Island style Christmas Magic

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12/22/2015  Aaaah, yes, holidays on the island. It’s so different from what I am used to, from what was brainwashed into my head for so many years, the unrealistic expectations of Christmas. Here it’s different, people don’t get new cars and big trucks for Christmas or another diamond necklace, people are happy with a bag of rice and beans and the kids take a jump rope or a stuffed animal and they smile. In the states kids want Wii, Xbox and iPads, here a truck or a frisbee or a Beanie Baby is wonderful! No excessive gift giving on this rock.

On Thursday we had the kids party in Fiddlers Bight, an area with water access only. The kids from Calabash Bight came also, we think there were around 175 kids total, more than the previous year. When our boat arrived at the party spot the kids were busy making and flying paper airplanes with this cool set Marilyn and Alex bought for them. They were having fun with that, seeing who could throw theirs the farthest. A few of the girls were drawing with chalk on the macadam. It was a calm, hot as hell day, my shirt was soaked by mid afternoon and Francie was glistening.. At one point I thought my calves were melting. Too bad the sun can’t melt your ass off, or your gut..

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The coolest paper airplane kit that Marilyn and Alex brought
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So bizarre, part of a doll hanging on the fence. Random
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Santa’s new chair, made by Bill, painted by Marilyn
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I love DUBAI?? The country?? HUH?
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Kat, BJ’s gorgeous daughter, explaining the folding process for the airplanes
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Frosty in a box

The kids played for awhile, then the story lady told her version of the birth of Christ and Kat translated it to Spanish and rearranged some of the story to keep it on track. Lets just say the story lady has a slightly different version. Kat was great though, she told the story in a very animated way, the kids were really paying attention to her.

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Story lady on the right holding up a picture.
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gorgeous little girls
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really, could she be any cuter??
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Derek, my favorite
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Marilyn and her jester hat

After the story lady was done we gave the kids a stick and let them take turns beating the candy out of poor old Frosty the Snowman. I kept getting freaked out, afraid they might whack Francie a few times, the boys were slammimg the crap out of Frosty. Once they got a hole torn in it, it was all over. The kids dove on top of one another for the candy, as always, some get a lot some get a little.

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My new friend Judy staying WAAAYY back from the stick.
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Yes Carmen has on 2 sets of antlers.. It’s a look.
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Bashed Frosty

Then someone spoke the magic words, “here comes Santa”. Sure enough, standing up in the boat that was coming across the water was Santa Claus. Pandemonium. In all reality, for as little as these kids have, seeing Santa is a big deal and they were exceedingly excited. Second year in a row I’ve had tears running down my cheek when Santa arrives. You can feel the excitement.

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Waiting for Santa
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You can see by this little boys face that he sees Santa’s boat coming
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The one and only, SANTA!!
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Kids of all ages
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Even Santa’s boat captain is a reindeer.

Santa (we have a fabulous Santa) insists on wearing the full outfit, boots and gloves too, despite the 90 degree heat. He spoke to every child and when they left he told them “Santa loves you”. How cool is that? Mrs. Claus, chief elf and organizer Francie did a fab job too, hoisting the kids from their Mom’s arms to Santa and then back to Mom when they were done. She was the one glistening. Elf Joe helped keep the gifts flowing, Dave did crowd control, Melanie was the main photographer while Rosalie marked their hands, indicating they already got a gift. Smooth as clockwork.

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Twins were having none of this Santa stuff..
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Love the little boy’s look
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Such gorgeous kids
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He looks a little shy
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This kills me
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Anxiously waiting
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No Santa for this boy either
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This is the first little boy I ever fit for Tom’s shoes. He’s the one who hugged me before I even fitted him. His name is Derek
Mom must have a busy night planned. All the Moms want to sit on Santa’s lap too, that’s why he needed a sturdier chair.

Melanie took 465 photos in a few hours. For over an hour she knelt on her knees, on a piece of cardboard, on the dirt ground, taking photos. Amazing.When Santa had seen everyone the ladies there (many mothers) served the kids food.

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This little girls hair is so long, just beautiful.
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The most gorgeous kids
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Nice looking young boy
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Another good looking boy
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These kids are all cute
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Pensive
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So pretty
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With her new doll
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Family rowing home after the party
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Party is over, time to go home.

We left shortly after that and went to Alex and Marilyn’s house for dinner. She is so phenomenal in the kitchen, she can whip up an impromptu meal in no time and it rocks. Tonight was no different.

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Brett AKA Cute Boat Guy and Carmen
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The guys chatting
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Kathy and Judy
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Marilyn’s recycle bin
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Lounging in the living room
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The tree looks great

Great meal, yummy salad (Carmen).  There were quite a few friends there, we sat around and chatted for awhile. I met a new lady from Cali that lives here too. She had further to drive than I did and it was dark so we had Alex deposit us back at BJ’s and we each drove back to our homes.

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Ride home

Friday was BJ’s, I went there after my fiasco at the municipal. Late Saturday morning we took the dogs to Parrot Tree swimming. They haven’t been for a while and they knew exactly where they were and they were uncontrollable. Once they got to the other side of the lagoon, we set them free.

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My babies
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Barrio chilling on the chair
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They are water dogs
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Handsome Barrio, out of the 3 pups he has the sweetest demeanor and is the calmest, also the most skittish.
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Sweet boy Barrio
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L to R, Max, Barrio and Gringo in the front, he is the biggest by far, pushing 55# of solid muscle.
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Gringo, Barrio and Max
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Gringo, I’m not positive but he might have been taking a whizz..
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Barrio in front, Gringo, Max

These puppies have a serious hold on my heartstrings. I can’t really describe the depth of the emotions but I feel so responsible for them, even responsible for their happiness. I worry that they are bored, maybe they need exercised, maybe we need a bigger enclosed area, how about a pool for them to swim in?  Is their food good enough, do they eat enough? It’s an issue for sure. I truly feel like I gave birth to these dogs but obviously I didn’t, and I do know that, but it does not lessen my feelings of motherhood to these 3 pups. Plain and simple. They own me.

Saturday afternoon we went over to our friends, Chuck and Nancy’s for drinks and dinner. It was a nice break from our daily busyness and it’s always nice to visit with them and see the progress on the building they are working on. It is almost done and it looks fabulous, amazing…I could live in that space.

Sunday was the first of Nidia’s Because We Care Christmas parties for the kids. I arrived too early, as is my damn style.

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The Ark is taking shape..
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Just the view going into Punta Gorda. I make sure to NEVER take this view for granted.
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A house in town
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The party was held on this beach.

Nobody was there so I turned around and drove back through town, called Nidia and then decided she wouldn’t be there for 45 min. so I went home, (10 min.) and kissed the dogs for awhile. On my way home one of the boys who was dressed in shorts and nothing else, his body covered in black oil, wearing a mask  and brandishing a wooden spear, walked up to the front of my car and shook his belly. Then he came over to my open window and said ‘gimme 5 dollars. ” I said No, I’m not giving you 5 dollars, now move. And he did.

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They call themselves something in Spanish that roughly translates to Barbaric Indian. I guess I was supposed to be scared.
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So beautiful
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You can see forever
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Photo op
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I want this boat

When I went to Punta Gorda the second time things were starting to happen. Nidia and her two daughters and one of her sons were there, Santa was there and Nidia had lots of helpers. They brought the tables so we put the gifts out on the tables, which maybe is a mean thing to do. Mixed emotions on this one. After 2PM the kids and parents started to arrive.

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Getting the toys out
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Hats and jump ropes
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Nidia arranging the dolls, mouse ears, cars, trucks and assorted other gifts
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Flip-flops
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quite a variety of toys
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These kids are so cute
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Nidia in the center, her 2 daughters, Krista in red and Janisha. Love them all.
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A little bit of everything
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They delivered chairs and all the kids sat on them while the adults stood. Finally Sully (Santa) stole 2 for us.
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She posed for me, OMG!!
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Blowing up a balloon
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Cutie
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She was also trying to blow up a balloon.
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Kudos for him even trying. They were long curly balloons, not easy to blow up at all.

Once there were lots of kids there, most all in Santa hats, Nidia had the kids play musical chairs for a while, the DJ was rocking the tunes. It always blows my mind to see kids playing this game and wondering, do kids in the US still play musical chairs, like ever??

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Musical chairs using the chairs from the restaurant
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Pretty girl in her Minnie Mouse ears
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Couple more cuties
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Her dress, her barrettes, her ears and the balloon..
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Kids in Santa hats were everywhere…
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Once they were done playing musical chairs, Santa came.
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Such a doll!
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Getting organized into lines
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These kids are so gorgeous…
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This is my friend Gail in the pink. I met her the day I picked my friends up at the cruise ship, she was hanging in my friends store. She is from eastern Canada. She is with 2 Barbaric Indians. The kids all ran and screamed when they saw them.
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The little girl in the pink frilly dress had 2 balloons stuffed in the front of her dress.
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hmm, one of everything please
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And here he is, Santa. Sully (Santa) also helped out last year with some toy and food delivery. I believe he has helped Nidia many times, really a nice guy. This Santa was a tropical one in flip flops!!
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He was swarmed by the kids
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It was a sea of Santa hats
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Ho Ho Ho
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Adorable
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Santa and the kids
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My friend Miss Linda from Camp Bay and her grandson
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Santa, in between passing out gifts..
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Feet
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I always find the shoe choices interesting
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Gorgeous
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Sweet boys eyeing the goodies
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Santa passing out candy bags, then I passed out toothbrushes..
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Lunch, hot dogs, juice and ice cream
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Kids waiting for their gifts
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you could cut the tension with a knife..they wanted gifts
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The gift guarders
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How do you keep a few hundred kids in lines and quiet when all they can see is gifts?? Answer: YOU DON’T
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Please, something for me…
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Gorgeous twins. I walked over later and gave their dad 2 toothbrushes for them and 1 for their little brother. He thanked me in perfect English.
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He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
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eating ice cream
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Then something happened and he started crying and there was no adult with him. We kept trying to find out why he was crying but could make no sense of what he was saying. Poor little guy.

It was a long afternoon,  5.5 hours there and I was done. I headed towards home around 5:30 and became a vegetable. Sheer exhaustion set in. I tried like hell to get this blog out that night and just COULD NOT DO IT.

I did some stuff around here this morning, ran to town, got groceries, brought them home and went to Oak Ridge to pay for the permit. I did the Pay To line on the check before I left home b/c it’s long and with my shitty hands, I have a hard time writing legibally. I did NOT make out the written dollar amount, I wanted to wait. I also took a SPARE check, just in case. Well, it’s a damn good thing I had that extra check because I did the Payee name in blue and the amount in BLACK, dated and signed in BLACK and they would not flipping take it b/c it was in 2 colors of ink. They said Davivienda Bank is very fussy. WTF? At that point I wished I had a sharpie because I would have written the damn check out on his forehead. Good thing I didn’t because when I left the office I saw the Mayor and got a hug and kiss before I left the Muni. He was sitting out in the waiting room watching TV. He’s a really nice guy and I do like him and, I think he tries his best.

When I left today, this was in the road. Bill took the photo. Not a soul around, no glass, no signs of blood, no bodies. Really, nobody came to investigate this accident??

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I got home and was working on the blog and picking up around here when Trish called. They were on their way home from Mondays Don’t Suck (I missed it again, too busy) and stopped by here for a drink on the roof. It’s the first I’ve seen her since she arrived last Monday! Looking forward to hanging out with them while they are here.

The wonders of Facebook continue to thrill me on a daily basis. It allows me to be in touch with people I used to see daily while working for Bank of America. Believe it or not, you make friendships with those people and being able to maintain those friendships via Facebook is incredible. One of those friends is Chris Castle, Chris was in the bank daily and he and I became friends. I knew he and his wife had 2 sons and that Chris was a soccer ref. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Chris and his boss Phil. After I left the bank I would run into him every now and then but when we moved, we lost touch. Until I saw him on my friend Katy’s FB. The rest is history, except for the fact that Chris’s wife is a very talented artist. I really enjoy seeing Julie’s work that Chris posts. He recently set up an Etsy shop for her. Please take a few minutes to look at her work, she is really good. The web address is https://www.facebook.com/Sand-Castle-Shack-Studio-448528448665578/?fref=ts  and her Etsy address is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SandCastleShack?ref=hdr_shop_menu. Merry Christmas Chris, Julie and family!!

It’s 10 PM, I have to get 4 dogs outside and drag this tired old butt to bed. I have the one big BWC Christmas party on Wednesday then it’s fun and games and partying with our friends this Christmas season.

To all the amazing people who follow my blog, thank you. Bill, Highway, Lola, Frito, Gringo, Max, Barrio, Emmy and I wish you a fabulously Merry Christmas and an enchanting New Year..XOXO

JINGLE BELLS, ISLAND STYLE. Thanks to Jeanie for this one..(sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

We sit with drink in hand
Without a hope of snow
Under spreading palms
A hurricane’s sure to blow
Santa Claus will find
That things can turn to shit
He won’t be riding eight reindeer
He can’t get his permit
      Oh, hells bells….coconut shells
       Cervezas all the way….oh what fun it is to ride….in a pick-up truck today

 

 

 

 

Friends make the world go round

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11/18/2015 Life is strange. It’s strange the way we meet people in our lives and what influences or doesn’t influence that a friendship ensues. What traits do we look for in a friend, is that how we do it, looking for “traits”? I don’t think I look for traits or tendencies, like oooh, are they OCD like me or not? Do they eat peanut butter with a spoon? If my friends were like me I would not like them much.

Last Monday I rode with Marilyn and Alex to Barbon beach for Mondays Don’t Suck. shortly after we got there it rained, then the rain stopped and it was semi sunny. Only a few people showed up but it was fun nonetheless. The women floated for awhile on our matching rafts and the men prepared the fire for lunch.

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Marilyn’s wine glass
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Perfection
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Boaters
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Norm and Jeanie
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The story behind this is hysterical. This is Bob and this is what his wife Rosalie posted on the pic I took. “Last Monday I neglected to actually look at Bob until we were shopping at Bay Island Electric. Yes he dressed himself. I had to apologize to the gang at the beach for his attire. Note to self…never let him leave the house without giving him the once over. I softened the insult by telling him that I was sure he wasn’t the worst dressed man on the island that day!”
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Beach gang
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Marilyn and Bob

It was a fabulous day on the beach. The next day I was meeting my friend Milesse at the resort she owns, Barefoot Cay. As soon as I got there the sky opened up and it poured. I had to take a barge across to the Cay, so I waited until the rain let up a little bit before I crossed. We went to Milesse’s house and ordered lunch from the restaurant menu. Let me just say this: Milesse has a fabulous home and Barefoot Cay is amazing. The grounds are spotless, the bungalows are decorated elegantly, it’s really an amazing small boutique resort. and you are very catered to when you stay there.

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from the palapa over the water
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The water is so clear
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Stunning pool
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Serenity

I had a great time with Milesse, we discussed the airport gig and what needs to be done to make it an even better experience for the arriving guests. {Milesse is the one who started the volunteer greeter program at Roatan airport}. After a great lunch I got a tour of the resort, it really is a beautiful place away from the hustle and bustle of the popular beaches.

Friday found us back at BJ’s, of course. Out of nowhere and after a few glasses of wine, Jeanie said, “lets plank here.” So I grabbed Marilyn and Bill and my camera and we planked. It’s funny but nobody really pays any attention when you are being crazy. It’s obvious that insanity is what I look for in my friends.

I go right for the craziness, the impulsivity, the we’re ready for whatever attitude. They are the people I like to hang out with. The adventurous ones. I like true friends, people who you can hang with so comfortably that they feel like home. What blows my mind is the life situation that we have on this island that gives us this type of friends. The people we are friends with here are ready to go to the beach with 7 puppies, tie up a kayak and snorkel to the reef, take a boat to Helene for the day, eat dinner standing around our kitchen island when we had to come home because our dogs were barking so much. There are women who will plank with me and those who will spend all day passing out shoes or an afternoon downtown providing fun for the kids. And their men look and watch without passing judgement. We are expressing ourselves.

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Jeanie in front, me in pink, Marilyn, in black and white. Planking BJ’s!
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Then Jeanie says, “Take our picture” to Bill, “DO SOMETHING” to Marilyn and I. So Marilyn and I cracked up!
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ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!! Marilyn in her throne.

Actually, Bill made the chair for Santa Claus’ arrival at the Christmas party in Fiddlers Bight next month. Marilyn was taking the chair home to paint it. She may have it permanently affixed to the boat because she looks pretty freaking regal sitting there. Get that lady a crown.

My fabulous lady friends and I are going to start having Adult Coloring sessions. I got a few books online and I told Jeanie to buy one also. We plan to get together and color and drink wine and solve every issue in our little island world. During these times we may also vote people off the island..You know, like Survivor but without money. These are the coloring books that I bought.

Friends. I love my old friends, the group of people we partied with in the states. So many years with those people and so many memories. I love my new friends too. We are making memories here every day. Crazy fun memories. My good friend just returned home last Saturday, back to her island home. I was so happy to see her walking into the immigration building I wanted to turn cartwheels across the tarmac. I refrained because they would frown on that and I’d more than likely kill myself with a cartwheel. Faceplant much? However, I would like to try one. Just to see, without anyone else seeing.

I find it very interesting that people from my previous life are now a part of my current life because of FB. People that I used to hang out with when I got out of High School or after my sporadic college career {that spanned way too many years) and resulted in nothing being learned except life lessons. Hard taught life lessons. I haven’t seen some of these people for 25+ years. Some WAAAYYY longer than that. Friends I’ve know since 4th grade.  Friends from my past, from the life I led before I became a Mom. Even after having the boys many of these people stayed in my life. Some went in other directions, some I haven’t really “talked” to in decades but we are in touch via Facebook. I love that I am able to be a part of my friends lives, to be able to see photos of their children/grandchildren growing up, to know what they are doing and to comment on each others daily happenings. It’s a good thing.

My friend Dolli just posted this photo of me on Facebook. I think it’s 1968?

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Umm, yeah, I was a Hippie chick! I’m top left, with a cig in my hand. This photo is amazing..

One of my friends, Keri, from Snohomish, WA., sort of started the Pastafarian religion on Roatan. When a few of our friends went to visit Keri, they wore colanders on their heads. This article tells about a girl who is allowed to wear a colander for her drivers license photo because it is part of her religious headwear.  My friend Llyn has to get her license renewed here on the island and I’m going along for the ride because she is going to wear a colander on her head. I’m going to take pictures and laugh my ass off.

Sunday we picked up Nancy and Chuck and they rode along with us to deliver Jeanie’s new cupboard to Camp Bay.

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Dog toys come in handy
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getting it in place
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Ready to mount
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We didn’t take the doors because there wasn’t any room for them to travel safely, they will go this week and Bill will then mount and adjust them.

Once Bill and Roger got the cupboard hung we all went to La Sirena and had lunch and rum punches. Always fun to hang out there and Jeanie and I even planked, again. This time it was my idea.

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We planked on the overwater table.
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Very odd for the water to be so muddy, all the rain and resulting runoff makes it like this.
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Jeanie Bill and Jimmy. Jimmy owns La Sirena
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Not much to look at but fabulous food and the view is the best!
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The end of the world
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Jeanie Jimmy and Roger, Jeanie’s husband
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The place is covered with signed money
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Bill, Nancy, Jeanie and Roger
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Chuck, Nancy’s husband, surveying the property
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Porky

We got home late afternoon and hung out with the dogs for the evening. At around 1 AM I woke sick to my stomach and spent most of the night awake and feeling like shit. It wasn’t the food from La Sirena, but some turkey breast I made a sandwich out of. I know this for sure because Bill had a sandwich Monday night and was sick all night long. When I woke Monday morning I had a headache, fever and was coughing, the start of a mysterious island illness. This is day 3 and I am beginning to feel human again, although I think Bill may be getting it now. Time will tell.

The guys are here fiberglassing the roof, finally we have had some dry weather so they can get this done. Sam said it will take about 4 days to do and then we will be waterproofed.

I have given up fixing dog toys and resigned myself to the fact they can not have stuffed toys period. The only toys they don”t decimate are Kongs, Nylabone and Skineeze.

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This toy lasted 2 hours.
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The pain these critters endure
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I have become quite the surgeon
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Stuffing be damned.
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A blast from the past for all of my Seafirst/BOA friends.
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My new couch!!
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One of our critters that Alexi caught. We of course let him go unscathed after talking to Alexi about not killing them. Iguanas are so beautiful!

The pups are seven months old and weigh: Gringo, 49#, Barrio 45# and Maxillicious 39# and Lola who is 1 year old weighs 44#. Highway will be 3 Dec 1 and weighs 51#. I’m thinking Gringo is going to be our hefty one..He is solid as a bull..I bought bananas for the dogs, sliced them and put Xylitol free peanut butter on the slices for them. They love them. Then they stole 2 whole bananas from the counter, they ate 1 banana, skin and all. I only found a part of the other banana peel. Nice healthy fiber. Damn them. They eat everything. I did not take a picture of their latest destruction because I was disturbed that they did what they did. They ATE the heavy wooden cistern cover. Yes. No joke. You could see down into the cistern. Really, honestly, they were that DAMN bored that they ate the cistern lid. Needless to say, this did not make Bill’s day. I’m sure it was all 3 boys and Lola. I think Highway watched with dismay. Dogs, man’s best friend.

I haven’t mentioned this next thing because I didn’t want to jinx it but these people are coming to visit us this summer.

chance fam
Our oldest son Chance and his wife Alecia and the girls. I am BEYOND excited to see them and am already planning lots of fun things to do while they are here. Neither of the girls have flown before and Alecia doesn’t like to fly so I really appreciate her willingness to put her fears aside and come to the island.
Alexah
Alexah’s school pic. What I love most about this photo (aside from the fact it’s of Alexah) is that she isn’t afraid to smile with her braces on. She is a gorgeous girl!
Chloee
Chloee, another beauty, she is growing up so fast. They both have their mother’s beautiful blue eyes!!
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Chance and his girls being goofy

One last thing, I am also helping out with the kids Christmas Party in Fiddlers Bight, a community accessed by boat. Last year Bill and I bought toys for the party and I helped wrap the gifts one day at BJ’s. We also went along with Santa to the bight for the festivities. This year Bill made a sturdy new chair for Santa which he desperately needs because so many women want to sit on his lap AT THE KIDS CHRISTMAS PARTY. This group is different from Because We Care. This is a smaller group of children, but still kids in need. If anyone wants to donate, $10.00 gives an island child a Christmas gift. Believe me when I say it’s the only gift they will get. You can donate for free to my PayPal account, just be sure to mark the money as a GIFT. I promise, 100% goes to the kids..my email for PayPal is ledfutt@gmail.com

And, I am off to bed, this cold/flu has kicked my butt. I really do not have time to be sick!