Come dive with me

 

03/28/2017  I am always making new friends on FB and then meeting the people when they finally come to Roatan. Case in point, Rick and Ruth Bailey from Missouri. I met them quite some time ago online and was waiting until they made their next trip down here to meet up. They came to the island before Teri B left. They were staying for a few days on the east end of the island so they came over and spent a day with us in the pool. After sunning and having a few drinks we all went to Cal’s for dinner.

Ruth and Rick Bailey @ Cal’s Cantina

I used to like the Bailey’s a lot but Rick recently bought Ruth a gorgeous blue Mini Cooper with a racing stripe and I’m a little green with envy. The damn pot holes are so big here that Mini would disappear in one of them, never to be seen again. (Nice wheels Ruth) I can somewhat justify me not having one here. Somewhat….

After Teri left I got an email from my goldsmith in Bellingham’s wife. I started going to Fairhaven Gold in 1995, when we moved to Bellingham. Bill, the owner became my most trusted jeweler. In July of last year I lost 2 gold bracelets he made for me while snorkeling down here. My eagle-eyed son Chance found them in the sand under the water. The next day I called Bill to tell him what happened and that the bracelets were being sent to him for repair. That’s when he told me they were coming down, but he didn’t say when. Their daughter was going back to Utila to live for 4 months. She wanted to see Roatan and her dad, Bill wanted to get certified for scuba. He got his certification at Blue Island Divers and his daughter did some diving with them as well. I picked them up one afternoon and took them for a tour of the eastern end of the island. We went through Oak Ridge and Punta Gorda. After stopping for refreshments, we drove east to the Secret Beach and hung out. It was a gorgeous day, we sat listening to the waves and chatting. After that we stopped back here to tell Bill that we were going to Cal’s for lunch. (see a pattern here?) After that I dropped them off in French Harbor and they got a taxi back to Sandy Bay where they were staying. So nice to see Bill and meet Gina and Mackenzie.
Still dealing with Max being sick put a damper on my life. I needed to get in gear and get ready for my upcoming guests.

I met my friend Abe a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, called Bellingham. Abe used to come to the bank (Bank of America, where I worked) with his Father and sometimes his brothers and or sister. I got to know him through there. I was always impressed by Abe’s Father and by the way all the kids behaved. I transferred to a different department temporarily but when I returned to the branch I saw that Abe had recently applied for a job. I called him for an interview but he was working at another bank, he started there a few weeks ago. I offered him more money and less hours. He said OK and came to work for me. His smarts, personality and his demeanor with people was/is outstanding.

I left BoA in 2005 for another bank. Abe left banking soon after to try a new job with Border Patrol. We always kept in touch. Abe decided the Border Patrol was not for him and moved back to Bellingham. At that time, I needed a Personal Banker where I was working as Customer Service manager so he applied. The personnel office contacted me and said he had worked for them before for a short period of time. I said that he didn’t. They then told me when it was and that he quit to work for BoA. I realized it was because I hired him out from under them and now was hiring him back. They agreed to rehire him and he was very successful there as well. I moved on and he stayed there for a while until he decided to move to So. Calif.

Anyhow, the rest is history, Abe and I have always been in contact with each other, he calls me his American mom. His Mom, Maria is a lovely lady and I know his brothers and sister as well as his father. Great people, love them all.

Flash forward to mid Feb when Abe messages me that he needs a vacation and was thinking about coming to see me. I was very excited to say the least. We chatted about it off and on, talked on the phone and at that point I decided to plant the seed about diving. Abe had never snorkeled, let alone gone scuba diving. He asked if his buddy could come visit too and I said sure. They both wanted to get certified for Open Water Scuba diving. I contacted Eric @ Blue Island Divers and he got them all set up.
I picked them up at the airport on Thursday March 16th, we stopped and got groceries and then came here. They put their groceries away and we ran to Cal’s for food, they were starving. Bill didn’t go, he was getting over a stomach bug and food was not his friend.

The next morning I took the guys to Blue Island Divers in Sandy Bay to start their certification. The weather had been crappy and the north shore was pretty choppy. The guys began their first day long certification and I left, ran errands and came home. (30 min. each way) I went back and picked them up at 3:30, 4 PM and we headed home. They were asleep quite early after a long day of studying. The next morning we were up and back at Blue Island Divers for day two of training. I did the same thing, I went home, then went back to get them. One of the days I stopped by my twin’s house to say hello and get sneak peeks of Miss Juanita, Ann’s new cat.

Day 2, the guys did some open water work with Ernesto.

I met another lady on FB, well, actually she found my blog and PM’d me. She had been here once on a cruise ship and was returning on Sat. for another visit. I was unable to pick her up at the airport as I was running with the guys. Kelly brought down 70 yes, SEVENTY pair of Old Navy flip-flops for the island kids. Customs was not going to let her through with the suitcase. I called my friend Karen who was working that day and she went and talked to them. They needed a letter saying they were being donated. Luckily I was able to get the letter the same day and get it sent to the customs lady. All was well in Roatán.

70 pair of Old Navy flip-flops(zorie’s for Jeanie) , a long-sleeved white shirt from LL Bean for Jessica, undies for Osman and Efraim and bathing suits for them too. Kelly also brought the game Trouble, Jenga and a box of Lego’s to build a fire truck. I really wanted to give them to the boys (Osman and Ephraim) but their wretched horrible mother will sell them and the boys will not get to play with them. She’s a miserable woman. I’ve decided to donate the toys to a school, probably Cattleya.

Kelly knows the way to my heart, she brought me a mermaid bag. She also brought each of the dogs a BeneBone. They are Y shaped and the dogs LOVE them.

The games Kelly brought

The clothes

This little boy is one of many living in the 2 room house in the valley with his grandparents. We gave him school supplies from John and  Lizeth awhile ago.

Two more of the boys. They were chopping with machetes in the woods.

Abe and Paul and I were beaching it at West Bay on Sunday so I invited Kelly to come with us. I stopped by Pristine Bay to pick her up and we were off to the beach. It was the only day in the whole week there were no cruise ships in. We sat at Bananarama for the day. The beach was not very crowded but still a good day for people watching. The guys and I walked down the beach to Infinity Bay. We entered the water there and tried to swim out the channel to snorkel but it was so stirred up the visibility was awful. This is what happens when we get winds from the north. Many of the dive boats were on the other side of the island also.

The miserable ugly West Bay beach.

See how sucky the water was? I gave up.

Big brain coral

A parrot fish

While floating in the water with Kelly we met a lady named Vera, who was holding her dog in her arms while she floated. She was telling us her story, all the time Fido was zen in the moment, not moving a muscle, loving the experience. Turns out Vera and her husband are friends of our friends Stefi and Jurgen who moved back to Germany. It was so nice chatting with her, she even says shit just like Stefi did

Vera and Fido

We had lunch on the beach, had a few beers and headed home. I took them to see the south-west shore of the island and then drove through Toxic Hole (Coxen Hole) so they could see the “downtown” area.
On Monday we were all going to Mondays Don’t Suck on the beach on the moon. I picked Kelly up, got the guys and we set off first for La Sirena for some lunch. Imagine my disappointment when they said they didn’t have bread crumbs to make the onion rings. I was looking forward to having them for lunch, especially because I didn’t bring anything to eat at the beach..

Paul and Abe chowing down

On the dock at La Sirena

After we finished at La Sirena we drove down to MDS beach.

Simply gorgeous.

Tres amigos, Abe, Paul and Kelly. This was at the start of MDS, they were not as calm and normal at the end of the day.

Terry and Roger

MDS turned out to be a fabulous day at the beach. The weather was glorious, the waves had settled down and we had the beach to ourselves.

The beach gang

Jeanie AKA The Duchess of Camp Bay, me, Kelly, Paul and Abe

Lowanna wanted shirtless photos of the guys.

They were playing soccer on the beach

Food, drinks, chairs, rafts, towels and people. Really a fabulous day.

Carmen and I wearing our Sargassum Seaweed crowns. We were absolutely the best Sargassum Sirens.

I love this beach.

I had not eaten and I drank almost a bottle of wine. By the time the day had ended and I had to drive home I was on another level. Very thankful that the majority of the road home was dirt and empty. It’s a slow going road anyhow, potholes, speed bumps, cows and horses. I did have to drive a few miles on paved road but there was no traffic. I drove to my house and told Bill he had to take Kelly to Pristine Bay. I knew I couldn’t negotiate the cars and traffic in French Harbor. I went inside, got the pounds of sand out of the unmentionable parts, showered and passed out on the couch. Once Paul and Abe each showered, they came upstairs too and we all watched Bill make us pizza for dinner.  Well, I sort of watched from the couch but when the pizza was ready, I was starving and ready to inhale several pieces. After we ate and cleaned up, I  went to bed and Paul and Abe went down to their bedrooms and crashed too. Tomorrow was the final day of their dive certification.
Amazingly, the three of us made it down to Blue Island Divers again on Tuesday morning. They were doing 3 dives that day and I planned on diving with them their last dive of the day. I dropped them off and came home and laid down for a while. I noticed on FB that it was Ernesto’s birthday (their divemaster) on Tuesday. I stopped and grabbed a birthday cake for him on my way back to the dive shop. I made it back by 1:30 for a 2 PM dive. I chose not to take my camera because I’m still working on getting perfect buoyancy. We had a great dive, only went to 53′ for 49 minutes.

Abe, Ernesto, their divemaster, Paul, Laura and Ismael, also divemasters

Ernesto with his 2 cakes, photo-bombed by Ismael, who is from Chile.

Let them eat cake and drink beer. It was after 5 PM, the rules of the dive shop for the employees consuming anything alcoholic.

Abe and Paul, modeling their newly purchased BID rash guards.

Paul signing his name, OWD certificate is complete.

Abe’s turn

One last shot of Blue Island Divers, they have such an idyllic spot.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and Abe and Paul bought some steaks for dinner. Paul was the chef and along with the meat (I don’t eat meat) he made some delicious fried potatoes too.

Abe checking out the food prep

Our chef for the night

Max resting on Gringo’s hip

On Wednesday morning I picked Kelly up @ Pristine Bay. We came back here and she got to meet the dogs and then we all went to Oak Ridge to meet Carmen and Brett @ BJ’s. They were having us over for the day. The sun was shining, the sea was calm and glistening, a perfect day to be on the south shore.
Carmen had a whole spread of food for us and beer and wine and Bloody Mary’s too. The guys went out snorkeling while we sat and talked. When they returned from snorkeling and dried off, we all got in the boat and went for a tour. We cruised Calabash Bight, then out in the open sea to the mangroves. After we circled around the swimming hole we went to Hole in the Wall. It’s a small bar/restaurant that has been around forever.

The snorkelers

Black spiny sea urchins

On the boat

Into the mangroves

Calabash Bight, my friend Kathy lives in the house on the right and the other place will soon be a Pizza Hut. (hah)

The gang

Paul, just a little happy.

Even Charlie enjoyed the ride

Carmen took this because she said I am never in the pics.

So beautiful

The mangroves open up onto this and continue on the other side

Such a beautiful spot.

First stop, Hole in the Wall. Lobster nachos and cheesy fries

Need a new word? Douchenugget seems to be the word of the day.

Everyone signs their name

Quite an interesting place

This is what you do to your toe when you mysteriously trip getting out of the boat. NOTE: I did not spill OR drop my glass of wine.

Captain Ed, this guy has the bluest eyes I have ever seen. He runs the show there.

From there we went to Trico.

Carmen and Charlie

Bar dog

Another one, this one was really pretty.

Swak Creek, WA? Never heard of it.

This is how we do it here.

Our day was done. We were dropped off at BJ’s and I drove back to our house. We washed up and went to Cal’s for dinner again.

Kelly, Abe, my friend Reynaldo, the waiter and Paul.

After a fabulous meal we took Kelly home and headed back to our house to feed the hungry dogs awaiting their food.

Thursday was their last day here on the island. We picked Kelly up and went to Arch’s Iguana Farm.  The guys enjoyed seeing and feeding the iguanas. Afterwards we walked down to the water and looked around, it’s so beautiful down there. Before we left Abe picked up a few things for his daughter Natalya at the gift shop. We planned to go to the Sloth farm but we ran out of time.

Feeding the iguanas

It was a sunny day so there were a lot of them out and about.

Such amazing creatures. I absolutely love them.

After a stop at the gas station for baleadas for breakfast for the guys, I took them all to the airport. They got checked in and were ready to go through security. Kelly had the shortest trip home, Paul the longest, he was going to Seattle. I said good-bye to everyone and made my way home.

It was an eventful and exhausting week but I enjoyed the company of all 3 of them. The guys are already talking about returning and Miss Kelly better get back down here soon too. We really enjoyed Paul and Abe, super nice guys, lots of  fun to hang out with.

Bill volunteered to make 2 bed frames for a family a friend was helping. We delivered them on Thursday before we took Max in to the people hospital to get X-Rays for the vet on Saturday.

This was before the truck broke down.

The adorable little girls and their dog. The frames were for mattresses for these cuties.

There was plywood for the tops of the beds also, just not shown in this pic.

Max got his x-rays Thursday evening, I swear he is the best dog ever. He doesn’t fight us no matter what we do to him.
He went to the vet from Tegus on Saturday morning. He seemed to be feeling better but she did a check-up anyhow. He had a slight temp so we waited 10 minutes and took his temp again, this time  it was higher. She did a blood test and after viewing the results said he has Ehrlichia. Before Doc C said he had Ehrlichia on Feb 15th. Then Dr Diana did a SNAP test for Ehrlichia and Heart worm on 2/24, it was negative. She also checked his blood with a microscope and said he did not have Ehrlichia. Then on 2/28 Dr Bueno drew blood from him and had it checked and said no Ehrlichia. Now on 3/25 Dr Diana says he has it. I’m so pissed off and confused, I don’t even know what to think. I hate to keep giving him medicine but I don’t want to stop in case he does have it. No wonder I’m nuts.
Final photos of the day, Abe left a pair of almost new Reef shoes here for Alexi.  He was so excited with the shoes and they fit. Alexi would have chopped his toes off so they would fit, especially because they were from Abe.

Reef shoes for Alexi

This is one of Trace’s “doodles.” I think he should make some copies of these and sell them.

The detail is freaking amazing.

It’s a nice day, I’ve been typing  all morning and I’m done. The pool is calling my name, sort of like the siren song.

Hasta Manaña Peeps.

 

Stressed to the Max

 

03/24/2017 Max getting sick on Feb 11th has dampened my spirits to the point of me being depressed and not wanting to go anywhere or do anything. We thought we were on the road to recovery with the ehrlichia diagnosis but after 2 weeks of meds, he was no better. I took him to Dr Diana @ ProVets on 2/24. They come once a month from Tegucigalpa. I’ve been to them several times when I need more of a diagnosis than Doc Calderon can give me. She tested Max for ehrlichia and said he didn’t have it, nor does he have heartworm. She used a catheter on him and checked his urine, he had crystals in it. Little did I know, this could be the root of his problems. She gave him some shots and wanted to see him the next morning. I saw no change in him overnight. On Saturday the 25th we went back to ProVets, she assumed he had a UTI and put him on Baytril, 630L for 6 pills, $4.50 a pill. I didn’t give him one until Sunday because she gave him several injections on Saturday. Sunday night he was not good, he was listless, not drinking, no energy, not hungry and this girl (me) was freaking out.

By Monday morning I knew I was going to the mainland to see Dr Bueno at his animal hospital. I messaged Bethany, Doc Calderon’s assistant and asked her to come with me, I would pay for everything. She said sure, she even called Dr Bueno for me and told him we were coming and needed an ultrasound.

I met her at the ferry dock at 1:30, got our tickets and got Max his boarding pass. While I was waiting for his pass to be printed, the computer crashed and she couldn’t get it up and running again. Someone else came in and jiggled some wires and got it to boot up. She got his pass printed with minutes to spare. They put him in a wire kennel, he looked so lost and scared, I felt awful. Bethany, Max and I just made it on the ferry.

Monday Feb. 27th was my first experience on the Galaxy Wave, aka the Vomit Comet. I normally don’t have a queasy stomach so I really wasn’t worried about getting sick. I was more concerned about Max.

Leaving Roatán. The ferry dock is right by Mahogany Bay cruise ship dock. And there is a wreck there also. Reassuring for everyone traveling by water.

I called my friend Pablo, a taxi driver in Ceiba. He speaks English and is a really nice man with an utter P.O.S. taxi, but he had no problem taking my dog in his car. He was there when we arrived and took us right to Dr. Bueno’s animal hospital.

Dr Bueno had contacted someone with an ultrasound machine and he came to the vet clinic about 30 minutes after we got there. We got Max up on the table and they smeared ultrasound gel on his furry belly and started looking around. What they found were kidney stones in both of his kidneys. KIDNEY STONES IN A DOG? Who even knew of this? Not me. Doc wanted to keep him overnight so they could keep an eye on him and keep him on meds. I was not thrilled about leaving him in an outside kennel along the streets in the city of Ceiba but I had no choice. I was an absolute stress case. Bethany and I checked into the Paris Hotel in Ceiba, close to the vets and a Pizza Hut. We said we were from Bonacca and got two nights for the price of one. We went to the Pizza Hut for dinner, I have not been to one for 15+ years. I ordered a small pizza and ate 2 bites of it. When stress moves in all ideas of food move out.

The Grand Paris Hotel hahahahahahaha

See the A/C upper right corner? You had to stand on the bed to operate it, no remote.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel then Pablo picked us up and we went to the vets. Max was so happy to see me. They put him on IV’s for fluid and I sat on the floor in the waiting room with him for a few hours. After the fluids they wanted me to walk him to get him to pee but he wouldn’t. This guy pees in the jungle, he’s never peed on a city street where there are cars flying by, horns honking, sirens blaring and the occasional horse-drawn cart. Not his favorite places to take a leak. They jammed another catheter in him and got out 8 syringes full of urine. I have to brag for a moment: Dr Diana did a catheter, Dr Bueno did two and Max never struggled, NOT ONCE. He just laid there and let them do it. Everyone fell in love with Max. I cried several times, it was really just my stressed out ass leaking from my eyeballs.

Bethany, if you are reading this, I LOVE you girl! I love you for going with me, for loving Max (and all my babies), and for putting up with my basket case self. You rock.

Bethany was leaving on the 4:30 ferry as she had school that night and had to work with Doc in the morning. Max and I would spend another night and leave on the 9:30 AM ferry for home on Wed.

I had Pablo take me to a grocery store so I could get something to eat, mainly because Dr. Bueno was having a fit that I wasn’t eating. It was a Honduran store (there are more normal stores in the area, more gringo-ish) and the music was so loud that I couldn’t even begin to partially assemble a  thought so I grabbed chile lime peanuts, zucaritas (Honduran Frosted Flakes), Tostitos, Red Velvet cupcakes for Pablo and some water. I went back to the Grand Paris hotel and crashed.

Pablo picked me up in the morning, we went and got Max, who has thrilled to see me again and once we got his meds and I paid the bill, we left for the ferry.

Max and I arrived home around 11. He was so glad to get in his own yard so he could pee in peace. {While in Ceiba I somehow managed to lose the remote gate opener. Great, I NEVER lose or misplace anything and I lost this. I was so pissed. I searched every nook and cranny of my bags and realized it must have been in a plastic bag I threw out at the ferry terminal in Ceiba. Thankfully we had extras but Bill was upset because it required him to reprogram all of them.} By 4 PM the day we got home I had Max in the car, going to see Doc C, I didn’t like the way he was panting, breathing at all. Doc said he was probably in pain and to try to keep him quiet. We came back home and I was so stressed I could have pulled all of my insides out of my body using my tongue. I really couldn’t even function, I was drained, starved and stressed. All just a lovely combination. In all honesty, they SHOULD have drugged me. It would have made the world a better place temporarily.

The bad news was I had to take Max back in a week. I decided I could go alone, my driver speaks English and will go in anywhere with me, the vet can speak English too, all was good. We left in the afternoon on the 8th of March.

Max waiting in Roatán

I saw Chris Benson and his friend Tony, they were starting off on another ride.

Pablo picked me up again at the ferry and we went to the vets. We were sitting next to a table with New Testament books on it when Pablo laid his keys down. I immediately noticed the silver fob amongst the keys and I grabbed them and said, this is my gate opener, where did you find it? He said it was on the floor of his car. YAY!! That kind of made my day.

They did another ultrasound as soon as we got there at 4:30 and the kidney stones were gone except for one small one but the vet wanted him to have an X-Ray in the morning. There went my chance of leaving on the 9:30 ferry.

I found a hotel that would allow Max to stay in the room with me, Hotel España, also close to the vet. Pablo took us back to the hotel, we checked in, got situated and I decided to take Max to pee. There was a lot across the street and the manager of the hotel was kind enough to walk over there with me. Max still wouldn’t pee.

Never a shortage of wires

The street view from the balcony

My sweet boy waiting and watching

My bed for the night. The shower reminded me of the one in The Birds. I did not shower.

Fancy curtain rod could have lacerated my leg.

The city waking up. Max peed in the lot across the street. Sweet relief.

The masses of wires amaze me

In every direction

Waiting to leave

My room key

I took Max out early to go pee and when I got downstairs the owner was naked except for a blue striped towel around his waist, sweeping the floor. He was all nonchalant, like everyone sweeps the lobby of the hotel naked. He unlocked the doors (which I found odd that he kept them locked at ALL times) and finally, Max peed in the lot across the street for like 7 minutes straight.

I was hoping we could get the early ferry home but the radiologist wasn’t in until 8, which in Honduras means 9, 9:30ish. All time has ish after it. 10ish, noonish, fiveish. Pablo took me there, we sat for a few minutes until he realized we were at the wrong place and we walked down the street a half a block and waited some more.

Waiting at a medical office. Since Max is so dark, people walk F A R away from him. He’s scary looking.

He got his x-ray in this building.

The guy finally came and took the x-rays.  Dr Bueno, the vet was also there. He then took the x-rays to the radiologist who did the ultrasounds on Max. I kind of thought the radiologist was a guy with a traveling ultrasound machine and went  to bars or circuses and offered to do ultrasounds, but he was a bona fide radiologist who worked at a big hospital on the waterfront. Pablo and I sat by the beach and waited while Dr Bueno and the guy chatted over the x-rays. Then Dr Bueno came out and got me to show me the x-rays. I walked through the hospital to this office and they explained that there was fluid outside of his lungs and his heart was slightly enlarged. Great. At that point, I also told the Radiologist he should speak English. Go Deb!

Max hanging with me and Pablo at the beach

It really was quite lovely but Pablo told me not to wander too far and to not use my phone or camera unless I was next to him.

We were done with all of the x-ray stuff by 11 and I had the rest of the day to wait until I took the 4:30 ferry home. I chose to just sit and wait at the vets and Dr Bueno was OK with that. Max was familiar with the place, there were no dog parks or really any safe places to walk a dog, so we waited. While there I met a wonderful lady named Olga who was there with her cat. We chatted for a few hours, I really enjoyed meeting her, such a sweet lady, she hugged me good-bye.

Since I was leaving at 3:30 to get to the ferry and get Max’s ticket, I really had to bug Dr Bueno to get my meds ready and my bill so I could leave when I needed. Finally at 3:15 he began the procedure of gathering the medicines for Max, while internally I am a big ball of stress from waiting. Max was on prednisone, antibiotics, meds to break up the kidney stones, meds to dilate the urethra, meds to make the fluids around his lungs go away and pain pills. OMG. I instantly thought of my sweet grandmother who had a pill for every function.

Max and I were on the 4:30 ferry, which is the real reason behind the name Vomit Comet. The afternoon ferry has many victims of puke. Max goes in the cargo hold area and this time I sat upstairs, in First Class. It was a rough ride but I did my mind over matter mantra and I didn’t hurl. Others were not so fortunate. Puke-o-rama.

It was almost 7 by the time Max and I got home. Thankful we were home, Max was with me and I had the damn gate opener.

As I write this, we think Max is feeling a little better. He has more energy. His appetite never waned, he eats like a dog who hasn’t eaten for a LONG LONG time. 6 hours between meals KILLS this boy.

Barrio, Max and Gringo

We took Max to the people hospital to get x-rays last night. We are going back to Dr Diana (vet from Tegucigalpa) tomorrow and she wanted lateral thorax and abdomen x-rays. I have them all ready to go along with all of his blood and urine test results. Hopefully she can find the missing link. I’m also messaging a friend in AZ who is a vet. We’re trying to figure out how to send him pics of x-rays. I was told digital wasn’t an option at the clinic.

I am totally convinced they are all missing something and if they can figure it out, voilà, we’ll be good to go.

I also believe in unicorns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

In case it’s not obvious, I would move hell and high water for my dogs. No, I’m not rich, but it doesn’t matter. My dog will be healthy again.

**Before I forget, I have a new Pennsylvania based phone number. Anyone can call it, no charge to you or me. If you don’t live in PA and have free long distance, it’s just that, free.  1-570-980-1551. It will only work if I’m home because I don’t have internet on my phone when I’m out running around, diving, boating or dancing. Important shit takes precedence.

Later peeps, another blog to follow soon, a really fun one. Peace out, for the love of dogs.

Almost a century

 

beach-body

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

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

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

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Cindy Macy is flipping me the bird.

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

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

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Brett, Carmen’s husband, and me.

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

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Martina, Marilyn, me, Francie and Jonna

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

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

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

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Me, dancing my way down the dock.

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

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We danced.

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

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

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

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

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The vaulted ceiling

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Kitchen

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I fell in love with the wall sconces

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Sunroom

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View from the palapa

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Drinking some water that was poured over the spilled wine

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Tidepools

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

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

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

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This is the kitchen at the fire station

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Some of the food for them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What a gorgeous place

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Looking west towards Alligator Nose.

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I could photograph this forever.

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

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

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Entering the mangroves

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

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Teri floating along

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On our way back

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

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

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

cals

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

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

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After the downpour

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The “pool”

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

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

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

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

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Awesome floor

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

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

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Monkey talk

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

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Male sloth hidden in the trees.

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

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

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Gorgeous parrot

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

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

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

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AMAZING

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My twin Ann, strolling down the beach

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Boundless beauty

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Flags proudly flying

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

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

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Such cute boys. Being raised by their grandparents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Victor @ 95

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

 

The good, the bad and the ugly.

awesome

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

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

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

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

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Not sure what this is.

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

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Your private beach!

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

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

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

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

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

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Yep, I allow warm iguana bellies on my feet.

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

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

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

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Under the bridge

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

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

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

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Monkeys climbing high

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Beautiful bird

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The colors are brilliant

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These birds were all rescued

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Jason holding one of the macaws

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Not what I imagined doing that day

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Walk like an Egyptian

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A sleeping sloth

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

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

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

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We ate dinner out here, gazing over the north shore

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Beautiful

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Never ending beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill bought the boys each a bag of peanuts.

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

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

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

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Efraim

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Osman

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

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

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Jessica and a friend’s baby.

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Efraim and Osman on the porch where the seamstress lives.

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

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

 

 

On the go again

 

summer

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

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

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

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

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This is the roof of the bodega (storage building)

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The crowd and the food table

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

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

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Francie and Jeanie

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This says it all

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Roger and Jeanie on the boat

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

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The boathouse next to the dock we tied up to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drinks on the deck overlooking Milton Bight

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

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The view

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The tree in the center of their circle

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

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

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

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

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

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Alex, Jason and I at CBYC

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

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

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Calabash Bight

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

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The view from Martina’s deck

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Beautiful shrubbery surrounds the property

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The dining area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Glistening water

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

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

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

Come back soon.

Another year, another birthday

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

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Just in case you didn’t already know this.

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Google remembered my birthday.

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

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

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

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

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The jungle guards, Highway, Gringo and Maxillicious

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chuck helping Valerie

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

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

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Mario and Sharon. I borrowed this photo from FB.

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

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Their view is amazing

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They are so close to the water!

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

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No cruise ships meant a deserted beach

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

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

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The sky last evening

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It was a pretty night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check back soon, I’m not done yet.

Out with the old, in with the new.

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

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

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

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Marilyn, Martina, the Mermaid and Skipper and Scruffy.

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Francie and her daughter Sarah

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Carmen and Brett arriving

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Martha, I mean Francie’s ode to Christmas

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Francie showcasing her masterpiece

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The table was true Marilyn style, elegant.

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Marilyn’s cute little Hallmark tappers

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The feast

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Outside looking in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Damn geckos. It may be salvageable.

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

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

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

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A Catamaran docked there

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

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

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

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

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Lola, Gringo and Barrio

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Highway, Gringo and Max, defenders of the jungle.

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

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

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