Words that fell out of my head

July 11, 2017  I lied. I said I would blog more and I haven’t. I hung around the house while we still had a worker and once he was done we started the TOMS shoe drive. My friend, the Duchess of Camp Bay’s husband was returning back to the island and I offered to pick him up. Once we got his 6 ton bags loaded into my car we did a quick stop at the grocery store for him and then met his neighbors in Cal’s lot for the remainder of his ride home. It saved me a trip to the east end of the island.

I decided to take Max with me on Monday to his first beach day at the beach on the moon. There were only a few people there and he was super good, loving running the beach and swimming in the waves.

My water baby

He loved it!

A kitesurfer came all the way down the beach but he got it back in the water and headed east.

Max had a fabulous time and was so well behaved until the beach dogs came begging for the food that was being grilled. Our dogs live a quiet pack existence, they are not mean with other dogs but I’m afraid they will follow them and not come back.

The moon the other evening, love my new camera.

Bill’s sister Kathy, niece Missy and great niece Jen were all coming from Williamsport so I had to get my rear in gear and get things done. Kathy and Jen were here 2 years ago. Karla, (my cleaning girl who just had a baby) came and gave the downstairs a good cleaning. The following week we began passing out TOMS shoes. I had to bake and clean the upstairs too. Karla to the rescue again. She came the morning before they arrived, I baked and cooked and she cleaned. That evening we joined our friends at a new Indian restaurant called Aroma. There were 15 of us in the group. It was a great meal and fun to be with our friends again.

The week prior to our company arriving, Nidia finally got the TOMS shoes from the mainland. She had a hard time getting them this year, we are usually done with the shoe drive by now but due to several different issues, the shoes were delayed.

The very first day I was joined by several friends who helped with the shoe sizing and fitting. I picked up Carly and her sons, Garret and Grant (her hubby Eric is my dive guru @ Blue Island Divers) and my friend Annie. We set off for Barrio Lempira in Oak Ridge. When we got there other friends of mine had come to help, Pam, Gail, Kathy, Kim and Paul. We took some shoes in Pam’s truck and went to Pandytown, one of my favorite schools in Oak Ridge. We don’t just do a mass handout, each and every child is personally fit with new TOMS. We measure their feet the best we can and go from there determining size. The shoes all need stretched toe to heel and throat, which takes time, before you even attempt to put the shoe on. They are supposed to fit snug because they are cotton and they stretch. A lot.

Kids moving the shoe boxes inside the school room.

Crew of fabulous volunteers who helped for 2 solid days. Thank you!

They couldn’t be any cuter!

Old TOMS, new TOMS

Fitting the shoes. With the bigger kids I stretch the shoes out and let them put them on,

Garrett and Grant and Pam taking a break.

Cuties with their new TOMS

The old TOMS, I think he really needs a new pair.

This was day 2 in Punta Gorda. Another student who wore his shoes from last year.

This young girl is Garifuna, her school outfit is different from the other students.

The students at Juticalpa waiting for TOMS shoes on day 3.

My friend Melissa’s son, Keon.

Melissa helped fit the students at the Juticalpa school. I couldn’t. My back was killing me from 3 days of leaning over.

At Froylan Turcios in the air conditioned computer room. Day 3

Day 3 (Thursday)  at Froylan Turcios. I took a group of friends there to fit the kids. Thanks to Bill, Alexi, Marcia and her worker Christian, Doug and Susan Geddes and Maya and Brian. We got those kids fit in record time.

Friday I took the day off so I could be here when Karla cleaned and I could get my cooking and baking done before guests arrived.

I picked them all up at the airport on Saturday, made a fast stop at Eldon’s and came home and got poolside. It was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed it to the fullest.

Sunday morning we left for Mega Paca at 8 AM and were there 3.5 hours. My great niece Jen was in retail heaven. By the time we left there, we came home, ate and it was time for us to leave for my friend Marcia’s to kayak through the mangroves. Kathy was going to hang out by Marcia’s pool since she doesn’t kayak. It was quite a workout getting to the mouth of the mangroves because the tide was coming in and the current was quite strong. We had a great paddle through them, we only met one boat.

Entering the mangroves

Jen, she is a natural at everything. And photogenic, geeze louise.

Boat crash (not really), perfect time for a pic of Jen and Missy.

No filters, no photoshop, this is the color of the water.

Coming out of the mangroves. The water was too rough to snorkel out to the dive buoy so we paddled over to the sandy bottom, set anchor and tried to find the reef. We did not succeed.

Afterwards we all cooled off in Marcia’s gorgeous pool then headed home to our pool for the rest of the day.

What a view!

Marcia’s olympic (almost) sized pool. It’s gorgeous.

The next day we set off for the east end of Roatán. First stop, La Sirena for onion rings and drinks.  After that we went to the beach on the moon and hung out for awhile with my friends.

La Sirena

Jen and Missy on the beach on the moon.

Jen, Jeanie, (the Duchess) and I floated for at least 30 minutes. We walked against the current, floated back, and did it again and again. It was a great day to be at the beach on the moon.

The next day there were no cruise ships so we were headed to West Bay beach. We stopped at Lisa’s to cut Bandit’s toenails. She has Bandit and Sable, 2 of Frito’s pups.

Sable would not stop kissing me. I love her, she was the only girl of the litter.

And Lisa holding Bandit.

We were some of the few people on the beach. It was deserted, just the way I like it. Jen and Missy and I went down to Infinity to do some snorkeling, Missy just wasn’t in to it so Jen and I went out into the deep blue.

Tangs and more tangs and a HUGE parrotfish

Cool coral. You have no idea how badly I want to touch this but I don’t. I’m just dying to know what this feels like.

Look at his mouth, giant Rainbow Parrotfish

Smaller rainbow parrotfish. You can see his teeth.

So many tangs

Wish I had been diving to do this swim though

We ate lunch at Bananarama and then floated in the gorgeous water for awhile.

Paradise

After we had enough sun and sand and food we headed home. I decided to stop and see my friends at Blue Island divers.  They are like my other family, love them all and wanted Kathy and especially Jen to meet them. (She and Jill both want to get certified) We sat down and had some drinks. My sweet friend Maria makes a damn good Monkey La-La! After that it was the loooong drive home.

On Wednesday we decided to go to Milton Bight and fit the kids for TOMS there. It was just  Missy, Jen, me and 2 mothers. The kids were really cute.

The kids had to wait outside while we set the room up. They were all eating pastellitos.

Drinking her sugar laced colored water

The group eating and waiting.

Jen and a young boy at Milton Bight school

This guy fell in love with Missy and Jen and didn’t want to leave.

Missy stretching the shoes, you really have to stretch them before you even try to fit them.

Missy and Jen with some of the kids from the school.

Thursday was another non cruise ship day so we went to West Bay beach again. We picked up my twin Ann on the way, then went to the Grand Roatan. They allow us to sit at a table if we eat and snorkel, however their beach chairs are forbidden. So lame. That’s why I like Bananarama.

Jen, Ann and I went out snorkeling. I ended up in the deep blue, seems I always do. Then when I turned around to come back I went to look for the parrot fish and found the biggest of them all. I was so close I could have touched him, but I didn’t. Don’t touch the sea life. EVER. No matter how damn bad you want to, don’t. (Thinking of you my friend, Rika)

And this dude. My friend said he was the size of a German Shepherd. He was big, look at his lips. He was also within 5″ of me. I so wanted to pet him and say, “you are a damn gorgeous fish.”

Christmas tree worms. These fascinate me so much, just the way they have evolved. I mean really, how did some of this shit come to be? Like Christmas Tree worms, who thought of them? They are utterly fascinating.

I love the sea

Wonder what tooth whitener he uses?

Beautiful Queen Angelfish

Sergeant Majors and there are a lot of them because the idiot tourists feed them. I kept saying, “Please don’t feed the fish, they are not your pets.” My words fell on deaf (another language) ears.

Friday Jen, Missy Alexi and I ran down to the small kinder in the valley below us, TOMS shoe delivery. We had enough shoes for everyone but we needed 2 larger sized pair so we ran home and got them. I passed out trucks and dolls and ponies that Liza and Mike brought down awhile ago. The toys were a huge hit. I doubt there was much reading or writing going on that morning.

The school has a dirt floor. The whiteboard that Bill made is in the back right (thanks to Judy and Walt for the donation) . This school is more or less ignored by the government (actually most schools are). My theory is they want to keep the people uneducated because if they get smart they will toss all the idiot politicians out on their asses. Just my theory.

This is the whole reason I do this.

I believe after the shoe thing we had another marathon at Mega Paca and Jen did get some awesome stuff. Three hours worth of stuff. We also took some thing to Froylan Turcios school that Missy and Jen brought down. The teacher was very happy to have them. They are doing a great job at that school and it’s nice to support them. It’s also where Bill built the handrail for the treacherous steps.

Missy, Jen, the profa and some of the students.

Friday was their last night on the island so we went to Romeo’s for dinner. It’s a great place on the water, except, the Roatan Aggressor is parked at their dock every Friday and ruins the whole view. It’s a 120′ live aboard dive boat that travels the bay islands. Yeah, it’s a cool boat and all but it makes the view non-existent.  Bummed. The meal was good as usual but the atmosphere certainly changed.

Not the normal view

Missy, Jen and Kathy at West Bay

And on our roof

My favorite butts. Max, Barrio and Gringo

Sad to have them go but so glad I wasn’t sick while they were here, that would have been awful! They brought some cool stuff for me, I’ll share in my next post. This is bordering on novella length.

The day our guests left I was feeling kind of yucky so I asked Bill to take them to the airport. I wanted to lay down for awhile as we had dinner plans that evening. By the time we needed to leave, I was full on sick. We had a fabulous dinner at our friends who live in a yurt. I’ve never been in one before and I was very impressed. It’s a really cool home. They are building a real house in the near future. It was a fun evening, just wish I had felt better.

Sunday morning I missed Mega Paca. OMG, I never miss going at 8 AM. I was too sick to get out of bed. And I felt the same way Monday and Tuesday. Pure crap. It felt like a tractor trailer had parked on my forehead and I couldn’t bear the weight of the load. My head was near exploding.
My remedy? Sudafed and valium. Swear, I didn’t die and I felt good enough Wednesday to take my dog and cat to the Florida vet clinic. If you have something specific that the Wed. vet can’t diagnose/treat, these guys are great. I left home at 6:30, got there at 7:30. They had massive amounts of people in line already. I said I would wait as long as my exploding brain would allow. Finally, I could wait no more and went to tell Daine. She said, wait, I think you are going to be seen soon. I walked Barrio and carried Emmy up to the check in table, within 5 minutes, we were seen. Emmy has had for almost a year a vitreous blue looking eye. The vet here said she was blind, she’s almost 12. I wanted a second opinion. The vet at the clinic said she had a corneal abrasion and gave me some drops. OMG, 3 days and I saw a difference in Emmy’s eye. And she is coming out of hiding, chasing the dogs, wandering the house so much more. I am still using the drops, hoping her eye will clear completely. I can actually see her eye and the color of it. Before it was a blue blob. I’m so glad I went to the vets and waited. Barrio is having some skin issues so he is on a special whitefish dog food, AND, we are no longer cooking for the dogs. I know, we suck. But OMG, life is easier.

One of the days I felt like crap I wanted to nap. These guys can’t let me alone. Love them so.

At the vet clinic, Ems actually likes Barrio. She even lays next to him.

We were seen, got lots of meds for both of the animals and headed home. I thought I would be nice and allow Em to roam the car, even though Barrio was in his seatbelt harness. Emmy kept trying to get on my lap and look out the window. I’m not driving like that here, so I put her on the passenger seat.

And she shit. I had to drive somewhere that I could pull off so I could open the window and toss the turds out.

Why me?

I was literally down and out for a week. Saturday we had appointments for free skin cancer screening check-ups at Barefoot Cay. After that Bill and I hit the grocery and hustled home to get things ready. Chef Carl from Cal’s Cantina and his boys were coming for the day and then home made pizza. We had a great day, Cal and Miles played in the pool, nice boys.

Sunday morning I went to Mega Paca but was only there an hour or so, I was still so worn out. The sun has been shining, a light breeze, very comfortable out. Spending as much time possible poolside.

A few thoughts just fell out of my brain, so I’ll share them before I wander off.

My parents: Mom is 91, VR 96. She told him he doesn’t give her enough money to spend to buy who knows what. Last August I cleaned out her cupboards and closets and threw away YEARS of shit that she bought. She thinks she needs more. VR told her to get a job and earn her own money.

The other night I had bacon with a vodka chaser for dinner.

I get a crown this week. Finally. No emeralds or diamonds though and 2.5 years overdue.

TOMS shoes began again this week, school was on vacation last week. I am joining in on Wednesday, still about 85% health wise.  Thanks to all of my friends who volunteered to help!

Off to the couch to watch Netflix, into a show called Gypsy with Naomi Watts. I won’t lie and say I’ll do better blogging next month, we all know how that works.

 

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The good, the bad and the ugly.

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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.

 

 

Out with the old, in with the new.

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

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

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

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Marilyn, Martina, the Mermaid and Skipper and Scruffy.

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Francie and her daughter Sarah

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Carmen and Brett arriving

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Martha, I mean Francie’s ode to Christmas

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Francie showcasing her masterpiece

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The table was true Marilyn style, elegant.

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Marilyn’s cute little Hallmark tappers

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The feast

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Outside looking in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Damn geckos. It may be salvageable.

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

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

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

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A Catamaran docked there

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

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

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

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

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Lola, Gringo and Barrio

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Highway, Gringo and Max, defenders of the jungle.

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

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

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

 

 

Hustle and bustle of the holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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His stack of clothes

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Alexi, making himself comfortable

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

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Saw this truck at ACE

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

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

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Morning glories at the end of the driveway

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

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Caribe Bight

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Inside of their home

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Their new HUGE pool, it’s gorgeous.

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Francie went for a dip.

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Bill, Trish and Dave chatting.

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

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

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

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

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

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The set up area at Wild Cane

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Passing out santa hats

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

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Love these boys.  (Notice the mud. YUCK)

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Pensive

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Cuties with Minnie ears

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It was a sea of red

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Love the curls

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

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

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They held onto him as he walked

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Passing out toys

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

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

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

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

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

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Nidia’s dog Coco

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An unhappy Minnie, waiting for an ice cream cone

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

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Waiting for ice cream

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

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

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

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Santa visiting with the kids

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

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Happy kids

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These boys were so cute!

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

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A visit with Santa is priceless.

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He was afraid of Santa

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The school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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He was a ham

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

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My friend Kirsty passing out Santa hats

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Beautiful

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

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Enjoying his ice cream

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Santa dishing up ice cream cones

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The place was packed

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Using paper plates, no styrofoam

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Mesmerized by Santa

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He’s a happy boy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Loading the boats

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

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

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Clifford came to tow us to Fort Morgan Cay

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

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

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An outdoor shower

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

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Looks like a deserted island

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What dreams are made of

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I could be shipwrecked here for a very long time.

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

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Part of the old pirate fort

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wall decor

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Absolutely waterfront

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Doors to one of the rooms

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Outdoor shower

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

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

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

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

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Going through the mangrove cut.

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At the school in Helene

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

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

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This school is in deplorable condition. So sad.

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These kids are adorable.

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Some are shy, most are not.

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Cute young boys

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Pretty girls

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

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

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Another poorly cared for dog.

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

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The older boys got soccer balls.

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Sleeping beauty

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MMM, apples

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

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Big sister drying his tears

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Natasha handing out candy

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Carmen liked this little guy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bolivia invades Roatan

friends06/10/2016 As I stated in my last post, Olivia (Bolivia to us) arrived on Roa on 5/29. It was not her first time here, it was visit #4. She and I came in 2010 and then she, Teri, Bill and I came in 2011 & 2012. However, it’s been awhile since she has been here. Teri has been here twice since the last time O was so she has seen much more of the island. This time I wanted to make sure Olivia got the grand tour, especially now that I am no longer an island virgin, so to speak.

The day Teri left Olivia and I ran some errands, then stopped at Mega Paca (of course we did) and got some groceries at Eldon’s. Once home we went down to John’s pool to cool off. Gee, I wish I had a POOL.

Wednesday morning we were headed to Barefoot Cay for the day. On the way we stopped at Arch’s Iguana Farm so Olivia could meet my pet dinosaurs. They aren’t actually pets but if you have a big leaf in your hand to feed them, they will follow you anywhere. Preston gave O and I each a leaf, she held it down to the iguanas but when they got close she dropped it and backed up. That was close enough for her. I finally overcame my fear and loathing of them crawling all over my bare feet and just let them have at it. At one point there were two laying on my feet, if felt weird because their bellies were so warm from laying on the concrete sidewalks. I did it though, Gail will be proud of me because she teases me that I have been there so many times, I should be used to the iguanas crawling on me. Is that something people normally get used to??

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Lizard lady in my new Mermaid on Duty top that Olivia brought me.

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They are on my feet

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Taking my pet iguana for a walk (thanks Olivia for the pics)

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Olivia kept her distance.

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Just a few of the 3000+ that live there.

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Coco has her tail wrapped around Olivia’s wrist.

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We saw these guys going at it when we came up from the water. No, it’s not iguana sex..

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It’s two males fighting, it is mating season. You can tell they are males by the large sacs on the sides of their faces. That is muscle used to control their jaws. If one of them wanted to lop off your finger it could, but they aren’t aggressive, except to each other when brawling over a female. I’ve seen them with bloody faces, missing tails, missing toes, rips on their heads. If their tail gets ripped off where it is tan, it grows back all tan, if it gets ripped off in a black area, it grows back black. Easy way to tell if they have lost their tail recently. See, I’m learning about the dinosaurs iguanas.

After the iguana farm we went to Barefoot Cay, a perfectly gorgeous boutique resort that my sweet friend owns. This resort is the ultimate in luxury, every detail has been thought out and planned for. To get to the resort you have to take a barge across a small waterway to the exclusively private and stunningly decorated cay.

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The pool

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The walkway to the palapa, great snorkeling there.

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Olivia getting her gear on

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Sunken vehicle, artificial reef

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Butterfly fish

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Gorgeous creamy white star coral.

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Under the palapa

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Zillions of tiny fishies

I was having a bad goggle day. It seems there was something on my lens, after spitting in it 50 times, I was too frustrated to keep going. I couldn’t see anything. Olivia and I hung out by the pool for awhile and had a yummy lunch at the restaurant. It was a perfect relaxing day on Roatan, surrounded by such beauty, BFC just amazes me.

The next day we headed east to Oak Ridge. I pulled into Lulu’s lot looking for Emerald, the Rasta boat tour guy but he wasn’t around. O and I met another tour guy so he picked us up at BJ’s and took us for an hour long mangrove tour. The mangroves are pretty special here on the island. Many many years ago the waterways were cut in the mangroves by the Paya Indians as a way to travel from place to place without venturing out into the open sea. It’s really beautiful in the mangrove tunnels.

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Leaving BJ’s, the boat tied up there belongs to friends.

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Twitter is everywhere.

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A parrot at a house along the water.

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Czech Village, Jonesville Point

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Through the tunnels we go

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The boat’s roof was like an old psychedelic light show..

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There are 3 different types of Mangroves, red, white and black. Honestly, they all looked the same to me.

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Natures finest swimming pool

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Close to my friend Marcia’s

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Headed back

We were dropped off at the Reef House by the tour guy. Olivia and I had drinks and hung out chatting with Davey and Keith. Then we had some lunch and floated in the water. There is a nice shallow pool there too, lots of little fish and I’ve found a few sea urchin shells there.

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Another beautiful Roatan day spent with friends.

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What a view

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The two white houses in the center of the mountain, (on the ocean) belong to 2 friends. They have spectacular locations.

We had Jimmy take us back to BJ’s around 4:30. Bill and I were going to Alexi’s 1st Q graduation that night. It started at 6 and like everything else here, it didn’t begin on time. We were standing out front with him before it began and I asked if his mom was coming. He said no, she doesn’t care. We told him that wasn’t true, she was just busy. His mom and step dad opened an illegal bar in their home and have drunks hanging around all night long. Not a great environment to have a 4 and a 6 year old kid in. UGH.. Alexi was very excited that we were there to see him recite his poem in English. He had to memorize it and was struggling pronouncing the words. . It was only 4 sentences but that’s a big deal for him. He nailed it. I wanted to jump up on the church pew and yell yeehaw, but I stopped myself from embarrassing him, and Bill.

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The church was beautiful, all white inside, nice big ceiling fans, spotlessly clean. I went up to talk to Alexi’s teacher afterwards and thanked her. I was surprised she remembered my name from passing out TOM’s shoes a few weeks ago.

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Our un-adopted son, far left. He told me on Tuesday that he would rather be here than anywhere else. I said it’s the WiFi isn’t it? He laughed and said “not really”..

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Alexi reciting his lines

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These 3 guys got perfect attendance rewards, Alexi on the R

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Showing his graduation certificate. His report card was really good too, lowest score was 94.

That lasted until 7, luckily it was close to home because we had hungry dogs and we were starving too. I noticed at the ceremony that Alexi needs black socks and a new white shirt. We will be going shopping before school begins again.

Friday is of course BJ’s. I mean where else do you go on a Friday afternoon to see your friends and listen to some music? Olivia and I went to John’s pool in the morning and swam for awhile, it was another blistering warm day on the rock. We left for BJ’s around 1:30. I was bummed that Marilyn wasn’t there, I wanted to introduce Olivia to her. During the band break I asked Alex where she was. He said he would take us over to see her when he was done, we were up for it. Then he decided to quit early so we paid for our drinks and fries and jumped in his boat, bound for the Calabash Bight Yacht Club epicenter.

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View from the Calabash Bight Yacht Club AKA Alex and Marilyn’s home.

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Boat ride to get there, no road, water access only.

Poor Marilyn was not expecting company but she was as gracious as always. We had some wine and chatted with her for awhile before Alex ran us back to BJ’s to get our car and go home.

Bill made pizza on Friday evening, so yummy. I could eat it every week, too bad it’s a pain to make the crust! Luckily we had leftovers for dinner on Saturday night.

Olivia’s time on Roatan was drawing to a close, last full day on the rock. We decided to make it a West Bay day and went to the beach early Saturday morning. There were very few people there. We snorkeled as soon as we got there. I scrubbed my mask before we left with soapy water and got whatever it was off the lens that was clouding it up, visibility was restored. We were amazed at the number of fish in the water. In my 9 years of snorkeling here I have NEVER seen so many fish. {My friend Marcia snorkeled by her house on Sunday and said the same thing, must have been a hatch or bloom of something drawing the fish out} It was like being in a huge aquarium, simply amazing. There was a lot of little stuff in the water, seemed like someone poured a giant can of fish food in the sea. Maybe Amanda’s handsome Irish Colombian knows what it was???

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Barracuda, always think of the song by Heart when I see a Barracuda.

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Christmas Tree worms

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Feather duster

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Spanish Hogfish

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One of my all time favorite fish, Parrotfish

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Sea scene

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Stoplight Parrotfish

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The sea was alive with fish, hundreds everywhere we looked. Lots and lots of tiny fish.

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Each speck is a fish

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My own aquarium

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Blue Tang

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Olivia

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Blurry but lots of fish

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You can see all the particles in the water

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A group of grunts, lower left

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Coral

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Tangs, must have seen 4 schools of them. Note the one with fish lips left center.

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More tangs

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And they are off..

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So awful to have to spend a day here. NOT.

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The crowds were annoying. NOT

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We watched several people on the fly boards. some were good, some sucked..

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O chilling and watching the Parasails and flyboards

We stopped at Rusty Fish art on our way home and Olivia bought some stuff. I thought it was for her but the wall art was for my Rusty Fish wall. Pics to follow soon, Bill still has to hang one on the concrete. Thank you Olivia.

Sunday we hung around here until it was time to take Olivia to the airport. I was sad to see her leave but I didn’t cry like I did when Teri and Frito left..

I forgot to mention that Teri tried to take Frito’s favorite rock with her on the plane. they confiscated it at security. Hysterical! Sure someone could use a rock as a weapon but they could also use a 4″ stiletto. Poor Frito had to fly to Washington state, rock less.

So ended my 3 weeks with good friends. I stopped at Mega Paca on the way home and found a S’well water bottle for $2.00. They normally sell for $40.00. Score.

Monday I cleaned off the shelves in the bedroom, reorganized and re-folded everything. Then Alex and Marilyn came over so I could give Alex some help starting a blog for his Roatan Buyers Agent information. Unfortunately, they brought wine and we somehow drank 2 bottles in no time at all. That could be the reason Alex’s blog link wasn’t working properly.

I was a blogging fool last week, publishing 3 blogs in 3 days and here I am at it again. I had lots to talk about and have been really lousy lately at keeping things up to date.

The construction around here will be done soon. The garage is almost done, patio is poured and pool is in the works. Its been a long grueling 6 months of dirt, trucks, piles of sand, cement dust, cinder blocks, noise, workers {at one point there were 25 men working here} and blocking the dogs off so they don’t terrify the workers. Maybe once it’s done and we get stone in the driveway and then it rains, the dust will be minimized and I will be less stressed because of it. Maybe.

On Thursday Marcia, Jan and I went to Cattleya to help organize books. I totally thought we were doing the books for the kids at school there but what needed done was emptying a store room of books and boxing them. It was rather overwhelming. We pulled all the kids books that we could find and boxed them. I told Connie I would come back and do the rest when she got all the boxes of books out of the room, currently it’s too crowded to even work in there.

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Marcia, me and Jan. Thanks Ladies for your help!

Here it is Friday already. I’m not going to BJ’s, too much happening here and I need to keep an eye on the dogs. I work at the airport tomorrow and again Wed and next Saturday. Trace arrives next Saturday on the last flight. Once he gets in and through immigration we will be on our way home. I’m so excited to see him. A month from today Chance, Alecia and the girls come. It’s going to be so much fun to see them and to show the girls around the island, to take them snorkeling for the first time, I think they are going to love it here!

We have been blessed with so many friends and family visiting us, the icing on the cake is seeing the boys. In August I am going to Maryland to see my folks, looking forward to that too, except for the traveling through San Pedro Sula and El Salvador..Hope you all are enjoying your summer so far, I sure am!

P.S. A shout out to Teri B for replenishing my Damiana Liqueur stock. If you’ve never tried Damiana, go to the liquor store and get it. You’re welcome.

 

It’s a sweet gig

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03/15/2016 My niece’s daughter Jillian and her friend Caeli arrived on Saturday afternoon. Since I was tied to the airport I had Bill pick them up and take them to the grocery store before they came back here. I got home around 5 and de-stressed for a bit before we got the girls some dinner.

Sunday morning we were all awake bright and early for another day of adventure on the Radical Catamaran EXPAT day. There was supposed to be a full boat but approx. 10 people cancelled due to the weather. Both of the girls were really excited and looking forward to the day. I have to say I was very lucky to be able to go two Sundays in a row. We started out sitting outside, enjoying the scenery until just outside of Oak Ridge, it started to rain. And it rained hard for a little while. Most of the people were under cover, eating cookies and muffins. The sea was a little rough then too. As we neared the first snorkel spot the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. I told the girls the guys from the boat would pick up on them right away and as soon as we hit the water, they had personal tour guides.

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Jillian and Caeli at the start of the 7 hour day.

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Snorkeling the cow with the guys from the boat.

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Tube coral, this same shot may be in my last blog too.

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Christmas Tree Worms

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You can see the actual worm in these photos. It’s the flat thing closest to the coral, the trees are appendages on the worms back.

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Intermediate blue tang

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A cluster of feather dusters

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More flamingo tongues. The Flamingo Tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum) grows to an inch (25 mm) long. Its shell is cream-colored, but can only be seen when the animal is disturbed, as under normal circumstances it is covered by a fleshy, yellow-to-orange mantle decorated with numerous irregular, black-edged spots. If the Flamingo Tongue is disturbed or stressed, it withdraws its mantle tissue. Only then does its attractive cream-colored shell become visible. (Coral Magazine)

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weird coral

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Not a clue but I think it was alive..

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Feather dusters, they retreat into the little hollow tubes when disturbed.

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Obsessed.

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Banded Butterfly fish

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urchin

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Coral is so fascinating, I could (and have) snorkeled for hours.

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Sea Rods

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red coral

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A Flamingo tongue on a sea rod. I usually see them on sea fans. This looks like the covering is partially retracted.

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Barrel Sponge, I think??

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A smooth trunkfish, it was so gorgeous!

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Another barrel.

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Spiny blue seastars on the tube coral

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Everyone else was back at the boat, hanging around in the water or on the boat. I was still snorkeling around the south side of the cow and decided to swim out to sea more. I am so glad I did. It was a different world out there. The coral was bigger and more dense, there was a larger variety of fish and I saw this guy lurking about. I started to swim closer to look, not wanting to get too close and he started to move so I moved too, quickly. I knew it wasn’t a green moray, duh, because the damn thing had spots. But I’ve seen spotted morays before and this looked different. Then again, who am I to say, I’m not an expert. It was a gorgeous eel, probably around 2′ long.

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People vacation here. I live here.

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Caeli, about as big as a minute..

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So, story is, when Capt’n Ron comes on the Radical Cat, Ed brings him a nice big chair. Someone (Rob B) changed Ron to Rob. However he used the incorrect color of marker. The evidence was blatant.

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Really Rob?? Too funny!

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It was dark and ominous that morning and again coming back at night. We did get dumped on for a little while but then it stopped, the sun came out and it was gorgeous.

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A fun group of people!

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Caeli

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Jill talking with a group of ladies who came to Jazzercize on the beach, or something like that.

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My friend Kathy

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Rain cells off in the distance

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Didn’t realize how dark the sky was until looking at these photos!

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Coming back into Oak Ridge/Pandytown.

Monday was the day with the least amount of cruise ships on the island so we headed for West Bay Beach. I was able to snag chairs at Bananarama for 1/2 price because I sweet talked the guy. They are all so nice there anyhow. It wasn’t very sunny and we kept hoping for the sun to break through the clouds and bless us with sunshine but that didn’t happen until we were half way home. Jill and I snorkeled, I took her out through the channel and to the deeper water then swam up towards black rock and along it. Great array of fish but what was the best was the huge parrot fish that was almost posing for me.

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Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish are a recycling machine. They turn coral and rock into fine sand in the process of grazing algae from them. This particular one is called a Stoplight Parrotfish.

Gorgeous fish! The colors were brilliant.

Parrot Fish and a blue head.

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Under the sea

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Not sure of the fish here, blue is a blue tang, I think the one with yellow is a spotfin butterfly fish, the other may be a brown chromis.

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Bluestriped grunt

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Stoplight parrotfish in the red phase.

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Squirrelfish

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An elusive Doctorfish

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Needlefish

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Mr Parrotfish showing his denture like teeth, all the better to graze the coral..

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Fishes

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Caeli was exploring the beach while Jill and I snorkeled.

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Lobster

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I think this is a schoolmaster snapper, but not positive..

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Another stoplight parrotfish

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Sergeant majors. These guys nibble on you because the stupid tourists feed them. Fish don’t need fed, they have their own eco-system. Feeding them is not cool.

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Caeli and Jill at Bananarama

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The sea as far as you can see

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Jill’s chilling..

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Bye bye United # 1434

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Perfection in blue

When we were done snorkeling we drove to West End and parked. I wanted to go to the Shawn Jackson Gallery and the girls wanted to do a little shopping. I bought the coveted Faces of Roatan book at Shawn’s gallery. After that I called Lisa and Rob to see if we could stop and see Bandit and Sable on our way back down island.

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Bandit, he’s the swimmer and spends his free time swimming around the pool.

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Bandit

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Getting some loving from Bandit.

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Sable got in on it too. These two pups were meant to be together, they are side by side 24/7. So grateful Rob and Lisa gave them good homes.

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Sable baby!

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Double loving. Bandit is marked like Barrio and Sable looks like Max, except my two have floppy ears and these two have pointy ears.

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I was in dog heaven.

The next day we went to Mega Paca where Caeli scored a Burberry sweater for 28 LPS, about $1.00 and Jill got some cute tops. Then we went to the Iguana Farm. We went down to the water and checked out the huge tarpon and other fish and admired the stunning view of French Cay.

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Big old male

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Enjoying the sunshine.

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Another lizard on the wall of Sam and Chelsie’s house.

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Coco drinking some gatorade.

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Beautiful

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Jillian

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Jill and Caeli

After there we went to Parrot Tree and hung out at the 320′ long pool. It was pretty nice, very few people around at all. We swam, floated, napped and ate there.

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Jillian

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Jill under the waterfall.

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Caeli and Jillian

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Me and Jillian

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I love this pool!

On Wednesday we picked up Nidia and two guys and then met Rosalie and Bob and Bill and Alexi across from the airport. We were taking the new picnic table that Kelly Flowers built for Doña Maria to her. The table he so kindly made will last her for the rest of her life. Until now, she had no table to grind her corn on or to sit and have a cup of coffee.

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The hired muscles practically ran up the path to Doña Maria’s house.

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Nidia and Doña Maria

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Nidia’s brother, one of our muscle guys looking at the food Bob and Rosalie brought for Doña Maria.

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Nidia’s brother, Nidia, Caeli, Jill and Maria

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Showing her the goodies Rosalie and Bob brought her.

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A hug from Rosalie

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Caeli, Maria and Jill

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Baby chicks

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Doña Maria’s one room home. Bob said he wouldn’t spend 1 night there. Me neither.

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Alexi went along in case we needed more muscle. He is teasing the chickens here..

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Bob and Rosalie with Maria. It’s kind of funny, she is always smiling but when you take her photo she’s not..

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The girls and I with Maria. I took photos of her when we took her to get her hair done and this trip I gave her the pictures. She couldn’t stop looking at them, I’m sure they were the first photos of herself that she has ever had.

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Nidia, Abuela (what Nidia calls Maria, it means grandmother) and Nidia’s sweet brother.

What a rewarding day, everyone enjoyed meeting Doña Maria and are all ready to go back and see her. My next visit I am taking corn for the chickens, some chicken meal and of course, cold coca cola. My friend Ann has some chairs and cushions for her so I’ll more than likely get her to go along with me. It’s so sweet how people want to help Maria, she has so little and when we give her things, we benefit more from the giving that she does receiving. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Thank you Kelly for making the table, a perfectly honorable gesture from a pirate like you.

Thursday we were planning to snorkel with Eduardo, my friend the cop. Wednesday evening he messaged me that he was on the mainland and wouldn’t be home until Saturday. The girls and I went to Barefoot Cay anyhow. The plan was to snorkel and float in the calm protected area near the palapa. With the wind blowing, there was NO calm protected water. The winds were howling and the sea was churning. The current was so strong that we would have been swept to West Bay in no time, maybe even off to Utila or Belize. We stayed at the pool the majority of the day, it was so peaceful and relaxing.

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View from the pool, there was a huge boat anchored there too.

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Seating area by pool

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The pool is amazing

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The walk out to the palapa

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So pretty but look at the hammocks! They were upside down from the wind.

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Waves breaking on the reef

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Getting some strong waves

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Fabulous table made with hand made tiles.

Friday was the last full day on the island and we were planning a trip to the school in Pandytown, then going to Camp Bay to eat at La Sirena and ending up at BJ’s of course. We drove out to Pandytown and stopped along the way when we saw little boys playing by the road. I had a full bag of Hot Wheels cars that were brought down by my friends John and Lizeth Fowler. The first place we stopped the boys were sitting along the road. The one looks like he was going to cry but he was happy, honest! Next stop there was a small boy standing on the table while his mother scrubbed clothes in a basin. He was very excited to get a car.

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Spanish Hill going into Oak Ridge

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Cute cute cute!! So cute, he got 2.

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How can these little boys be so darn cute?

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This little boys mother was doing laundry when we stopped. She was really nice, spoke perfect English.

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These 3 came from the blue house in the background.

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The girls at La Sirena

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Caeli eating Jill’s rum punch laden pineapple.

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Wall art

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I really love la Sirena. EXCEPT, I went there for onion rings and they were out of onions. I cried, well almost and the waiter magically got an onion from somewhere!!

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We met this dog is 2012, he was a puppy and looked like Highway did as a pup. His name is Diego and he is much bigger than Highway is now.

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The pristine end of the island

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Another friendly dog

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La Sirena has a new sign

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The girls with Miss Piggy

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We were on the beach when someone said, I’ll take your picture Deb. It was my friend Jill, so thanks Jill for snapping this photo of the 4 of us.

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The turn off to Camp Bay

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We made it to BJ’s while the band was still playing. My sandals broke at a school in Pandy town so I was barefoot the rest of the day which isn’t a big deal except I hate having dirty feet. I think the girls had their fill of Rum Punches, laying on the dock is not a normal adventure for BJ’s. Now planking, that is normal for BJ’s.

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Next thing I know, they are going for a boat ride with Keri and Doug’s neighbor in their boat. Caeli left her sandals on the dock, luckily Evereld picked them up and took them to the bar.

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The Banditos, missing Alex

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Kathy, doing an Irish jig.

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Evereld’s rasta boat.

All in all, I think they had a great time, they met a lot of people, went a lot of places and saw things they have never seen before. We came home Friday evening and miraculously found stuff to eat. The girls did some packing and we all went to be early.

I had to work at the airport again on Saturday so they rode in with Cindy and I. It took them forever to get checked in and by the time they were done I had to go inside to get ready for the first flight. I hugged them both good bye and they were off, until the next time.

Before I close, I met a new friend at the airport, her name is Chris O’Dell. She is not just ANY Chris O’Dell. She used to work for Apple Records in London and personally knows / knew all of the Beatles, Yoko, The Stones, Dylan, Clapton. She sang in the chorus of Hey Jude, she was on the roof for the Beatles last ever concert as a group, she is the real deal. George Harrison even wrote a song about her called Miss O’Dell. She wrote a book by the same name, I am slowly reading it, absorbing and processing every word she utters. I get to see this woman every Saturday. I am in utter awe. Check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Miss-ODell-Nights-Beatles-Clapton/dp/1416590943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458086626&sr=1-1&keywords=miss+odell

Since I have nothing that tops that, I’m outta here..