Leaving the rock

die

07/16/2015  When I posted the previous blog, I said that when I’m working at the airport, I welcome people to the island with a smile and say, “Welcome to Roatan.” Later that day I got a friend request from someone that I didn’t know. I vaguely remember getting a WordPress message that someone new was following my blog so I looked at the name and at the friend request and realized it was the same person, so I accepted her friend request. I then looked at Julies FB page and came across this poem written by her husband Robby Bennett and posted on June 25th. {posted with his permission}

It’s called, appropriately:

“Welcome to Roatan”

Ten years they spent dreaming and designing their plans
Out the door they walked, their entire existence in their hands
Another world they both longed to learn and explore
A new life they sought on some distant Caribbean shore.

The sun was just starting to show its light
Soon they’d be catching their dream flight
Anxious and nervous they stepped out of the cab
Their bags taken under arm as he pays their tab.

Checked in and passed security, they waited to board
Butterflies in their stomachs as the engine roared
The plane lifts up and into the sky they did roam
Another world they would both soon call home.

Nothing more than clouds and ocean below
The plane flew them where they wanted to go
Tears in their eyes as they glanced over the wing
As off in the distance their island could be seen.

They dropped through the clouds as the plane flew over the beach
Touching down as the engine slowed and the tires began to screech
The captain came over the speakers “Welcome to Roatan”
Ten years in the making they finally realized their plan.

Smiling faces greeted them as they exited the plane
Immediately they knew their plan was not in vain
No more worries or keeping up with the Joneses
A much simpler life with daily hammock dozes.

Listening to the melody of the waves and trade winds
Barbecuing the days’ catch or making new friends
Laughing and loving, living life like it was meant to be
Or sitting quietly, just the two of them down by the sea.

Lazy days, doing nothing or diving on the reef
An unreal world that seems totally make belief
But it’s their new life, exactly as they planned
Far away from old troubles, “Welcome to Roatan”.

Isn’t that an awesome poem? He should be marketing moving to Roatan, he expresses the feeling so perfectly.

I have since been in contact with Julie and she can’t believe I’m a greeter a the airport and that I say that to people. I look forward to meeting them!

I am never thrilled leaving the rock, really not. This time I was excited for the opportunity to see my parents and sister and to do some shopping but was not mentally prepared for what life in the US is all about.

The shoreline of Roatan is so gorgeous.

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The small island on the left with a dock is owned by my friend Milesse. It is a divers paradise, check out Barefoot Cay.

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French Harbor, where I lived when I was down here alone for 4 months.

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Little French Key (r) and Big French Key are the two islands in the bottom center.

I had a nice trip to the states, it was interesting to say the least;  I was flying on the day United’s computers crashed. again. My flight from here was 2 hours late making the connection in Houston next to impossible. We were landing at 6:45, my flight departed at 7:05. Fortunately we have Global and that allows me preferential treatment as opposed to waiting in the formidable lines for immigration. I cleared it in mere minutes and ran to the baggage carousel. I found out that my connecting flight to Baltimore was also delayed until 8:20. Hmmm, it’s possible I’ll make it. We are Premier Gold with United which means your bags get offloaded first (except in Roatan where they do not understand the word written on the tag that says PRIORITY) However in Houston I waited for 40 minutes; my bags did come out first after the four flights that came in before we did. The line through customs was at least 250 people long, no lie. Off to the right I saw a sign that said GLOBAL EXIT ONLY so I ran like hell with my cart with 2 suitcases on it to that line and there were 4 people in front of me. I re checked my bags and ran up the escalator to security. There was no Premier line, dammit!! I got in the regular line and when it was my turn to get in the full body scanner,  just as I stepped in the girl said, “Miss, can you please step out, WE HAVE TO RECALIBRATE THE MACHINE.” My brain was screaming, WHAT?? YOU NEED TO DO THIS NOW? I HAVE 7 fu*&%ng MINUTES. It took a few minutes to do, I went through, gathered my belongings and started to walk as fast as possible which wasn’t fast enough. I kicked off my flip flops, grabbed them and ran to the gate. I asked the ladies there if I made it and they said barely. Once I got on the plane there was a girl in MY SEAT. Oh no you don’t.. I said, you are in my seat, three times before she looked up from her phone. She said, I’m in 8F, I said, good because I am in 8A and you are in my seat. There was already someone in 8F and the 2 people in 8D and E were both ticketed to sit in the same seat, 8D. The girl in my seat said you can just sit in 8F and I said NO, I want my seat. Dammit to hell..They finally got that straightened out and I was in my seat and off to Baltimore, not arriving until 12:30 AM. Only 1 suitcase arrived, thankfully it was the full and not the empty one. I went in to the United agent who was super sweet and helpful. She looked it up and said, “it’s in Houston, TSA confiscated it.” WHAT? It’s empty except for an empty Samsonite nylon duffle bag.  She assumed that’s why it was taken and assured me it would be delivered to me in the Solomons on Friday. Luckily it was not a big deal to me, one less bag to haul for now.

My plan was to get a good nights sleep and then my friend from decades ago Bill Gross, who happened to be in MD at the same time (he is currently traveling the US) was going to pick me up for breakfast. I got to my hotel after 1 and crashed. I told Bill that I would call when I woke up and then he could come get me. I was aroused from the sleep of the dead at 8:30 by my cell phone ringing. I jumped out of bed and grabbed it, knowing it would be Bill. I was still mentally in a different time zone and wondered WTH he was calling so early, until I glanced at the clock. Holy shit, 8:30. I asked him how long it would take him to get here and he said, “I’m here.” Alrighty then, quickest shower in history, reloaded my suitcase and was out the door. We went to Crackerbarrel for breakfast and to rehash the many years that have passed. Funny, didn’t seem like that long since I had last seen him.

We spent a few hours chatting then he took me to BWI car rental where I picked up my illegally?? driven car for the week. Since my parents live 90 min. from BWI, I have no other options than to rent a car and use my credit card as the only insurance. The rental company never asked if I had insurance either. I do however have a legal US drivers license.

From there I drove to the Potomac Mill outlet in Woodbridge, VA. I had my heart set on a Vera Bradley backpack.

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The outlet mall is ginormous, I had a difficult time finding the store. Once I stepped in the mall I was overcome by the sights and sounds and people, swarms of them, everyfreakingwhere.

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I was elated when I saw the Vera Bradley sign and almost ran to the store. I was overcome with all the colors and patterns and sizes and styles and zippers and choices. The only pack I could decide on was black and that defeated the whole purpose, so I left. It was too much for me.

From there I drove back up towards Baltimore and then down to my parents. I was so glad to get out of the car! When I walked in their house they invited me into their “warehouse.” My room filled with boxes. All Amazon.com.

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This isn’t all of it, things were delivered for several days.

Just a few pics from Asbury in the Solomon’s, MD. The grounds are nicely maintained but that’s about the only positive thing I can say abut the “retirement village” they are living in.

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their back yard

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Their sun porch where they spend most of the time.

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Osprey nest, Solomon’s Pier

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Mama Osprey

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Guarding the baby birds

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Asbury Solomon’s buildings

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On the Patuxent River

Not going to go into the reasons we are displeased with the place they live, it’s too depressing. BUT, on the flip side, my parents are doing quite well considering Mom turns 90 on August 1st and Dad is 94. They both still drive, not a great distance but they are mobile. It’s always an adventure going to visit them and this time was no different. I find it exhausting changing your daily lifestyle for a week, but worth it in the end.

More on that and my revelation that I had while in Marshall’s in Lexington, Md. It was kind of an epic event for this shopper girl. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

The rest of the story…..

 

meds

06/28/2015   I started this on 6/24 but somehow it’s 4 days later. I have no idea what happened to those 4 days.

Wednesday night was a night from hell. OMG, the thunder and lightning shook this place. It was booming. I got up around 2 and checked on the pups and dogs and they were sleeping and not getting wet. Rain was pouring in all of the windows so we closed them and went back to bed. Around 2:49 there was a vicious rumbling crack and a flash instantaneously. That sucker was close. I fumbled my way to the door and all the dogs wanted in. YAY. That means:

1. blocking off the stairway so Lola can’t go down and eat the kitty roca, it keeps Luck downstairs and still gives Ems room to slink by and go down to potty. Close bedroom door.

2. grabbing the bathroom rug, the cord for the hair dryer and any and all shoes, baskets laying on the floor and relocating them.

3. Laying newspapers down so they may be inclined to pee on them. One did pee but then they instead decided on a night time gig of making confetti from newspapers. They are good.

4. Attempt to go back to sleep. I succeeded, Bill did not. I awoke to newspaper confetti ALL OVER THE FLOOR, some of it had been peed on. I somehow managed to take the pups outside, I do not remember doing this. I then went back to bed. Bill got up a bit later and fed the pups. When I awoke the second time the reality of the flipping mess awaiting me smacked me right in the face. I freaked immediately b/c there was a pee puddle and the inside of it was red. My immediate over the top thought was blood in one of the pups urine. Which pup? Max the one who was ill but is crazy good now. I was sick to my stomach in an instant and went to clean it up when I realized that what I assumed was blood was indeed a piece of freshly made red confetti, made flat by the copius amounts of dog urine on it. BASTARDS. The weather has been crap all day, rain, thunder, dogs in, dogs out, dogs finding gross lizard tails in the house.  If  you don’t want to be grossed out, scroll fast, it’s ugly.

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yeah, I know disgusting, but hey, it’s reality down here.

Yep, another glorious day with dogs inside.

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1 big, 2 small puppies

So, I digress. Back to our company. I realized I failed to add any photos from our sun day at Parrot tree.

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Beauty surrounds you

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The Lagoon, Highways #1 favorite place

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On the point

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Jen

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Pool

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Jen at the lagoon

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Kathy at the lagoon

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Reading on the ‘bed’

Thursday we had PLANNED to go to Havana Beach club for an afternoon swim, some drinks, etc. On the way there, we stopped and got SOME MORE MANGOES from our friends!! So lucky, they were delicious!

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Sweet as candy.

We drove on down to Havana where we always pay the $2.50 US, [L 50] per person to get in and use a lounge chair (most of which are torn to the extent that they are useless.)

At the entrance we were told the fee to use the beach and facilities was $10.00 US per person, no way Jose, so not worth it. We left and drove 5 minute further to Turquoise Bay and they were delightful. N0 admittance charge, their lounges are new and have cushions, they have excellent drinks and they welcomed our business. I will be a repeat visitor there for sure. They also have kayaks to rent and Subway water sports is located there, should you want to dive or snorkel. Beyond beautiful.

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Jen reading, me dreaming (sleeping)

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Bill sleeping too

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Deserted beach, we can see the little island in front of the beach (not pictured) from our house.

We had sandwiches with us so we ate them and got drinks from the bar.

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MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMonkey La La

Monkey LaLa is:

1 oz Baileys 1 oz Kahlua 1/2 oz Vodka 1/2 oz Rum 2 oz cream of coconut splash of milk or cream, blend in a blender filled with ice. Add decorative squirts of chocolate syrup on the top, Viola’

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Jen and Kathy shelling

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Cool Spotted Ray 3-D art on the wall separating the next property

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Boat tied to dock

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Nice walkway out to the palapa, complete with non-torn chairs and even chair pads

Nice way to spend the afternoon. When we got home we were beat again, picked at a meal and watched a movie.

Friday was a no cruise ship day so we were off to West Bay Beach again for some sun and fun. Instead of going to Banarama we were going to Grand Roatan. On the way we made a stop at South Shore Canopy. It was the first zip-line I did on the island with Olivia in 2010 and it was Jen’s first zip-line ever! If was just as fun, we had 2 young guys, were the only people on the lines, no waiting.  Jen won’t forget this one, zipping though the trees upside down, pretty euphoric feeling. They bounced us too which an unusual experience. I much prefer going like hell, with the wind at my face, hoping they can body check me on the platform if I’m coming in too fast. It’s been done. It was a fun zip, enjoyed being the one to accompany Jen on her second “first”.  I failed to mention, that when Jen and I snorkeled on Monday it was her first time snorkeling, she was a pro right away. No hesitation, just lets go!

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I love this girl, she is ready for anything you want to do. No fear!!

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Before flight, Jen and Kathy

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Yes, I knew we were coming yet still wore a dress (beach cover-up w/ suit under)

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FLYING

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upside down

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yeah yeah yeah

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Superwoman

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Yep, she loved it.

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Yep, flew upside down

 

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bridge below

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it really is fun to fly across the top of the jungle..wish I could do it for hours.

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She’s got a monkey in her back

Jen loved zip-lining!! After that we were off to the beach. I won’t mention the stupid tiny cone  @ Grand Roatan that was in the middle of the entrance and maybe 6″ high. The security guard found no humor in the fact that I drove over it. Of course I did, you can’t see it. I asked if it was a trick. duh. He didn’t think that was funny either.

So we’re hanging at Grand Roatan for the afternoon, the waiters there are always really polite and chill if you say you’re going to snorkel and then eat,no worries..NO $10.00 FEE TO ENTER EITHER. We all got some H2O to drink then Jen and I went to snorkel a bit. We were going to attempt to go along Black Rock. Yeah, right, I always drift east of it and end up out there. We were pretty far out there snorkeling around for some time and were a good distance from shore so we started swimming back. We experienced quite a few changes in the water temperature, nice and warm at 80+ then it felt like 60 for a minute or two, then warm again. Different currents. I love the ocean.

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Parrot fish

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Jenny fish

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fish in the coral

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seascape

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under the sea

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Tangs

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coral

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I believe this is lobed star coral

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I don’t know what kind of fish these are but there were hundreds of them. If I swam into the school they dispersed around me, never touching me. So amazing,

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so many fish

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A big grouper

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Striped fish are Sergeant Majors, not sure what others are.

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Tang

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First lobster I’ve ever seen in West Bay

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Maybe a Queen Parrotfish?

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Yep, she loves it.

We got out and had lunch at Grand Roatan (part of the deal to be allowed to use their tables but not the chaise lounges. Said I wasn’t going there again but did..easy entrance to where I want to be on the reef. ) After lunch we went out again and swam through their designated channel out to the reef. MY GAWD it was fabulously beautiful. We had a great snorkel and saw an abundance of fish. This makes me happy because the coral in this particular area has been hit hard from over tourism, it’s sad, ..good there are fish, wish people would STOP FEEDING THEM. They’re NOT YOUR PETS. DAMMIT! STOP WITH THE FOOD. Anyhow, here are some shots.

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Parrotfish

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Queen Angelfish

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Deep channel we swam through

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I love my Olympus TG 3 camera, it captured these cleaner goby fish so vividly.

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coral and the sea floor

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Another Mermaid is born…

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Coral

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close up of the coral

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Beautiful sea fan

It was a great day snorkeling, I know Jen really enjoyed herself and even mentioned she may want to get certified to dive. We meandered on home and Bill had dinner almost ready. By the time we had all showered the meal was waiting to be eaten.

Kathy and Jen had some packing to do and we just kind of hung out with the pups for the evening. There is no more putting them in their super huge crate in the living room, they crawl right out.

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Barrio escapes

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He thinks he’s cool

Saturday morning before we left for the airport I noticed Kathy’s Vera Bradley beach tote laying on the counter, didn’t think too much about it, they were packing and all.

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Gorgeous!! Jen had one also with a different design, and a Vera packpack, bag and matching wallet..

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Kathy decided she was leaving her brand new beach bag for me. How sweet was that? I love it so much I’m afraid to use it.

My beach bag looks like this:

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It’s a KEEN, made out of rice bags. Bought it in 2009/2010. It said, KEEP AWAY FROM WATER.

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Bad shape

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I should have been ashamed to even use it

We ran a few errands in Coxen Hole on Saturday morning before we took them to the airport. When we got there we found out their flight was late arriving, in fact, it left Atlanta very late. We got them checked in and hung around talking to people that we knew. While there Kevin called to see if we were home, they wanted to come get Tank. Bill told him we would call when we got home. Finally, at the time their flight was scheduled to depart it landed. This meant an hour turn around at least. At that point, we decided to say our good byes and headed home. We called Kevin and Claire and they came right over. I was crying before they got here and cried when they were leaving.

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My Tank, love this boy so much.

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What a dude

I know Tank has a good home with them but he was such a special boy, we loved him so. After spending pretty much every minute with a pup for 9 weeks, it creates an unbelievable bond. These pups were {and still are} a lot of work but I wouldn’t trade them for anything..

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Kathy on the roof. We are finally getting rails in the “waves” so people don’t fall off. They have been ordered.

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Jen loved it up here, she came up most evenings to enjoy the wind and the evening sky.

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Drying the wet soggy toys

Kathy and Jen brought us down some stuff we had ordered on Amazon, YAY, the truck windows all work again!!! Now if I could get headlights for my car I would be very happy! Kathy bought me a gorgeous Mermaid lamp, in fact, the story is, they had one in the store where she works and when she saw it she thought of me and my love for mermaids, but someone bought it. Quite some time later another employee found another one they didn’t even know they had. Kathy felt it was an omen for her to come visit.

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This is it plugged in daytime..

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This is at night

It’s really gorgeous. I am keeping it safe until Bill builds the entertainment center and it will have it’s own special protected spot to be. Love love love this..I’m thinking about asking Trace to paint it, I think it would be magical…What do you guys think??

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And then Jen gives me this Alex and Ani Mermaid bracelet. I beyond love it.

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The bracelet

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Kathy made me this and it is the perfect colors to wear with my Mermaid bracelet.

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Kathy also made me dishcloths. These are near and dear to my heart.

Bill’s Mother used to make me these dishcloths and extra thick pot holders. They are my favorites, there are no better. Several friends have made or bought me the handmade dishcloths and I cherish them, as I do these!

So this post, yeah, I’m done, burned out on it. It’s been a rainy shitty weekend  and I don’t remember much of the past week except Sunday, which I will post about later.

Trace said it was going to be 100 in Washington this weekend, he went climbing, alone… It was cool out, actually comfortable and thundering and lightning here. I’ll take 100. And a beach.

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Final pic, this was was on my sink scrubbing brush the other morning. Bill removed him for me…

Movies I have recently watched, some older, some new.

Cake, Wild, The Theory of Everything, Big Eyes, Birdman, The Age of Adaline, Still Alice, The Hundred Foot Journey, Gone Girl

Recent TV (Netflix) binge: BLOODLINE