It’s a small small world

 

26/02/2018 On a warm Sunday eve, on the edge of the Caribbean, away from all the tourists, no ambient light, there was a concert. Not just any concert, a Brion James and the West End Players concert at Roatan Beach Club, 5 minutes from our house.  It was an amazing evening under the stars. Bill didn’t want to go, my car was in the shop (I don’t drive the yuck) but I was determined to go so I hitched a ride with Dwight and Karen. I hung out with Karen and Susan and the gang while they ate at Lionfish Louie’s and then the band started at 6. My friend the Duchess and her husband soon joined me. The Duchess and I danced along the waters edge, after dark. We danced up the walkway and down the pier to Buck and Amy’s boat that was docked there. It was the best, I felt 20 years old again for a few hours, that seldom occurs.

Brion plays all over the Caribbean and the world, he is a well known musician. And he lives here, on Roatan. A friend, Dave Barons is the drummer and Mike McGuire is the other guitarist. Fantastic trio. They are playing again in March, I will be there and I may wear bells.

 

Dave the drummer, chilling while they move a tree behind him

Brion playing, crappy pics, cell phone

The beach before sunset

Brion doing some sound checks as the sun begins it’s dip below the horizon, on to another land.

Nidia messaged me the other day to see if I wanted to go to Miss Norma’s, the Luis Bogran school in Jonesville Point with her. I sure did, one of my favorite schools. Nidia was apprehensive about my driveway so I said I would meet her at the bottom. I got in her car,(first time I’ve ridden with the new driver and new car owner). She introduced me to the people in the back seat, Rick and Melissa. Melissa said to me, you’re the Mermaid on a Raft aren’t you? Small world, she reads my blog. They are from NY and brought school supplies for each of the kids and some things for the teachers. It’s a 2 room school and Miss Norma runs it. She’s a saint of a lady, I admire her.

They were given ice cream first, it was melting..

Rick and Melissa setting up the bags with school supplies

Waiting. again, taken with my phone b/c my good camera’s batteries died as soon as I got to the school. GRRR

Getting their bag of school stuff, construction paper, sharpener, pencils, erasers..and notebooks donated by my friend John and Lizeth.

They always ask me to take their photo and I always happily agree.

Yes, Nidia uses her vehicle hard. She is the only person I have ever known to carry a Pinata and 2 boxes of shoes and a box filled with bags of school supplies.

Impromptu fitting for some of the bigger kids who needed shoes

Two of Roatan’s finest ladies, Nidia and Miss Norma. Miss Norma is the teacher/principal of this little school. She is a mother to all of these children, sometimes giving the most loving the children get all day. She gives it freely.

The dock that many of the kids use to get to school, they come by boat from Lucy Point, across the bight.

After Nidia dropped me off at home I got in my car and left to go feed Sexy, the dog who lives at the Pirate ship. The owner drives a red tuk tuk from Punta Gorda. He says she is his dog and that’s her name. And then to emphasize what her name was he sexy strutted for me. My life should be a comedy but it’s all true. We (my friend and dog lover Pam) and I have been feeding her but she seemed pretty well taken care of. Or so we thought. Pam stopped to see her, as she passes that way on her way to town, and messaged me that she didn’t look good. She got some wormer and wormed her. I went two days after and she was happy to see me, she came running, but she was a finicky eater. She never was before. There were 2 other dogs there and she placed herself between me and the food and them. I went over and fed them and got her back to the dish but she was too upset that the other dogs were there, at least I think she was.

Sexy..what an awful name for a dog. I call her Pirata since she is at the Pirate ship.

This is one of the other dogs, there is a brown and white one that is identical but they are both spooked, scared of people. Sexy is very territorial with them.

For those of you who haven’t been along for the ride very long, you may not be familiar with the Pirate ship. This was intended to be a disco, complete with disco ball, light show, terraced inside around a large dance floor. You could walk around the boat, get right up by the ropes to the crows nest (non OSHA approved) There were three bars, gift stores, VIP seating, reserved areas (I was given a Reserved sign from there). It was a big deal and the neighbors were not happy, not in their backyard. I don’t blame them, they moved to the quiet end of the island and this monstrosity opens. Well, it had it’s soft opening but before they could do their GRAND opening night, the head of the whole thing was carted off to prison. He was a big dude with the Sinaloa drug cartel. The disco was a money laundering op. So, it closed. We stopped with friends one day to look at the outside and the guard offered us a tour. We gave him 100L, about 5 bucks. He then gave me 2 carvings, a turtle and another of monkeys and birds. Then we stopped with some other friends and he gave me a seahorse and her a fish. After that Bill saw him there and went and got him lunch and we ended up with the rest of the carvings. I kept the seahorse, turtle and another one with a monkey and bird. Our talented friend Kevin painted the turtle and the seahorse and now I don’t want them outside, I like them too much. Recently the club is supposed to be re-opened on the weekends, not sure about that though.

After I fed the dog I drove to Oak Ridge, parked up on the hill behind the muni and walked down to the bridge and over the inlet to my friends home. The people who adopted one of the 3 pups Bill found live there. I had some movies for them and some toys for Bailey the dog.

I love these buildings, on my walk to my friends.

Walking over the inlet

Miss Bailey. She’s adorable and she’s loved. Her friend Alice the cat is lurking above her. If Bailey is ignoring Alice, Alice goes after her tail, quite the pair. They will be great buddies.

I came home the other day and Max was inside with Highway (so Max and Barrio don’t fight) and Max chewed up 4 hardback books downstairs. I was pissed and had the books in my hands asking who did this??? Like he’s going to say, me???

He ran in the downstairs bathroom and hid. He thought he was invisible. That face though.

The pool has been in use, by the dogs..last year I swam all year. I haven’t been in since the end of September. Ridiculous. Hoping tomorrow.

Our friends Dave and Trish are leaving for freezing Toronto in a few days so we had them over for pizza. The Duchess (Jeanie) and Roger came too. It was a nice day but windy. So windy the tablecloth wouldn’t stay down. Bill fixed it with 4 clamps.

Gringo has a new thing for the table. It’s why I always use tablecloths now.

Cal’s is open 4 days a week, I ate there 3 days last week. And once this week, it’s too damn easy. And so good. Bill and I went there with friends Dave and Lynda. They own a home down here but permanently live in brrrrr Minnesota. Teri, Olivia and Bill and I  rented their home in 2012 for a vacation, before we even knew Dave and Lynda. Always nice to visit with them when they’re here. I also met some new friends from Bellingham, Elaine and Jeffrey. They are friends of my jeweler Bill and his wife Gina, who were on Roatan last year with their daughter Mackenzie. They gave their friends my info and I helped them get island info, places to go things to do. Finally we got to meet one day at Cal’s, then I brought them up here to meet the pack and see the views. They brought some NW Salmon, Bill is beyond thrilled. We also went to dinner at Cal’s last Friday with friends, that was my 3 times in 4 days. He probably gets tired of seeing me.

I think I totally missed mentioning some new friends I met in January. Scott and I met awhile ago on FB and became friends. I was giving he and his wife Linda info about moving here from Tennessee, moving a dog here, just trying to be of some help. I knew they were coming on my birthday, that was their move down here day. We ended up finally meeting at, where else, Cal’s for lunch. We had a nice visit and they followed me home and met Bill and the dogs. They also brought me a bottle of vodka and some fresca. The vodka turned out to be a lifesaver one rainy windy night while Bill was gone and I realized I had no vodka. I have now become Linda’s favorite person to butt dial, Inside joke but funny nonetheless.

I have been social media friends with David through my friend Amanda and her blog. David and I have been chatting off and on via Instagram. Recently he messaged me he would be here with his Mother, who plans to live here soon. We began communicating more and chose a date to meet. I picked him and his Mother Isabel up at Pineapple, we went to feed Sexy (she ate 2 cans then) and then went to Cal’s for lunch. After lunch we came up here to meet the dogs. We went down to the pool and of course, all of the dogs went swimming. David brought me mermaid things, of course. He works for a company in LA that does hand painted wallpaper called Gracie. Seriously, it’s a thing, a very expensive thing. Check it out, it’s amazing. So anyhow, David recently started working there and told his boss he already had plans to go to Roatan. She freaked out because she comes here all the time to dive. He mentioned my blog and she said she reads it. OMG, (now the stupid Disney song, It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world is stuck in my head). She ended up coming while he was here and went with him on a discover scuba dive with Roatan Divers. He’s hooked.

This is one of the gifts

And a lightweight Mermaid Tail blanket is another. It came with a a Mermaid charm. He also bought me a Mermaid sticker for my car, which is of course, already on my car. I’ve used the blanket already too, it was chilly the other night.

This sign was at Cal’s. Hole bean coffee. Yum, makes me happy I hate coffee.

Four, Highway is on an ottoman. They all have beds too.

Mr. Hunka Hunka Burning Love decided that he prefers sunbathing ON THE table.

Monkey see, monkey do. Lola joined him, Highway is behind her. Honest, she’s not malnourished. She eats a lot and is wormed regularly. She’s just hyper as shit and never sits still.

Gringo laying, Highway standing. You can see how much his hip is out in the photo and Lola the Dominatrix is under the table. So is Barrio but he’s hiding.

Last evening we had dinner at a friends and tonight Bill got take out chicken and we ate, well I did, in front of my laptop. I actually laid in the sun today, it felt good. That’s the first in a long freaking time. If only I had some Bain de Soleil. I’m seriously thinking of ordering two tubes of Bain de Soleil just for the memories. I could have Liza bring them with her. Liza?

It’s a very windy evening, it’s just howling out there. We have not had local phone service all day, that’s OK, I hate phones anyhow.  Thankful for messenger and email and seeing people in person.

I’m off to la la land..

AAAAAANNNNNNDDDD, it’s the next day. LaLa land snuck up on me last night and when that spell was cast, it was curtains for me.

Simply stunning day today, again. I spent it all outside reading a new book called: Tips for Living. So far, excellent. I have a tub of coconut oil in the fridge but it’s hard. I was in dire need of some moisturization for my skin so I came in and slathered Olive Oil on my legs and face and neck. The dogs thought I was dinner. The other night I allowed some coconut to melt and rubbed it on my arms and legs and feet. I became a giant oil lick for 5 dogs. Not a fun experience.

So today, I ate breakfast, had tea by the pool and then gathered my “pool” stuff in my Gracie bag and hung by the pool with my tablet and all 5 dogs. They swam many times throughout the day and kept trying to steal my chaise lounge by the pool…they have their own chairs. We all had a great day in the sun.

A few weeks ago I got a FB note from my friend Sue. Sue and I have never met but were introduced on FB by our mutual friend Cathilee. Sue had something for me and wanted my address. Well, we don’t get mail here so I said I could give her a friends address and they would bring it to me. Then another friend chimed in and said she would be here in a week and was willing to bring it. I met my friend Kristi today and got the envelope Sue sent to me. This is the note that was in it:

And this is what she sent me. I LOVE it, the colors, the saying, it’s just perfect. This is a close up of it, made by Vicki McMahan @ Pewter Lane.

Full size and it is so cool! Thank you so much Sue!

 

I spent another day by the pool reading. I think it burned me out so much yesterday that I went to bed before 8 PM. I have to get tan again, this white girl crap isn’t cutting it.

I’ve finally given up the “being a blonde ruse.” I had a hairdresser in Williampsort tell me it was a genetic mistake I wasn’t born blonde. I adapted that and made it fit my life quite well. After all these years the blonde has tarnished so I’m giving up the ghost and going gray tomorrow. Probably with a hint of purple underneath. Shit happens when you get old(er).

I’m going to go make a drink but before that, this is getting published. Adiós amigos.

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Roatan ramblings

05/28/2017 I haven’t been into blogging lately, actually, I haven’t been into much of anything. Seems I spend more time with the dogs that with anyone else. We communicate endlessly.

A friend I met on FB and then caught up with twice while she was here visiting came down and stayed with us for 2 weeks while she was finalizing some things with her house build. They plan to be in their new home by the end of the year, it’s going to be awesome and they have a fabulous view. The beach is at the bottom of their land and they sit up on a hill overlooking the sea. Anxious for them to move down here. Diane is a dog lover so she was perfectly comfortable with our pack, Lola took a special interest in her and seemed to gravitate to Diane’s side.

Diane and I helped Connie with the Mother’s Day event to benefit Cattleya. It was held in Loren’s studio above their restaurant, Romeo’s, in French Harbor. The kids paid to make Mother’s Day gifts and when the gifts were completed they each got a pizza and a drink. Diane and I helped at the first station. At our table the kids drew on coffee filters, that had been opened and flattened, with markers.

The coloring station

The one little girl was very pensive, it took her a long time to do 10 filters.

These two were awesome, Jazmin and Matthew. They are the grandchildren of Miss Valerie who runs the Charmont Bilingual Academy (it’s an amazing school) for children who come from families affected by AIDS.

After they each colored 10 of them, they were individually spritzed with water until the colors bled. Then they were dried with hair dryers at the next table.

The ladies helping here are all teachers at Cattleya.

Once dried they were folded, twisted at the bottom and then opened into a flower shape. After that they went to another station where they added things to the bouquet.

Annie helping to make the bouquets beautiful.

Sweet brother and sister.

This is Matthew, he gave me a big hug before he left, what a sweet boy!

The final table was glitter then wrapping the bouquets up like a real flower bouquet. After they were done we all had yummy pizza, courtesy of Romeo’s restaurant.

This is the outside area of the art showroom.

Love the painted seating

I’m not sure what type of paint they used but I really like this artwork.

This was one of my favs.

It’s great fun helping Connie with an event, she is always so appreciative!

Diane and I also helped Nidia with the Mother’s Day event at Infinity Bay. It was held the day before Mother’s Day. The manager of Infinity Bay is always willing to give back to the community and he did it in a big way. The event was in their banquet room, tables were set very nicely, the food spread was incredible, they offered free 5 minute massages and all the ladies got a gift. Nidia planned for 120 ladies but several brought friends and children. I fast counted 135, we think there were 140+ people there.

These ladies came dressed in their Sunday best.

Many of them have never been to Infinity Bay (it’s quite a posh resort right on the beach) or West Bay beach.

Gifts for all

Nidia (in red) leading a game on the porch. The ladies weren’t playing by the rules so Nidia didn’t give out the prize.

Free massages

Nidia and one of the ladies dancing. The lady in black had the music in her, she danced while she waited in line for her food. She was a total joy to watch!

Diane and I were both tired when we got home. I really have to praise Nidia, this woman hass the drive and the power to get things done. It’s nothing for her to throw together a shindig like this, bringing ladies from the far reaches of Roatan to have a fun day. She’s totally amazing.

I’ve had some problems with Jessica, (the young girl I got back in school) she hasn’t been going to school. I had her over here one afternoon so we could talk about the situation. She was unusually quiet while she was here though and I couldn’t get more than 2 words out of her at a time.

She was picking dead leaves off of a plant.

The week after she was here she missed 2 out of 4 days of school. The first time she said she had to babysit. I told her she didn’t have any children that she was responsible for and that I was paying for her to go to school, not to babysit. The second day she missed I called her and asked what was going on and she said she was sleeping. She does nothing all day (school is 8:30-10:30 AM, M-Th) , stays out late with boys at night and can’t get up for school. I give up. She doesn’t want this for herself, if she did she would be like Alexi and not miss school. I even paid extra for her to attend a class trip the following Friday which included lunch at Bojangles.

I told her I was done and not to go to school anymore. I called Sister Judy and explained the situation and told her Jessica was done and that they could use my money as a donation. I felt awful doing it, it still haunts me, but if she doesn’t want a better life, nothing I say or do will change that. No different than getting rehab for an addict. She will be pregnant soon, Alexi agrees with me. He is furious with her as is her older sister Juliana. She told me she wished she had someone like me who cared when she was young. I am still stressing over this. A good friend who lives near the family and has known them for years told me not to waste my time, that Alexi is the success story from that family and to lavish our attention on him. He needs and wants it. Sad that their mother, who lives above Jessica and Juliana, doesn’t care. It’s so frustrating. I wanted better for Jessica, I thought she did too. I was so looking forward to helping this young girl. I am crushed that this happened, I had big plans for Jessica. Maybe she will come around, I can only hope.

We started adding onto the pool deck. The girl who was cleaning for me while my other gal was on maternity leave happens to have a very skilled craftsman for a husband. Enter MoMo. Thank you Andrea!! He is here everyday early, works non-stop all day long. He has expanded the deck, built a pergola, deck railings, a table, 2 benches and 2 chairs, a large counter with shelves and doors and 4 side tables. ALREADY! He is now building a box to hide the hideous hot water heater that Bill insisted on hanging where everyone can see it on the back porch. Then he is building doors to cover the storage areas on our back porch. After that it’s a pergola and furniture for the roof. I would really like to adopt him, he’s awesome and such a nice guy. He’s so good that Bill is allowing him to use his tools, BILL NEVER ALLOWS ANYONE TO USE HIS TOOLS. MoMo is in heaven. I’m in heaven because things are getting done here.

You can see by the stained/not stained what we added.

He made the table and chairs. The 2 benches are still waiting to be sprayed with finish and I have to have cushions made for everything..

Nice storage area, the tile for the counter is in, I have to pick it up tomorrow. I asked my friend Trish to paint a mermaid on the wall behind the counter.

The tables he made are so sturdy they can be used as seats too.

I love the table. We can’t have a glass table down on this deck, the wind is wicked strong, it would either be in Parrot Tree or shattered.

Fabulous views and some afternoon sun protection.

I’m quite pleased that we are getting all of this stuff done, my honey do list was stagnant and it was pissing me off. Our whole house needs repainted, inside but especially out. The sun is a killer on paint down here, it’s only been 3 years and the paint looks like crap.

Good lord, I love these dogs. Max (l) and Barrio

Max is on the table, Highway is doing his lap dog thing.

Bill had a small bag of Cheetos, the dogs were starving to death, as you can see.

Tres hermanos

Whoa, serious blues.

They must want my wine.

5 dog protection. Nobody, 2 legs or 4, gets by these dogs. Highway is a flipping idiot. When he barks it sounds like all 3 Stooges making their weird woop woop woops all mixed together. I HATE IT! Not a man, child, watusa, dog, duck, cat or motorcycle/car/truck gets by these guys. They are freaking relentless. It’s why Highway sleeps inside at night. Much easier than getting up 10 times screaming, shut the hell up, during the night.

Look at these boys, Barrio, Max and Gringo on the steps. They do a few laps several times a day. Max runs and jumps in. Do they know they are brothers?

Mr. Gringo, he thinks it’s a big water dish.

Bill went to Diane’s to check some measurements at her home that is under construction. It is in Politilly, not far from where Alexi’s family lives. (Glad he doesn’t live there anymore). Bill stopped to see Osman and Ephrain. (Alexi said Ephrain’s name has an N, not a M on the end). I stand corrected.

Osman (l) Alexi’s nephew and Ephrain, Alexi’s brother. They adore Bill and throw themselves on him. They get no attention from anyone, no father figure at all, no male in their lives, no mother either, really.

Odd looking Hummingbird. Mr. Anole crawls right up, doesn’t matter if there are Hummers there or not.

The other night the dogs had just eaten and were outside playing when all of a sudden they went bat-shit crazy. I could tell by the sound of Highway’s bark that he was jumping up in the air with every bark. I went down to the pool deck to see what was going on and the neighbor boy, Eddy was outside the fence. Eddy lives with several family members in the colonia below us. His Mother is not one of them, she lives in Coxen Hole, 30 minutes west of here. His grandparents are poor and do not treat any of the boys well. The 6 and 8 year olds come up here barefoot with machetes chopping firewood. Eddy is the oldest, 15 years old, he works every day as an unpaid bag boy at Eldon’s, the only money he makes is from tips. Weekdays he only works until noon, then he goes to a school to learn tourism. It costs him 2000 ($85.00) lempira a month for school, plus he has to pay for his transportation to and from school and work every day. Tonight he came up here very upset, he wanted to talk to Bill. His grandparents said he has to quit school and work full time because they need the money. We are pushing for him to stay in school, his future is grim if he stops going. It’s so sad to see a young boy in this situation. He’s another soul who gets no attention from anyone. No parental figures in this young boy’s life. WTH is up with the mother, why does she not see her child? How can she do that? I’m not judging, I just have serious questions. Sometimes it’s so hard to wrap your brain around things that you see. We will try to help Eddy and keep him in school, if we can. Ultimately, it’s not our decision.

Alexi is doing well, he’s here on his days off from the Bomberos, either working / hanging out and falling in the pool on occasion.

Mr. Muscle laying in the sun after he “fell” in the pool after cleaning it. He’s using his phone for eyeshade, this was before I gave him glasses.

He has to go to the mainland for the month of August, if he does well there he will hopefully become a paid Bombero. (firefighter/rescue) Currently, we are his only income.

We are so proud that he received this.

Our friends Kevin and Pam brought 2 bags of nice t-shirts for us to pass out. We gave Alexi, Miguel and MoMo first choice, what was left I took to the station and gave to the Bomberos guys, It always makes Alexi look good to his peers when someone close to him donates to the team. Alexi on the L.

If (praying he does) he gets in he needs to buy his own uniform and boots and 20 white undershirts. WTH? 20? He said yes, that’s what they have to buy. We need to revisit that and have him talk to the boss, that seems excessive. Thursday he told me he needed a white single sheet  on Friday. I didn’t have one so I went to Mega Paca, no white sheets of any size. I wish he had told me before so I could have found one for him. The big General from the mainland is checking out the stations this weekend while he is here for the Bomberos competition on Saturday. Alexi is so funny, he was telling us he’s not even going to try to win the competition, he’ll enter but he’s just going to go slow and be chill. HAH! He plans to win that thing for sure. I was on his case all day, he loves the back and forth banter.

We had a conversation today about the amount of water he DOESN’T drink. I’m a water chugger, I drink minimum 90 oz a day. He drinks coke. Many times Alexi will come here and his legs hurt, he says they feel like he can’t stretch them out. I give him 2 ibuprofen and make him drink water. I told him one of the main reasons he’s getting these cramps is dehydration. He promised me he would drink more water. He also never wears sunglasses or a hat, except when he’s in uniform, then he must wear a hat. I had a pair of sunglasses with polarized lens that I bought but they weren’t prescription so I never wore them (not a clue why I bought them). Once I found them again (he actually told me where they were) I showed them to Alexi. He really liked them so I gave them to him. He couldn’t believe what it looked like when he put them on, he said colors were different. Umm, yeah, they are. I also bought him a dark pink (his favorite color, because some girl told him he looked good in pink, he does) t-shirt that says Fire and Rescue on it.

He LOVED it. He was showing Bill the glasses before he left and he said to Bill, “she loves me.” Bill said, “yeah she does.” I won’t get into the fact that he clogged our toilet and it overflowed all over the floor, thankful for concrete floors and for the fact he knew where everything was to clean up his mess. UGH. I wondered what the heck was taking so long.

Because We Care is proud to be associated with Live Again Ministry. These are groups of people from different churches in North Carolina who have fallen in love with Roatan and the people here. These wonderful people have chosen this island to bless with their love and kindness. This visit a few of the things they did were; donate water filtration buckets to 150 people in Esperanza and El Higuero, painted the inside of a school, painted a medical clinic, passed out toys and sandals and dresses, toy cars and trucks and lunches to children in Oak Ridge. I know they did many other things this visit but unfortunately, I’ve been housebound because we have a worker here. Bill’s busy, so that means I hang at the house.

Pastor Jim in the green, he led the group this visit. I’ve met him, his son Josh, Dave and John before. It’s so cool that they keep coming back several times a year.

These are Sawyer water filtration buckets. If maintained properly they will filter at least 250,000 gallons of water, making it potable. Maintenance is easy. If used properly, this could change lives, providing fresh drinking water to people who have been getting bottles of water from the stream.

Some of the many recipients

Milton is one of the children who lives in the same home that Eddy (who has to quit school) does. He’s one who comes here barefoot with a super sharp machete. He is so cute; a nice boy with not a snowball’s chance in hell to succeed in life.

Little girl with her new dress.

They were posing.

He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.

This is the inside of the school they painted. The teacher / principal picked the color.

Passing out gifts, dresses, toys and flip flops

Many thanks to the people from LAM, your smiles and open hearts are making a huge impact on the people of Roatan.

I took one of my 5 dogs to the vet on Wednesday. Barrio’s been digging his ears a lot. The vet was doing a complicated repair surgery so I waited and chatted with other friends who were there. We sat in the same room as the vet doing the surgery, the operation was happening 3′ away. You can watch if you want, I do off and on. After about an hour of waiting I went to wipe the sweat off my face with my dress and realized I was still in my nightgown with a swimsuit top on underneath. Total island girl.

And here it is almost June. Class reunion in Penna. in September, trying to make flight arrangements has been ridiculous to say the least. There are very limited flights. In the time it takes me to get home I could have flown to Australia and back. Almost. Insanity.

Last pic is of my gorgeous granddaughter Alexah. She posted this on FB and said, Last day of middle school. Ever. 

How did she get so old?

And….I’m done. Peace out.

Equalize, equalize, equalize. My new mantra.

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

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

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

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

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She carries her rope with her tail.

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

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

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

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I saw this on my way home.

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

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Chris and I on the roof

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Bill and Jimmy and Highway and Max

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

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Dozens of pairs of shorts

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Jerseys of every color

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

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

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

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Checking out their gear.

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

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

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

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The uniforms made the day for these boys.

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

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

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

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I love seeing girls playing soccer!

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Their bleachers

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

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

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

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

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

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Beautiful sponges

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

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Love the blue color

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Caroline took this of me

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Sea fan

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

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

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

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Ernesto also spotted these cleaner shrimps. So cool.

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They attach themselves to whatever needs cleaned.

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A Nassau Grouper

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

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

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Stunning blue sponges

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Coral

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This was huge, over 3′ tall

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There is something down in this one also.

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill and I, thanks Keri for the photos.

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

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

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

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

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I sat on the porch and squeezed them all.

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So juicy

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Picture perfect

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

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I filled up 4 ice cube trays with lime juice.

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

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

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

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

Island style Christmas Magic

miracle

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

 

 

 

 

Doña Maria de la Luz

cross your path

10/08/2015 Yesterday morning Carmen and Marilyn were dropped off at my house by Alex, we loaded up the car, sprayed more bug repellent on us on top of the already sprayed bug repellent (I mean, we were jungle bound), Marilyn and I loaded our walking sticks into my car and we set off to meet Nidia at the Roatan Culture Village. We were going to see Doña Maria, the lady we went to see last week but she wasn’t home. I had a bag of stuff for her, shampoo, creme rinse, body soap, air freshener, some plastic cups, laundry and dish soap and some dish scrubbers, plus a used pair (new condition) of Keen sandals for her. Nidia had some flip flops and 3 dresses for her too. She had also asked for some black water dye because she wanted to color her hair. However, she was in for a big surprise. Nidia had arranged for her to get her hair done at Sophiestication Salon and Spa in Coxen Hole. They graciously said they would give her a hair color and cut and mani, pedi for free.

The walk in to her place is challenging in the beginning because there are some very steep, uneven steps carved into the side of the hill. I was so grateful for the walking stick Bill made me that morning, it makes up for not having 2 good knees.

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I didn’t even notice this tunnel the first time I went there. Nidia said it doesn’t go back very far.

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Painting on a twig wall

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Part of the old Culture Village, the bar area was quite large. Love the stools!

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This place must have been amazing.

We  made it to her house, obviously earlier than she had expected us. She was stoking the fire in her mud oven when we arrived. We started getting out the goodies we had for her and showing her what we brought.

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Here she has on her Keen sandals. They will be great for her walking through the jungle to the spring to get water.

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You can’t help but fall in love with her, what a sweet lady.

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This is what her hair looked like before her salon treatment and she is modeling a new dress.

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Nidia and Marilyn with her.

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She was husking corn and said she wanted a corn grinder to make her own corn meal or flour.

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Her broom

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Marilyn with Doña Maria

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Shoe tree

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Entrance to her bedroom. Her new cups and shampoo and creme rinse are on her shelf. The orange bag has her 3 new dresses in it, new  shoes in the black plastic bag.

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Her kitchen. This makes me realize so much about the excess that many people live with, thinking it gives them a better life. It does not.

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She went in and changed before we walked down the hill to my car, bound for the beauty shop.

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Marilyn and Carmen, obviously I didn’t get the blue memo.

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Even more obvious that I got no memo when she changed into blue also. She lost the lock for her front door and ties it closed now. I need to get her a new lock.

We were ready to go to town and she led us off the mountain. At one point I yelled to Nidia, “Why is she running?” She moved so fast down that path and when it came to the stairs I think she jogged down them. I remarked to Marilyn about it and Marilyn tried to make it sound reasonable that she did it so easily because of a lower center of gravity. Yeah, maybe that’s it. We got her buckled in the front seat and off we went to Sophiestication Salon at Plaza Mar.

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She seemed slightly overwhelmed at first. Rightfully so, she was in a room surrounded by mirrors and all she saw was herself.

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They were getting ready to do her hair so the 4 of us went shopping again. Marilyn and Carmen got her metal forks and spoons, a new knife (her old one was so dull Marilyn said you could fall on it), coca cola, meat and cheese, sugar and a container to keep it in, a ladle and some condiments. Remember, she has no electricity or running water. I got her some beans, corn flour, bread, rolls, clothespins and clothesline and a few other things.

We took that stuff to the car and went back to see how she was doing.

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Her hair had all the color on it and they were giving her a pedicure. Look at her expression. Priceless.

Remember, this woman lives in the jungle, she doesn’t even own a mirror, let alone beauty products. Despite the fact that she is probably in the sun much of the day she has exquisite skin, especially for a lady her age.

Marilyn and Carmen and I went to Super Islena looking for a corn grinder and a bucket with a lid. No corn grinder in the several places we looked but Carmen did find a nice lidded bucket to keep the rats out of her beans and flour. We went back to the salon and her hair was being combed out and straightened. SHE LOOKED LIKE A DIFFERENT WOMAN.

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Getting her nails done

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Marilyn admiring our new friend.

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The ladies at Sophiestication Salon worked miracles that morning.

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Just beautiful.

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With the lovely ladies from Sophiestication Salon.

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The transformation

This is the real shocker though, what a change in her looks. She was so thrilled.

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Just as we were getting ready to leave Plaza Mar it started raining. We got into the car quickly so she didn’t get her new hairdo wet. This time Nidia took us in a different way (so thankful for my AWD Outlander) since it was raining and we had lots more stuff to carry for her.

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Guard shack

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Carmen blazing the trail and lugging a bag of goodies

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Marilyn with Coke and Nidia and Doña Maria behind her. Sorry it’s blurry, I was moving..

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A house on the way, lower level is mud walls.

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Nidia helping get her hair tied up so it doesn’t get wet.

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Marilyn putting her sugar in the critter proof container.  Doña Maria was so excited that we got her more things. We showed her everything and she kept thanking us. It really made for a fabulous day for this sweet lady.

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Nidia and Marilyn helping her to bend over so they could do her hair in a top knot on top of her head.

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Perfect!

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The 4 of us, Doña Maria has her hair covered with a towel

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She took the towel off for this photo.

She was so upset that she couldn’t offer us anything. She wanted to make us tortillas but we showed up earlier than she expected. She must have apologized to Nidia about it several times. It really amazes me that she was so worried about giving us something; she has no idea that she already did, something way better than any tortilla ever could be. Just the experience of spending a day with this amazing woman was so exhilarating. It made me realize that the fact that my kitchen isn’t done is not really a big deal, that no door yet on my pantry is insignificant. She has so little and is so happy.

We also found out that in the 8 years she has been on the island (she came from Olanchito on the mainland with her son and his wife, they were allowed to build a “house” on the land in exchange for being caretakers, his wife must be gone and her son is only there sporadically) she has never been to the east end of Roatan. We plan to take her on a day trip, maybe a boat ride, get her out and away from the jungle so she too can experience the beauty of this island.

Meeting Nidia has changed my whole path on this island. She gives of herself everyday to so many people, she gives her time, her energy and her love. If she needs to raise money for something she does it, with the goal clearly set in her sights. Nothing stops her, no person is insignificant in her eyes. She does so much for the children and the seniors on this island that just being with her has made me a better person. Now I get to share Nidia with my friends, Carmen and Marilyn. They have joined me on several events that Nidia has taken me to. I can’t imagine better people to hang out with and to help Nidia do what she does best, helping those who need help.

After we left Doña Maria we dropped Nidia off at her store and stopped at the new liquor store in town. We each bought a few bottles of wine and sampled some Bailey’s Dulch de Leche, ohmyyummy!! Dangerous stuff. By the time we left there it was POURING. We got soaked just getting in the car. We stopped in Los Fuertes and Marilyn found the corn grinder for Doña Maria in one of the stores. And we got more soaked. By the time we got to French Harbor the rain had subsided so we decided to drag our soggy semi muddy selves into Herbie’s for some lunch. We had a “fried” lunch and drinks and then headed back to Oak Ridge, where I dropped Marilyn and Carmen off. Alex was coming in the boat to get them and whisk them home.

Such a simply fabulous day with 3 fabulous ladies and sweet Doña Maria. Nidia, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of what you do. I love you lots and look forward to more adventures!

****Just a side note: We are looking for donations for the Christmas party for the children. We need to buy about 1000 gifts and then get food and drinks for the parties and some Piñatas for the games. In the past, Because We Care did a food drive and supplied bags of food for the parents and toys for the kids right before the holidays. Last year it was evident that things were taking a negative turn. People were not thankful for what they were given, they were angry because they expected more or different or better. Because We Care works very hard to raise the money for these events and to finish weeks of driving all over the island and passing out things to some (not all) ungrateful people takes a lot of the fun out of it.

This year it’s just about the kids, that’s it. Santa will be available to pass out gifts to all the kids and if we can raise enough $$ we will throw a party for the kids on each end of the island. (The majority of the people we help have no cars or means of transportation). If you are interested in donating please email me @  ledfutt@gmail.com. I guarantee every cent goes to the kids on this island. 

Thank you.

Finding your tribe

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10/07/2015  ** ANYTHING IN BOLD ITALICS IS A LINK, BE BRAVE AND CLICK IT FOR SOME FUN

Another Friday, another afternoon at BJ’s with my new personally set limits. We took Maxillicious with us because he has been aggressive with the other 2 boys. Can you say TOO MUCH TESTOSTERONE?? He was so good I was amazed. He just laid on the floor and watched the people, he didn’t bark or jump up on anyone, he acted like a well trained dog. Marilyn and I discussed plans for the next night even though Carmen and Brett weren’t there.

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Max, sniffing for treats

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Not a lap dog

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But he’s my sweetie and I hold him anyhow

Saturday evening was the second Because We Care concert to raise $$ for Rehab  for Ursula and Frances. They are 2 ladies Nidia has known for a long time and is doing her best to get the money to ensure they complete treatment. The concert was downtown at the Juan Brooks School. We wanted to support Nidia in her efforts and we also wanted to be there to wish her Happy Birthday. We got there early and the concert was running late. Honduras. So we did what anyone else would do, we walked to the grocery, got beer and wine and drank in the car. Actually Bill and Alex went to get the booze, we sat and finished off the first bottle of wine with the music on and the door opened. Carmen had to pee so she found a dark corner of the parking lot to go. Unfortunately she peed on her new sandals because she peed crooked, the sandals were sparkly too. But that’s not why she peed on them. Just about the time Carmen went to pee, Nidia walked by. She had no idea we were there, it was really weird. We were happy to see her, she looked gorgeous, well, she is gorgeous. We had a few things for her birthday so we gave them to her there. I also handed her my half full orange (never done an orange Solo before, only red) Solo cup of wine. She informed us the concert was for drug rehab, not alcohol, we were cool. Not that we needed rehab or anything. We went to the concert and the guest singer, Ursula, the lady that was in rehab for drug addiction, was 2 hours late. TO HER OWN $$$ RAISING CONCERT, SHE WAS LATE. She was getting her nails done. Marilyn had a water bottle with wine in it (@ the Rehab concert) and Carmen had her own orange Solo cup.

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Our view from the back row

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Nidia, Ursula, Irenne and the guys in the band

I think at one point I had the cup, passed it back to Brett to give to Carmen and she proclaimed, “No, I’m too drunk and hungry to drink anymore”. {They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.} The lady in front of her turned and scowled, after all, we were at a Rehab concert. I walked out front to talk to Nidia and on the way back inside Marilyn and Alex were walking towards me, Alex came up and grabbed me and started swirling me around this parking lot that had crater size holes in it, dancing.  Yes, we were the only people dancing. I had on 3″ wedges for the first time in over 2 1/2 years, I could barely walk, let alone dance. It was wonderful.

It was getting late and none of us had eaten so we left the concert for Rehab b/c we were lacking sustainable nutrition with our wine. We went to Romeo’s, a fancy restaurant, for dinner. It sits on the water in French Harbor and my friend Connie and her husband own it. {She is the lady who started Cattleya school for the physically and mentally challenged students. I go there and help when I’m needed.} As soon as we got there Bill got a call from a neighbor who said our dogs were barking like crazy. We thought, oh well, there’s a rabbit..then our other neighbor calls, he’s 86 and deaf as a doorknob. He heard them too. He said he would walk up and then call us. He didn’t call so Bill called him and he was at our fence and the dogs were barking so loud they couldn’t talk. By this time we had our drinks and were deciding what to do.

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Brett sure is eyeing Bill’s beer

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The ever gorgeous Marilyn and Alex! What a couple..

We all placed our orders and five minutes later decided we have to get them “to go.” Right before our meals were ready to go we got another phone call that the dogs had stopped barking. Hmmmm. What does that mean?

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Obviously because Alex is absent from this photo, I was Marilyn’s love-sub. Alex was being a gentleman and getting the car and waiting, and waiting for us..No blame on the restaurant, we ordered a lot of food to go.

It means it’s time to pose for pics while we wait for our food to be done, then we jumped in the waiting car and came to our house.

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Carmen balancing the food, Brett balancing his beer. Love these 2.

The Beach Boys led by Highway were barking when we came up the hill but not that much. Frito was doing her f*cking seal impersonations, UGH. That drives me crazy. Seriously, she sounds like we have a Flock of Seals inside. {And the guy that was going to give her a new home said she doesn’t bark. OMG.} Anyhow, we get home, go upstairs with eleventy boxes of food, bag of ice, random beers and some wine that was diluted by ice cubes. The dogs were fine, the house was secure and they were barking BECAUSE THEY COULD. We weren’t here to stop them.

We all stood around our island and ate like a bunch of starved heathens. Once all of our bellies were full, we all wanted to lay down and sleep. Marilyn and Alex and Brett and Carmen still had a drive and a boat ride to get home. They’re like island pioneers, or maybe pirates, whatever.

Anyhow, a completely random, crazy stupid, disrupted evening turned out to be a blast.

The tribe has spoken. They were all voted in, they can stay.

 

Setting limits

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09/29/2015 It’s been another quiet week here. We are happy to be able to enjoy the roof with the dogs. They seem to think it’s free for all time up there and go a little crazy. Until we get the pergola built, we have to wait until the sun goes down some or else we’ll melt up there. Speaking of melting, it’s been stinking hot and humid here.

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The Beach Boys and their roadies

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Barrio

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Highway brandishing his teeth. It’s all show and they know it and lick his gums when he does that. Sometimes I wonder if they are like Highway’s dental floss servants or something. Like the Remora fish on turtles..whatever.

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Andee, it’s baaaacccck! Very useful carrying things to the roof, my favorite gift ever..Thank you.

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MMMM, very very cold Dos Equis with some limes and salt. It goes down way too well.

We decided since we had such a boringly normal week we would hit BJ’s on Friday. If you’re an ex-pat and not been to BJ’s, you’re missing out. BJ’s is a wooden building on the waterway in Oak Ridge. The building is nothing, the view is fabulous, boats coming and going, cruising by, people headed home when going by boat is the only way to get there. Like many of my friends, boat access only. With only water access, it’s a different way of life. We arrived at BJ’s around 1.

I happened to have a petition that was being circulated on the island to try to get a good cop returned; he was rotated to the mainland. I wanted to get some more sigs on it so I took it there. I was successful in many ways that afternoon.

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The Banditos, the guy on the far left was a tourist who got up to sing.

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BJ herself, enjoying the music.

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Larry in the hat and Kelly, a wanabee Larry in the matching shirt behind him.

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My friend Carmen singing with the band, she’s good!

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Peggy and Alex, didn’t get to hear Peggy sing!

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#3 wine down.

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Betty and BJ. All of the photos at BJ’s are courtesy of Marilyn Northagen Poirier.

So this is my story:

#1. They had white wine, even if it was served in a jelly glass. Thank you Marilyn, you rock and thank you for taking proper wine glasses to the bar for them to use. I had a jelly glass full of wine.

#2. I got a full page of signatures on the petition. I had another glass of wine in a wine glass.

#3. I think I may have had another glass of wine after Marilyn and I got some exceedingly good news that caused us to act out on the pier.

#4. I danced several times in my bare feet, it was fabulous. I had another glass of wine and was drinking Kelly’s drink also.

#5. I believe I may have also guzzled the last sip out of Marilyn’s glass at some point before we Bill decided it was a good idea to leave.

#6. May have made plans for a party at our house, which is fine, but I didn’t remember when it was for.

We got home before 4 PM and I drank a bottle of water and went to bed and slept until 9 PM. When I woke up I filled a bowl with lettuce, put grated cheese and dressing on it and ate it. For dinner. I then drank more water and could not go to sleep. It sucked because I had the airport gig the next day and obviously I drank too much wine on an empty stomach. I had already slept 5 hours. Ridiculousness.

I now have self imposed limits.

On Saturday I volunteered to fill in for one of the greeters at the airport. I always enjoy my time spent there, getting to meet new people and talk to them about the island; it’s a fun afternoon. My friend Kathy had just arrived back on the rock and decided to wait until I was done and then I would give her a ride to her boat. (She lives boat access only) We had a great day in immigration, it went smoothly despite the fact that 2 planes landed 10 minutes apart. I met lots of fun people and hopefully made them feel welcomed to the island.

Kathy and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and as soon as I walked in I saw people I had spoken with at the airport. They all said hello and a few aisles later I helped them pick out some booze for the week. I mean, obviously I would know this. I gave Kathy a ride to BJ’s and then came home w/ groceries for the party that we may be having. Only issue is that while at the store, my phone was dead. I always keep my grocery list on a program called KEEP on my phone. I could NOT access my list. I forgot shit.

That’s OK though because Bill had to go to ACE in the morning for something plus he was picking up primer for our other friends who were coming to dinner and live boat access only too. He stopped at the store and got what I forgot, which by the way was very minimal. AS IN, I remembered.

Sunday we busted our butts cleaning up around here, we were indeed having friends over. The house does get bad, there are things laying all over the kitchen island and the porch and house is a mess with dog stuff. BUT, when you have 6 dogs and a cat, you get special passes for hairy floors and hairy whiskers. It’s the hairy whiskers that get me all the time. Sunday was the eve of the blood moon and the lunar eclipse.

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Bill and I on the roof

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Brett, Alex and Bill

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Brett, the other half of Brett and Carmen

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Carmen, they are from South Dakota and now live here.

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They have an awesome water access home on the beach. Pretty sweet deal. I posted photos before of being at their place.

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Sunset over the North shore

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Sky over the south shore. All of these photos were also taken by Marilyn ..

We saw zip, zero, nada of the blood moon due to clouds. However, just when we thought all hope was gone, the clouds cleared away and we were treated to the eclipse. Of course, my camera was downstairs and I was ultimately too lazy to go get it. Just for the record, I only had 2 glasses of wine and then switched to water. A much better idea for me.

It was a fun evening up on the roof with great friends. It will be much nicer once we get it finished up there and have a few creature comforts..

On Tuesday I joined Nidia and her friend Lidia on a trek to go visit Doña Maria, who lives alone in the jungle. Nidia and Lidia had been to visit her not too long ago. She had a request for a few more items so we were going to deliver them. These photos of Doña Maria were taken when Nidia and Lidia went to see her.

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Peeling sugar cane with her machete

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Showing Nidia her church dress, she needs a new one.

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She also needs some new shoes.

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She LOVES Coke so they took her some and also some groceries.

We started our trek at the Roatan Culture Village, a place I never knew existed. It is an old resort that must have been pretty darn amazing in it’s day. We parked my car and walked through a gate and I was dumbfounded. There in the midst of the jungle is this eerily cool old resort. It is very run down, has had no visitors for some time.

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Roatan Culture Village, I’m not sure the name is really evocative of what went on here but it sounds educational.

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Huge old pool, there was also a kiddy pool off to the right.

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Lidia and Nidia

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Benches from a bygone era

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There was a pool (Billiards) hall, a dance hall and another small pool.

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Brightly painted benches

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A fabulous old building on the grounds

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The other pool with a submarine in it

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A good shot of the DEEPEST SUB TOUR @ 1/2 MOON BAY. I have been told this was made by Karl Stanley.

Karl Stanley (click on his name) lives on Roatan and he has done more for chronicling and capturing things below the sea than many who came before him. Marine Biologists from all over the world come here to go down in Idabel with Karl to 2000′ feet below the surface.  Check out his adventures here: https://fathomlessinnerspace.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/magical-mantas-and-pink-pyrozomes/

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The path to Doña Maria’s house

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Bridge # 2, wasn’t too bad.

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Welcome to the jungle

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This is the spring where Doña Maria comes to get water

We trudged all the way up to her house and she wasn’t home. Now, it’s not like she has a lot of places to go. She is 82 and lives in the middle of the jungle, alone. She has no electricity, no running water,no bathroom, no kitchen. She has a few neighbors further up the valley.

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Her mud oven, she is 82.

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Clothesline. Nidia said her son comes and stays with her every now and then, looks like she did his washing.

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Mud walls surround the mud oven

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This is her home. Her chickens live on the bottom floor and she lives above them.

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This is where she stores her dishes. She asked for a few plastic drinking glasses which we bought for her.

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She keeps the fire going all the time but gets it really burning when she is cooking.

We walked on up to her neighbors house but nobody was home there either.

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On the way to the neighbors

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This bridge was a little shaky

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The handrails were loose too

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Nidia was doing acrobatics on it

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Her neighbor’s home

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Blue tarp

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The back wall was all mud and sticks

Disappointed that Doña Maria was not there, we headed back down to my car. On the way we dropped the coke off at her house, kind of hid it as a surprise for her.

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We put it in the black bucket, I’m sure she will be thrilled when she sees it.

Our plans are to go another day, very soon. I bought her shampoo, cream rinse, soap, dish soap, laundry powder, toilet paper, some plastic glasses and a pair of used Keen shoes in great condition. Nidia has a few dresses and some slippers for her. Hopefully we’ll go soon! We didn’t leave the other things we got for her because we were afraid someone would happen by and take them so we will be going back and I will be taking a walking stick and wearing more bug spray for sure.

These last few photos are random shots so bear with me.

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My friend Kathy’s watchie took this photo of a snake in her yard. We all (ASS)umed it was a boa but turns out it is a rat snake. A big assed rat snake,

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Hello, I see you………………………..

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Yep, big assed snake

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Not to be outdone by Kathy and her big assed snake, Bill killed another Coral (poisonous) on our porch the other eve.

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Cactus growing out on my cactus

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weird

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Barrio and Highway, airing their stuff

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Facial deconstruction/reconstruction with eye removal

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More dried sweet potatoes

Brotherly love

Calling it a night. I organized 2 bags of dog collars after I got home from an early morning with Because We Care and CALM Ministries from Baton Rouge, LA. We passed out school supplies to 400 kids in Oak Ridge.

More on that later, didn’t feel it was appropriate with my confessions of too much wine..

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I wanted to nap, the Beach Boys wanted to party!