a part of happy endings. While we were at their house Barrio decided to destroy a roll of Kirkland paper towels. They WERE on a shelf in the pantry.

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Mutilated but salvageable

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I never know what he’s going to chew up next.

My leg was starting to feel better, I could once again bend my left knee, something that many of you may take for granted. Don’t, it’s a big deal. I decided it was time to go diving again so Caroline and I made plans to meet at Blue Island Divers at 11:30 on Thursday. I got to BID and was happy to see Sully was going with us also. Cole was going to be our DM. I told him about my situation when I get to 1000# so he carried some extra weights on him in case I needed them. (I did.)

There were some people from Colombia going snorkeling with John who were also on the boat. We got them in the water first and then the four of us went to Rocky’s and fell overboard into the deep blue sea. I have to say the ocean was calmer than I’ve ever seen it, both sides of the island were the same. Smooth as glass, not a ripple and not another dive boat in sight. What a fabulous day to be in the water.

We descended to about 60′ and then started swimming around looking at stuff. We went a little deeper at one point in the dive, it was so pretty down there and looking up at the huge towering reef above us was amazing.

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Sea fans and some sea rods

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Caroline with the yellow fins and Sully

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Club finger coral

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My favorite place to be

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Corals and fish galore

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Barrel Sponge

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And another

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I totally respect the “look but don’t touch” divers creed but I sure as hell would love to see what this feels like.

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Barrel sponge with sea rods of some type

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Flower coral

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Bubbles

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No clue what this is called but it looks like a Pomegranate

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Grooved fungus coral, I believe.

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Some Christmas tree worms

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Looking up

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More Christmas Tree worms

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Brain Coral

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Lots of Goby

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More brain coral

It was a fabulous dive. I felt more confident, still working on my buoyancy and air consumption though. I usually end with 600, this day I ended with almost 1100, and Cole only added 2# to me towards the end of the dive.

We all came up out of the water and bobbed on the surface while Elton picked up the snorkelers. He then came over to get us. I got my fins and BC off and handed them and my camera to the guys on the boat and as I was crawling up the ladder I caught my left foot between the rungs AND FELL INTO THE DAMN BOAT. Talk about being mortified. (I have to say I’m not the only person I know who fell into a dive boat, my friend Liza did also with Bananarama, thanks girlfriend for feeling my pain) I totally blame it on myself, well, my knee and the inability to get it to do what I think it’s doing. It’s not the first time it has messed me up and probably won’t be the last. I could tell right away that I had hurt my foot and was praying that it wasn’t broken. I already had 2 knee surgeries and a knee replacement and a broken tibia, fibula and dislocated ankle on the same leg. Fake knee, metal plates and screws in my ankle, there is nothing good about my left leg.

We got back to the dock and I tried not to limp down the dock back to the dive shop, but it hurt like hell. Instead of hanging out there afterwards and chatting, I paid for my dive and told Caroline I was heading home. So thankful it was not my right foot because I wouldn’t have been able to drive the 40 minutes to get home.

I came home, got my camera, dive boots and bag and water thermos out of the car and somehow made it upstairs. Our steps are concrete and are winding, not conducive to climbing with 2 good feet. I set my stuff down in the house and hobbled out to the porch, used my arms to hoist myself down to the pool. Got the gate open and hopped to a chaise, then lowered myself into the pool. I think I was trying to determine how bad my ankle was and if I needed to see a Doctor. By the time I did a lap or two I realized it was bad and I needed to go to the hospital. I got myself out of the pool, used my arms to help me hop back up the steps, sat down on the porch and yelled for Bill. He had no clue I was hurt.

Luckily for us a nice new hospital opened about 10 minutes west of us. I got dressed and Bill and Alexi took me down to the hospital. They came out with a wheelchair and took me upstairs in the elevator. It was the first time Alexi had ever ridden in an elevator, 17 years old!!

I was taken to X-ray immediately, the guy there took 2 X-rays and then the girl came and got me and took me back to my room in the ER. The X-rays were sent to an orthopedic specialist. Then the nurse hooked up an IV (and she got my vein the first try. In the US it takes several tries, usually involving several people, because they can’t find a good vein.) She said the bag of stuff was for swelling and pain, then they injected something else into the bag for pain.

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Ugly swollen foot but my pedi got a lot of attention. 4 blue, 1 green toenail, my mermaid pedi. You can see the white spot on my ankle in the middle of the scar, that’s where the alien resides.

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Then they did a half cast on it by forming an L shape behind my foot, from the back of my knee to the base of my toes and wrapped it with gauze tape then an ACE bandage.

I had to lay there for awhile and wait for the IV bag to empty. While I was waiting the nurse gave me a shot of Tramadol in my shoulder. I instantly had a huge lump at the injection site, she said that was normal??

Once the bag was emptied they told me I could go home. I needed to see the Doc in 10 days and stay off of my foot. Once again, they wheel chaired me to the car, Alexi helped me get in because Bill was paying the hospital bill. Oh yeah, the bill; 2 X-rays were 914L, less than $50.00, medicines were 1176L, $51.00, the total bill for 2.5hrs, IV’s, clean private area, cast, shot, X-rays with Doctor consult, everything was 5981 L or $261.00. We still had to get the meds and the crutches, (which were less than $40.00 and brand new.) In total it was about $325.00. SWEET!!

This just makes me realize what a horrible rip-off medical care is in the US. People think we’re crazy that we don’t have medical here but what I think is crazy is people like our neighbors here who pay $600.00 a month for medical. Hell, you can get a knee replaced for the cost of your yearly insurance. I feel we are very lucky to have the new Cemesa hospital on the island. Everyone was super nice, many spoke English, the place is brand spanking new and really quite nice.

So, the last few days I have been laying around watching bootleg downloaded movies because it’s not illegal here to do that. Yesterday it was pretty warm out so I took the cast off and hopped down the steps to the pool, it felt so good having my leg soaking in there. I’m grateful the cast is removable, except that now, since I’ve removed it I don’t want it back on at all. I wore it to bed last night and took it off a few hours later. The swelling has gone down a lot but my toes are turning black and blue. I’m just waiting for it to go back to normal size so I can shove it in a fin and go diving. It’s called priorities.

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Need to re-do my nails, once I can reach them. The surgical scrub they used was like bug spray, it smudged the polish .

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Barrio doing his Zen thing when he gets out of the pool. Highway chilling on a chaise.

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Alexi painted the roof walls, it looks so much better.

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Love the views

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Still need to put lights up here and some sort of shade. It’s blindingly hot

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The dogs love it up there in the evening but they only stay there a few minutes in the heat of the day.

A little update on Alexi before I move to the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my foot. He is still going to school, he and his 2 sisters and his nephew plan to move into a new house (like new new, just being finished) in November and if things go right and he passes the test Alexi will join the Bomberos in November. {If he gets in he will still go to English school, he said he is not stopping that.} The Bomberos are the fire fighters on the east end of the island. We are hoping and praying this works out for him, it’s a big deal and he makes decent money doing it. His phone that we bought him over a year ago (we made him pay for it over a period of time) broke. It wouldn’t turn on. He had been without a phone for 2 weeks. I checked the money we have collected for him and we had plenty to help him get a new phone, we said we would pay for half with his $$. Bill took him to the store and he picked out a nice smart phone. He was floating three feet off the ground when he left here on Friday with his new gold phone. We told him he has to work off the other half of the cost of the phone and he said no problem. My first thoughts about this were, does he really NEED a phone? Yes, he does. Does he deserve a phone? Yes, he does. He doesn’t lie or steal, doesn’t drink or do drugs and doesn’t hang out with a bad crowd. He loves playing this one game on his phone and was ecstatic that he once again could play. So nice to see someone who has so little be so happy over something we all take for granted.

We still plan to get his cavities filled. We were going to do it last Friday but his school had a field day at West Bay beach and then went to Bojangles to eat. Hopefully this Friday. Still need to schedule an eye exam also.

I had Bill bring me my boot that I wore after my cast came off for my ankle surgery. I thought I could slip that thing on and walk with ease. My bad. Since my foot is still so swollen, this boot hurts like hell.

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These boots were made for walking

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Still swollen and bruised looking.

So I am back to the crutches. I hate them. You can’t carry anything when you’re on crutches. I have a shoulder bag over my head with my water cup and my tablet in it and carry them between the bedroom and the kitchen. I feel like a damn horse with a feed bag. My foot is getting better, I can wiggle my fat little toes now and it doesn’t hurt at all, well, maybe a little bit. I still can’t put any weight on it and wearing the boot allowed me to do that. Probably not a good idea right now.

I will impatiently wait until I see the Doc and stop diagnosing my symptoms and devising my own rehab times. At least I will try.