Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

All of us at Ola Lola's wish you and yours a very happy new year filled will peace, love, joy and prosperity. May 2010 be your best year ever!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas breakfast with Kennedy

and her Ama, Mama and Miguel. This is serious stuff!

Merry Christmas, everybody. Be safe and warm.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

This Christmas Eve

One of the things (for me at least) about living on a tropical island is that it is difficult to get in the mood for Christmas. And this year has been a very quiet, laid-back Christmas season, especially by Puerto Rican standards. As I wrote in my last post, being from the North, that whole white Christmas thing is pretty much imprinted in my DNA. So, no matter how many Santas in red trimmed with white fur(!) or how many inflatable snowmen (we have one in front of Ola Lola's) there are, it just doesn't feel like Christmas.

That said, Christmas isn't really about presents or snow or shopping or music or even the birth of Jesus for that matter. It's really about family and friends and love and peace and joy and the fading away of an old year and the promise and renewal of a fresh new year - the same things this winter solstice season has been about since hundreds of years before Jesus.

Even though we are many miles away from many of our friends and most of our family, we still feel very connected. Despite the miles between us, we love them and are loved in return. And of course, Elaine and I are here together, sharing this great adventure. Tonight we had the now-traditional Christmas Eve Chinese take-out dinner with Amy, Miguel and Kennedy, so we are sharing the holiday with family. To the rest of our big extended family out there, we love you and miss you. We hope wherever you are tonight, you are warm and safe and full of joy. Merry Christmas to all, and to a good night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12th day of Christmas - nostalgia

On the twelfth day of Christmas - I posted a new blog!

We get asked a lot if we miss the cold and the snow we left behind in Michigan (as in the photo above of the park in downtown Kalamazoo, MI at Christmas time). My stock answer is "Maybe someday but this isn't the day."

This time of year I don't so much miss it as I get nostalgic for it. Most of our Christmas traditions are of Northern European origin, transplanted to North America. The dream of a white Christmas is almost imprinted in our DNA. The magic of the ever-green pine tree - the symbol of life continuing through the cold and dark of winter and the promise of its return in the spring - is an integral part of a norther winter. Back in Michigan we used to put up our Christmas tree around the first of December and didn't take it down until at least Valentine's Day, often later.

I never minded the cold. Yes, I get nostalgic for my sweaters. I used to have 25 or 30. Did I need so many sweaters? Of course not. But I love(d) sweaters! By mid-September (when the temps in Michigan are still often in the high-70s or low-80s) I started looking forward to "sweater weather." But I miss much less than I thought I would. The other day I found two that I brought with me and and I thought, "What was I thinking?" Yes, I get nostalgic about sitting in front of a fire in the fireplace sipping a "butter nipple" (Bailey's and butterscotch schnapps), watching the snow fall outside our window. I didn't move to the tropics to "escape" the cold, but I don't "miss" doing those things.

I loved the look of the light from Christmas rope lights I put under the railing of our deck falling on fresh snow. I miss cross-country skiing, but then I missed that in the years in Michigan that we had too little snow or too much snow or too little time. If I miss anything about snow, it is the postcard or Christmas card look of a fresh snowfall.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold in the north but sunny here

Our niece Kenzie escaped the north just in time, just a head of the first big storm of the winter. She showed up at our door (at 4:30 am!) on Monday. (If you notice a family resemblence, yes, Kenzie is Jordan's sister.) For now she's staying with Amy and Miguel and Kennedy and enjoying the sunshine. She's gonna be hangin' out on the island for a couple of weeks. She'll be at Ola Lola's off and on. Stop by and say howdy. Welcome, Kenzie. Have fun!

And for all our friends and family in the frigid north, we feel your pain. Well, not really - but we do remember it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

So what kind of bar are we?

Sometimes we're a surfer bar (Zan and her longboard in her sports car - not exactly the surfride of choice). Sometimes we're a dive bar (we talk about SCUBA diving a lot). Sometimes we're the "19th Hole" golf bar.

Sometimes we're a cowboy bar (what's a horse gotta do to get a beer in this place?).

We're always a great local place-to-hangout-and-chill neighborhood bar. And in the last year we've become known as a great local restaurant. (Our new friends Skip and Jane came to the island this weekend for a golf outing at Royal Isabel Golf Club. They were in Newark airport chatting with some folks. When their conversation partners heard Skip and Jane were coming to Isabela, they told them "Oh! There's this great little bar you have to go to! It's called Ola Lola's! They've got great burgers!")

Yesterday we entered a new phase: We became a biker bar! Our friend Jose brought a bunch of his friends on a ride from San Juan and they specifically came to Isabela to come to Ola Lola's. Awesome! Thank you, Jose - and everybody - for coming by. We had a great time.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Night dive

The ocean has finally cleaned up enough to make diving a fun idea. Darryl, John D. and I went night diving at Natural last night. It was beautiful! We saw shrimp, a big hawksbill turtle sleeping under a coral, lots of sleeping parrotfish, two good-sized moray eels, starfish, half-a-dozen reef squid and a really cool something else I haven't identified yet.

As we swam out in the dark to the "drop zone," I remarked that Elaine was going to ride Chocolate on the beach under the full moon. John responded, "That's crazy!" To which Darryl replied, "Well, think about we're doing." We all laughed, then dropped into the darkness and toward the sandy bottom 35 feet below us.

One of the most popular tourist activities on the island is to swim in the "bio-luminescent bays" at La Parguera and Fajardo. Swimming or just about any movement in the water for that matter, triggers these little creatures to give off light. It's like being surrounded by fireflies under water. Although La Parguera and Farjado are the most popular sites, you can see bioluminescence in many places. We could see the creatures just by looking in the water around our fins as we swam out. At one point in our dive we stopped and turned off our lights so we could wave our arms and watch them glow. Wow. Hey, just another one of the attractions of night diving!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mary's (and John's) Birthday

On Saturday we had a "Surprise - it's not really your birthday" party for Mary Scott. We planned a little surprise party for her on her birthday, which was actually the Monday before. However, the surprise was on us: Mary was in New York! So we had a great time in her honor. Then on Saturday, we actually got to celebrate with her. We gave Mary the sombrero because - as the guest of honor - she deserved the biggest hat. All the rest of us wore hats too (supplied by Lacy), but somewhat smaller ones. A special Motown (Mary's favorite) mix of tunes was the music of the evening, including some songs like "My Girl" with lyrics rewritten especially for Mary.

And, to add to the Saturday celebration we also surprised our friend, John Delametter whose birthday was two days later. John got to wear the sombrego while he was lauded with "Happy Birthday" and "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" with lyrics written by Elaine especially for him. Everyone did a lot of laughing and helping to sing along. And, of course, there was yummy birthday cake. Evenings like that bring so many smiles to Ola Lola's. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Just a couple of photos from Thanksgiving at Marisol and JR's house. I hope we don't ever get so blasé that we take parties like this one for granted. We had amazing good food and we have amazing good friends. It is always such a good time getting together at their house. Thank you, Marisol and JR for opening your home and your hearts for all of us.

In the Thanksgiving post I said there would be more to give thanks for so here comes another one. We are so grateful to Dr. Lamela and his wife Lilly for allowing us to keep Chocolate and Sahara on their property. They had family staying in their house over the Thanksgiving weekend. Since people were in and out, we moved Sahara into a stall we built next to Ola Lola's and moved Chocolate on the other side of our house. It worked okay but shuffling the horses around reminded us of what a fantastic gift we have to be able to keep our horses safe and near. Thank you, Dr. Lamela!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. No matter where you are today, there is something to be thankful for.

Me, I am eternally grateful for my amazing wonderful beautiful wife Elaine (and she is grateful for the best guy in the universe, ME!); for our five amazing children; our three and 5/9ths grandchildren; for family even though they are spread from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest; for all our wonderful friends in all our "communities" - kites, horses,diving, neighbors, festivals, Ola Lola's; for our fabulous Vizslas Amber and Jazz; for the Chocolate and for the opportunity to help another (equine) being, Sahara; for the unbelievable gift of being able to live in a place like this, our home. Thank you, Universe. Thank you, Guardian Angels. Happy Thanksgiving.

Bj, Carrie, Steve, Angel, Alex, Amy, Kennedy, Miguel, Jason, Sara, Katie, Jill, Jason, Erin, Jonah, Jason, Jen, Savannah, Jason, Trudy, Marisol, JR, Armani, Kalani, Lisa, Kurt, George, Mary, Tito, Tito, Jim, Linda, Amy, Dan, Shawna, James, Annie, Phil, Julie, Nikki, Ryan, Kenzie, Jordan, Matt, Mary, Roger, Cathy, Gary, Ben, Annie, Jack, Maggie, David, Zan, Susan, Trevor, Jen, Jackie, Jess, Andy, Natassia, Michael, John, Darryl, Ann, Dan, Josh Zach, Elizabeth, Russ, Kate, Alex, Eric, Dorothy, Woody, Kathy, Paul, Scott, Sarah, Lacy, Mae, Albert, Ron, Tina, Stanley, Charlie, Pat, Charlie...more to come.

We are SO lucky - and SO grateful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sahara - Week Two

This morning, on the beach:

Today was the end of week two with Sahara. She and Chocolate are now total buds. She follows him like a shadow. Because the doctor who owns the property behind us where Chocolate and Sahara stay has family coming for the weekend, we built Sahara a little corral - okay, a biggish stall - in a corner of our yard. We can tie Chocolate on the other side (like we did the month or so until the fence got fixed) but Sahara isn't rope-trained yet. She gets all tangled up. And that's dangerous for her and for whoever goes in to free her. So tonight we put her in her new stall to feed her and get her used to it. It's right next to the barport so we put on the lights and the music so she can get used to that too. The whole hour-and-a-half or two hours she was gone, Chocolate snorted and ran around and nickered for her. When he's out of the yard, she stands at the gate and nickers for him. And we thought it was going to be hard for us to give her up! (Assuming of course we ever do decide to give her up.)

Sahara continues to improve. She's showing signs of filling out. Her ribs are less pronounced, the ridge above her eyes is filling in, and she's starting to get a butt. Her energy levels are getting better as well. She's friskier, brighter.

We had a couple of mishaps at feeding time this week. Bottom line, I got kicked twice. Neither time was especially hard but the second kick left a pretty good bruise on my thigh. But we've since worked out some strategies to deal with feeding and we haven't had any more problems.

Elaine has been laid up with a bad ankle so I've ridden Chocolate a couple of times this week. I do understand why she loves it. I'm not nearly as good a rider as she is so I don't work him the way she does. Yesterday we rode on good long way on the beach and it was beautiful. Elaine and I are both looking forward to having a second horse so we can ride together. Sahara won't be that second horse for a long, long time.

There are more pictures of Sahara and Chocolate on our Flickr site.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today is the 46th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For trivia buffs, JFK was 46 when he was killed. That makes today something special in the Great Conspiracy Theory (but I don't know what).

For those of you old enough to remember: Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? It's one of those moments I think everyone remembers vividly. I was in the 7th grade in Mrs. Oligee's room, lined up to go home for the day when there was an announcement the President had been shot. I can still remember the way the room looked, the tall windows, even the color of the walls. I walked home crying, stopping in the office where my mother worked. Everyone there just sat in stunned silence.

I remember hearing the news that at a nearby elementary school kids actually applauded in class when it was announced that the President had been killed. Even then I was struck by how horrific that was. Whether you like or agree with the President or not, assassination is the worst possible means of changing a regime, no matter where you are but especially here in the U.S. I mean, I HATED Richard Nixon. I wanted him out of office but I never wanted him killed (for one thing it would have meant Spiro Agnew would have been President).

Was JFK a great President? I don't know. He sure made his share of mistakes (Bay of Pigs anyone? Although to be fair, the Bay of Pigs invasion strategy was developed under Eisenhower.). But he was an amazing presence during the Cuban Missile Crisis, reassuring, strong, during one of the scariest times in history. (BTW - The word is the Cuban Missile Crisis was not really about Russian nuclear missiles 90 miles from Florida. It was more about Russian nukes 200 nautical miles from what was then Ramey Air Force Base and is now the airport in Aguadilla and Roosevelt Roads naval base near San Juan. In 1962 Ramey Base was an important B-52 base. But from a public relations standpoint, going toe-to-toe with the Soviets with Florida as the target was much more impressive than if the target were Puerto Rico.) And much of what we now call the Civil Rights Movement gained support and momentum in the three short years of his presidency. On the other hand, so did our involvement in Vietnam.

I wish he had lived to fulfill the promise of "Camelot." Who knows how the world might be different today? Had he survived, he would be 92 today. Instead we will always remember him as young, vibrant, athletic (despite his chronically bad back).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sahara - Week One update

Sahara has been with us for a week now, as of yesterday. She already looks better. Still way too skinny obviously, but looking better. Her eyes are brighter and clearer. She has more energy.

We take her for daily walks on the beach now to get her some gentle exercise and to get her used to the ocean and to walking on a lead. The first day we took her to the beach she was okay with the sand but pretty freaked out by the water and the waves. Yesterday, her third day of walking on the beach, she stood her ground in the waves and was much more curious about the salt water. You can see she is already starting to get a little muscle tone in her back legs. Coming back from the beach we actually broke into a gentle trot.

She had her hooves trimmed yesterday for only the second time in two-and-a-half years. Boy, did she need that! Joey, our ferrier, said her hooves are soft, probably from malnutrition but they MAY get stronger as her nutrition and general health improves. We'll have to wait an see about that. For now she's getting lots of grain laced with vitamins, carrots, and corn oil. She also is free to wander and graze with Chocolate.

Chocolate is starting to get over his jealousy. For her part, Sahara follows Chocolate around like a shadow. Another horse went by on the road yesterday and Chocolate decided to show off, running and galloping around the property. Sahara ran right after him, not as fast obviously, but following him around. It was fun to watch and really wonderful to see Sahara with that much energy. A week ago she was listless and would barely walk, let alone trot or run.

There is still a long road ahead, but at least she (and we!) are moving along in the right direction.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birthdays birthdays birthdays and other celebrations

And I am so far behind posting them!

Last night we had a great surprise birthday party for Miguel. (For those who don't know, Miguel is our daughter Amy's significant other.) Miguel had not experienced a surprise party before so we did an Ola Lola's kid's birthday party - complete with peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, three kinds of chips and toy party favors. Thanks to all the family and friends who joined us to celebrate and make this a special day for Miguel. And a special thank you to Miguel's mother and brother who came for the party. It was our first opportunity to meet them. Happy Birthday, Miguel.

Last Friday (yeah, like a week ago!) we celebrated our new friend Heidi's birthday. Heidi (that's Heidi in the photo) moved to the island for work just in time to get a surprise birthday celebration at Ola Lola's. Last night we also had the pleasure of meeting Heidi's mother, Brenda Welcome to the island, Heidi! And happy birthday.

While we were celebrating Heidi's birthday on the 6th, we also celebrated our friend and once-and-future co-worker Mae's birthday. Unfortunately (for Mae and for us), Mae is in the States and not here on the island. Hope she had a great time on her birthday wherever she was. We celebrated in her honor in her absence. Happy birthday, Mae! Come home soon.

Last but far from least on Halloween night we celebrated our good friend David's birthday. David was home in California, no doubt celebrating a quiet romantic evening with his beautiful bride. Or - more likely - at one of his famous Halloween/birthday blow-out parties. Whichever it was, we hope David had a wonderful birthday. We certainly had a great time on his birthday!

And we did have a Halloween party this year, on Friday, the 30th, rather than on Halloween night. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the party.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One-day reprieve

The past month or so has been kind of an odd transition from snorkel/dive season to surf season, It's been odd because until the last week, it really hasn't been very good for either. It's been too rough and churned up for any good snorkeling or diving but the waves haven't been really good for surfing either. Last week we got some good waves - you can see lots of photos on our website, and some on Flickr. Then yesterday we got a one-day reprieve to go snorkeling for the first time in weeks. And it's the first time Elaine has been in the water since she fell and fractured her cheekbone weeks ago. Darryl actually went diving. Going in the ocean is like going to a spa. It is relaxing, soothing for mind, body and soul. When I'm away from it for too long (and this has bee WAY too long), I get crazy. But I'm better now. An hour soak in the ocean yesterday helped.

Today the swell is back so I'm headed out to see if I can find any surfers to photograph. Those photos (if I find any) will be up tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meet Sahara

Sahara is our new rescue horse. She's a two-year-old Paso Fino who desperately needs care and lots of TLC. (She's come to the right place! Finally...)

Sahara was originally owned by a man named Pete. Peter is a pretty gentle soul who owned a number of horses. He helped out around the Ramey Riding Club. And then he lost his job. He had to give up his horses. He gave Sahara to a guy, thinking he'd found her a good home. When he went to check on her, he found her in this sad state. Even though he really couldn't take care of her properly, Pete figured Sahara was better off with him than at the "new" place so he took her back. Our friend Lisa approached us about taking her. One look was all it took.

Lisa knew Sahara before things got bad; in fact Lisa has known her since birth. Lisa says she's a really sweet horse who can become a great horse. Right now she's scared, out of shape, skinny and a little skittish (who wouldn't be?). We were going to take her several weeks ago but when the fence on the property where we keep Chocolate got run over in the middle of the night (by a guy who says he wasn't drinking), we had no safe place to keep her. We've been keeping Chocolate tied on a rope since the accident but Sahara isn't rope-trained yet.

Yesterday Peter brought Sahara down to us. We kept her in our yard yesterday and last night. Today the guys repaired the fence. It's not done yet but it's safe enought to let Chocolate and Sahara loose in the pasture.

This is the first time (I think) Sahara has been allowed to roam loose. She's mostly been kept in a stall with a small yard around it. As I said, she needs lots of attention, lots of work, before much training starts.

We're not sure about the long term, whether we will keep her. For now, our job is to take care of her, get her heathy and strong and begin training her to get some muscle-tone on her. After that, we'll see. Stay tuned here for updates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Far far behind

I don't know how I got so far behind in writing this blog. I think this is the longest I've ever gone without a post. Way too long! To those who check this regularly - and who have just about given up! - I apologize. I confess that now that we're on Facebook, I wind up using that as a kind of shorthand. It's easy to post something quick and dirty and let it go at that. But I really will try to get back to posting some longer thoughts/news here on a much more regular basis.

It's not that there is nothing to write about - there is still lots to write about. Although after three years (almost) living here some things have become routine, living here is still a great adventure! We continue to meet new people every week. For example, this week we met two families from North Dakota. Both of the young women were born here, in Isabela, but now they live in ND. Talk about culture shock! I hope I get to talk with them a little more to find out what their story is. Last night a couple from Boston came back to Ola Lola's for their second time. Sunday night they came for drinks; last night they came back for dinner. Hannah was the first one to order Elaine's famous (infamous?) peanut butter-and-sweet-relish burger. It sounds like a strange combination, but she loved it!

And we get to reconnect with our extended Ola Lola family. Our friends David and Stanley (from Royal Isabela Golf Club) have been here this weekend. It's always great to see them. Brian and Alfred and Larry are here to kite surf take advantage of the trade winds and the first big surf swell of the season. Since the waves are big but pretty disorganized, I suspect Charlie will be out with his kite today as well. We do miss Eric and Poppy though. I could pretty much count on Eric being out any time there was wind. Oh yeah, we miss their company and friendship too.

Much more to come - people, places, updates from Lola's Corner and beyond. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A week into and out of the darkness

It's been kind of a weird wild week here on Lola's Corner. Monday afternoon the power went off - for the fourth or fifth time in a week - and this time it stayed off for more than 24 hours. In a lot of ways, we wouldn't mind. As long as we can keep the beer and drinks cold at Ola Lola's, hanging out with candles and lanterns is kinda fun. But the kitchen closes and that's a drag for guests and the business alike. And then there is the 'fridge - and what's in it. We managed to save most stuff by putting refrigerated stuff in coolers on ice and taking frozen stuff to a friend's house. But we still lost some food. The electric company will hear about that!

The other problem is my dependency/addiction to my computer. There is access to the Internet of course but there is also all the photography work I do on the computer. And now here I am - power is back on but two of our computers, including our 6-week-old one, are in the shop. Our BIG desktop won't start up at all and our new one keeps crashing. I'm writing this on our new little laptop, not much more than a netbook, really. But it does keep me connected.

Tomorrow night is the Ola Lola's Halloween Party. We have a special food menu with Graveyard Ghoul-losh, Swamp Monster Slaw, and Sweet Crispy Brain Cell Balls. It you are in the neighborhood drop by. Costumes optional but preferred,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fuel storage fire in San Juan

Most of you probably have heard by now about the huge fuel storage fire near San Juan. An explosion caused 15 of 40 fuel storage tanks at the depot to burn. This happened late Thursday night into Friday morning. Authorities don't know yet what caused the initial explosion. There have been the usual wild rumors - nuclear attack, terrorists, an escalation of the protests over government layoffs - but so far no one seems to know.

Traffic was halted in and around San Juan for a while. As far as we have heard, there were no deaths or injuries.

The explosion and fire were about 50 miles east of us and posed no danger to us. There are questions about the fallout from the smoke in the atmosphere, especially when it rains. And of course everyone expects gasoline prices - which have been going up the past week anyway - to skyrocket. We'll see.

For now, we'll just be grateful no one was injured and that we are so far away from it and don't have go near it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Congratulaltions Jim and Chandra

Congratulations to our friends Jim and Chandra who got married yesterday. This picture is from the pre-wedding party they had at the pool/clubhouse of their condo complex. Congrautlations you two. Have a long and wonderful life together!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yola on the beach

Early Sunday morning another yola came ashore at Shacks Beach. This one is small, not much bigger than a rowboat. Apparently it made the crossing from the Dominican Republic with people in it, but we don't know how many. Small boats like this are more frequently used for drug drops than people-running. But we know there was at least one refugee: he turned up at one of our friend's homes in the middle of the night, hungry, thirsty, and scared enough to want to go back. He asked our friends to call the police so they could pick him up and send him back. Two Customs and Border Protection officers were happy to oblige.

The boat, a single layer of fiberglass already fractured where the side wall meets the bottom, is still on our beach. We and others have made several unsuccesful attempts to contact the DRNA (Natural Resources Department) about getting it off the beach before high tides and waves wash it back into the pool inside the reef and it breaks up, either on the reef or on the rocks at the edge of the beach. Someone managed to flip it over so it's now upside down with the stern toward the water. At least it is less likely to wash off the beach that way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The first (and we hope LAST) Ola Lola's WTF (What the Flood) Party

Wow! I've said since we moved here that this little corner of the island is magical. And its greatest magic is the people. Last night y'all proved it again.

If you read our last post, you know that last week we had a flash flood in Bajuras. A friend of ours was nearly swept away in her car. Her car was damaged somewhere between expensive-to-fix and not-enough-left-for-parts.

Last night our community turned out for our first (and we hope last) WTF party. As part of the party, we had a silent art auction to raise money to help our friend repair/replace her car. Every item in the auction sold. We exceeded our fundraising goal for the night. And we had a bunch 'o fun doing it.

Most of the auction items were paintings by world-famous artist, Kurt Ziegler, who graciously donated his work. As word spread (quickly! since we only started putting the event together on Wednesday, five days before), others - Derek, Lourdes from Bamboo Art, Elaine from Fusion Art and Floral, Rosie from Serenity Massage - also donated items to the auction. Thank you all. And a huge thank you to all the people who brought food for the potluck - Sarah, Cookie, Mike and Val, Susan, Suzanne, George and Mary, Ron and Tina, and I know I'm forgetting a couple of people - sorry! Elaine was so busy with the auction, she couldn't make food too. Y'all made this special evening even better.

So more people would have an opportunity to participate - people who couldn't get here in personbut who want to help, to contribute - we reserved four original paintings for an online auction. Those four paintings go up on Ebay today (Monday) at noon AST/EDT. You can view/bid on them by going to and searching for "Kurt Ziegler painting" or for one of these item numbers:
270468970191 ("Point Break");
270468978243 ("Costa");
270468972140 ("Waterfalls");
270468979516 ("Small World").

Check them out. Here is your chance to own a beautiful piece of original art and to help out some great people. Bid early and bid often! And have fun! BTW - the image at the top is "Point Break."

Finally, thank you from the bottoms of our hearts to everyone in our wonderful community who came out and supported us and this event, and who so generously opened their hearts and pockets to help someone in need. Enjoy your new art works for years to come.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Flood update

Well, we're pretty nearly cleaned up and ready to open Ola Lola's today. Monday in the storm was the officially our worst business night ever. Thank you to Lisa, Brian and Zan who came out anyway.

This Sunday we are having the first (and we hope the last) Ola Lola's WTF (What the Flood?) party. As part of the party, we are have a silent auction fundraiser to help a friend repair/replace a car that was severely damaged in the flood. We have several paintings by world-famous artist Kurt Ziegler to auction. Several other people are donating other items as well, including a car-detailing and original Bamboo Art.

Proyecto update: the Developers cleared all the vegetation out of the project area so when the huge rain came, there was nothing to hold to the soil or to slow down the water runoff. So, massive amonts of water roared down the road (that was part of the water that trapped our friend) carrying massive amounts of dirt to the ocean. Added to that was dirt and mud eroded from the bare cliffs where they quarry rock from the mountainside, just upstream from us. (Some of what they quarry there is the fill for the proyecto.) So now we have the worst situation: we have none of the "protections" against erosion and water runoff to the ocean the Developer promised for the completed project, and, because all the vegetation has been stripped away, none of the natural protection that was in place before the Developer messed with it. Oh, and I guess they really are done with the project (for now at least). The contractor hauled his last big bulldozer out of there this morning.

You can see photos of the aftermath of the flood around the project here. In some of the pictures you'll notice there was enough force of water and mud to bend the metal fence out.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Beach town day

Sunday was a reminder of why we moved here, about what we love about beach towns.

I was down at Middles Beach KAPping the Corona Pro surf competition. (Click on the picture to see more photos on our website, There was little/no surf, but it was still a fun party on the beach. Even driving through Jobos was fun. It wasn't so crowded at noon that cars and people blocked the road so traffic was actually moving, slowly but moving. But that's how traffic is in a beach town. Fun music poured out of a couple of bars, people were carrying coolers and umbrellas to the beach. It reminded me of great beach weekends at South Haven and Grand Haven on Lake Michigan. Those beaches are why we wanted to live in beach town in the first place.

When I got back home, power had come back on so I didn't have to put the no-electricity Plan B for opening Ola Lola's into affect. I got to take the dogs swimming and spend a little more time on our nearly empty, uncrowded stretch of beach. AND THIS IS IN OCTOBER! A big part of me didn't want to give up the beach to come open Ola Lola's. But Lola's is very much a part of the beach...

We interrupt this idyllic scene with a reality check. Last night we got hit with the second-worst flash flood since we've been here. Lots of rain and lightening and thunder. We thought we were okay when the rain stopped and the little bit of water in the yard started receding. They must have released water from the overflowing retention ponds up on top of the mountain into our little river because the water came up so fast. Literally all of a sudden our yard, bar, the road, everything was full of brown muddy water. A friend of ours was nearly swept away in her car in the dark.

Now it's morning. One of the "good" things about these floods is they don't last long, a couple of hours instead of days or weeks. We were up pretty late cleaning up and we have a lot more to do today. All the people and all the animals are okay. The bar survived it. Now I just have to wash every beer bottle and every glass we own. We cleaned all the water and mud out of the bar last night and started drying it out. We're okay. It's just not how I'd planned to spend the first day of our weekend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a week (so far)!

Whew - it's only Wednesday!

Monday night was our big pig-roast and Everybody in September Birthday Party. It was "big fun" as Zan puts it for everybody. Lots of great food. (Thank you Cookie for the Seven-layer Dip, Sarah for the arroz y habitualas, Ana for the charlota cake, Andy and Natassia for the chocolate cake [which Elaine is still enjoying], Sharon for cake, goodies and the beautiful glasses. I know I've left out people and contributions - I'm sorry. My brain is fried. More on that in a moment.) Door prizes. Gifts. And a wonderful roast pig. I know our vegetarian friends take issue with this but it's so-o good.

Yesterday morning was spent collecting paperwork from various PR government offices to renew our bar license. Today I spent NINE HOURS standing in line/waiting to actually renew the license. Once I finally got in the office - about 2:00 pm after getting to the office (which opens at 8:00) at 7:30 am - it only took an hour-and-a-half to actually get the license. At 7:30 I was about number 60 in line. But we have it. Ola Lola's is good to go for another year!

Because I'vee been tied up with the license stuff, I missed the last good day of diving at Shacks and the first good swell of the surf season. We're all hoping for a good swell this weekend for the Corona Pro surf competition at Middles. I'm also hoping for a bit o' breeze so I can KAP the event. There will be a lot of photographers on the beach and maybe one or two in the water. I like to do something different. In the meantime, I'm going out tomorrow to see if there are a few little waves left over.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Breakfast on the reef

I love going out on the reef early in the morning. I love the way the light hits it, the way the colors show up and how alive it feels.

Yesterday Darryl, Trevor and I went out for another "breakfast club" dive. To be honest, it wasn't as good a dive as the spectacular dive the day before - but then very few dives are that good. Still, it's a beautiful dive and an amazing way to start the day. And, at the risk of repeating myself, I'm always grateful when a few thousand fish let me share their living room.

I went out snorkeling early this morning, taking advantage of the days we have left to snorkel and dive the reef at Shacks. Surf season is nearly upon us. Very soon we won't be able to go to the outside or to the west end of the reef. Forecasters are saying the first swell of the season is coming by midweek. Oh, gee! Then it will be back to photographing surfers instead of fish. It's a tough life but somebody's gotta live it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

An awesome way to start the day

Darryl and I went for an early morning dive on the outside reef at Shacks this morning. What an awesome way to start a day. I may not be the best dive buddy Darryl has (I suck air so dives tend to be shorter than he/we would like), but I can pretty much guarantee nobody likes it more.

This morning was a world-class dive by any standard. Beautiful water with great visibility, a vibrant reef with thousands of fish flashing in this amazing slanting early morning light. Wow!

So this morning we swam with a good sized barracuda, a spotted eagle ray (who swam with us for quite a while), a southern stingray, a bunch of French angelfish, a queen angelfish, a Gray angelfish (which isn't very common around here), blue and brown chromis, and a couple of thousand other fish who let us hang around in their living room for a while. Thank you.

I haven't been taking my camera when I'm diving. I'm concentrating on being a better diver - improving my buoyancy, improving my air consumption, staying relaxed. Most people are nervous at the beginning of a dive when they first go down; I'm just the opposite. I get more nervous and tend to use more air at the end of a dive. Go figure. I'm hoping to get some pictures of this morning's dive from Darryl. When I do, I'll post them.

After that great start, on with the day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Project "progress"

For the past week there has been no work at all at the Project site. It looks like they've just stopped.

There have been a couple of related thoughts as to why. It appears the Developer didn't intend to go any farther at this time. He may/probably doesn't have financing. But he needed to do something to keep the permits active and to show prospective buyers that something is happening at the site.

So now we have no work and this ugly hole. Guess it beats the steady parade of trucks going by all day and all the dust and dirt and diesel fumes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Limpio todas las costas

"Lucy - you got some catching up to do..."

Yesterday was the International All Coasts clean-up. We helped out at Jobos for a while. There were also people picking up trash at Shacks, Montones and other beaches.

I know the trash needs to be picked up but it kinda annoys me that "we" are doing it and not the people who put the trash there in the first place. I mean, if you're gonna smoke on the beach, how hard is it to pick up your butts and take them with you? Put 'em in a empty beer can or bottle. Oh, and then take the can or bottle with you. Don't leave it on the beach. That's another thing - you carried those beer containers to the beach. Carry 'em out with you. They are easier to carry out because they are empty! It's the backpackers' rule: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures/memories.

Anyway, the beaches look a lot better today. Thank you to everybody who helped! And thank you, Lourdes, for organizing the local clean-up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back from a great weekend!

We're back home again after a great weekend at the 31st Annual Frank Mots Kite Festival in Milwaukee! The weather was beautiful, the winds cooperated and we had a fabulous time flying kite ballet performances for huge crowds both Saturday and Sunday.

We got a HUGE surprise when we arrived at the field on Saturday. Our dear dear friend Donna presented us with this beautiful custom built 8' rokkaku kite. Donna is an amazing seamstress and kite builder. She has built more custom appliqued kites for festival sponsors than I care to think about. Thank you so much, Donna. We had to ship the rods for our new rok but as soon as they get here, you'll see photos of this beautiful kite flying over Bajuras.

To see some wonderful KAP (kite aerial photography) photos of the event, check out Dan Brinnehl's Flickr page. Dan is a great friend and one of the most talented KAPpers I know. Scott Fisher, the festival's organizer, also does video clips and posts them on YouTube. You can see our interview here. And there are lots more.

As always, it was great to see friends and hang out on a kite field. When we were in the States, we used perform or compete at 10 or 12 festivals a year. Many of our very best friends are from the kiting community. It is one of the (few) things we miss being this far away from the Midwest.
We love Milwaukee, the town, the people, the festival site.

Thank you, Scott Fisher of Gift of Wings for a wonderful weekend - beautiful weather, great friends, great crowds, great kite flying at one of the top 10 kite flying sites in the country. We're already looking forward to being back in May, 2010.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Happy birhtdays!

Happy birthday to Elaine and Michelle and Vicki and Don and Donald and Miza and and and and...

Lots of birthdays in September - which is why we celebrate them all at once at the Ola Lola's Everybody in September Birthday Party. This year's party is Monday, September 28. We will have lechon (a pig roast) and since it is also a potluck, there will lots of yummy wonderful go-withs. It's our biggest party of the fall.

And another reminder - Ola Lola's is closed this weekend, September 11, 12, 13, and 14. We'll be offline for a while starting tonight. So if you e-mail us and we don't respond right away, it's 'cause we won't get your message 'til sometime next week. Ola Lola's will be back for more fun and adventure on Friday, September 18. See ya then!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Progress"(?) on the Proyecto

Some people have asked us for an update on the condo project up the road in Shacks. This is what it looks like now. They spent two weeks hauling in rock (that yellowish strip on the left) and this week hauling out dirt and debris. Two sides of the area are now closed in behind a big metal fence.

This was shot from above the dune looking south, away from the ocean. The road past Ola Lola's is just past the bare dirt in the center of the photo; the road up to Villa Tropical and the beach is along the right edge of the project property.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy September!

Okay, it's a couple of days past the beginning of the month but what the heck. September always starts with my father's birthday on the 1st. He used to say his birthday was easy to remember: it was the day World War II started. (Hitler and the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. My father was 15.) He would have turned 85 were he still with us. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1982. Happy birthday, Dad, wherever you are.

Speaking of birthdays, get ready for Ola Lola's "Everybody in September Birthday Bash." This huge part is coming up on Monday, September 28. We're planning lechon (roast pig), we'll have a DJ, lots of people will bring very special dishes to share AND we'll get to celebrate a whole lot of birthdays, including Elaine's. So if your on the island - or if you can get here - Ola Lola's is THE place to be on the 28th.

Wait - Ola Lola's is the place to be EVERY weekend, but the "Everybody in September Birthday Bash" is a very special don't-miss-it event.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

on health care

No one should die, go blind, or be crippled because they can't afford health care. No one should go broke because they get sick. No one should be unable to change jobs because of a "pre-existing condition."

TS Erika

Looks like we're getting our closest encounter yet with a tropical storm. The current tracking forecast has Tropical Storm Erika passing right straight across the island over the next 30 hours or so. We're feeling some effects of the outer bands already. The good news Erika is a poorly organized storm and is expected to weaken tonight. Indications are she will be down to a tropical depression (sustained winds below 39 mph) before she reaches the east coast of PR and then will probably weaken a bit more as she crosses the island.

We were talking to Amy last night about Erika; she was concerned about the wind strength. I said "yeah, but look at it this way: we had 40 mph winds in Michigan - but it was usually about 10 degrees. Here a least it's still 84 degrees. Even at 40 mph, the wind chill is, oh, about 80."

Stay tuned. We'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another sad farewell

Elaine and Mae having way too much fun in the kitchen.

For the past month Elaine has had help in the kitchen. She brought Mae in as an experiment, knowing that she would be leaving soon if it didn't work out. Well, having Mae with us was more than successful. She fit in beyond our wildest dreams. And now she's gone. At least temporarily. She's going back to New Jersey to her teaching job. But she will be back, back to the island and back to Ola Lola's. In the mean time, we wish her all the best. She has left a mighty big void to fill.

Knowing Mae was leaving, we kinda a figured something would work itself out if having her here was successful. And so it has. We are very very lucky that our friend Lacy is available to step in and take over in Mae's absence. Lacy is a wonderful awesome lady in her own right and she's going to fit right in. By the time Mae can come back, we'll be ready to have both of them here!

Thank you, Mae, for showing us how it can be. And thank you Lacy for helping us take the next steps!

Mae and Jorge Monday night, Mae's last night (for a while) at Ola Lola's.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More goings and comings

Last week we said adios to more friends. Caitlin left the island for a while to attend a rash of weddings and coincidentally serve and internship in wedding photography. Her guy JW leaves tomorrow to join her. They will be back - they promised!

Also last week Licia left us. She's back on the mainland with husband Mike and their kids Mason and Ella. When Mike and the kids left at the beginning of the summer, we thought/hoped it was just for the summer. But Mike got a job (! congratulations! It was way too long a wait.) and Licia worked a deal so she could do her job (in Puerto Rico) remotely (from Colorado). They'd only planned to stay on the island a year and were here almost a year and a half so that was a bonus.

We miss you guys! Come back and visit when you can.

It's not all goings though. Our good good good friends Katie and Jill came in Sunday morning for a week. I gotta tell ya, a week ain't long enough! But we're all having fun and enjoying a wonderful visit and adventure. Here they are, getting their picture taken on Borinquen Beach, the "set" of the movie, A Perfect Getaway .

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fodor's Guide to Puerto Rico

Last Thursday evening a couple stopped at Ola Lola's and were a bit surprised (and a bit disappointed?) we were closed. We explained our days and hours, that we would be open Friday. Turns out our new friends Ben and Marlise are writers for Fodor's travel guides. They are on the island updating information for the new edition of Fodor's Guide to Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, they were moving on to Rincon on Friday and would probably miss us. We had a nice chat, talked about our little corner of the island, what's what, what's good. We told them about our menu and suggested they try One-Ten-Thai for dinner, which they did, which they loved.

We got an e-mail from them on Sunday saying they were coming for dinner on Monday. Cool! They talked to Andy at One-Ten-Thai and others about our place. The "word on the street" about Ola Lola's was so good, so positive they decided to drive back to Shacks from Rincon for dinner with us. Elaine has done such an incredible job with the food and the menu! And the word is out.

We had a nice mellow crowd on Monday, busy but not harried. Ben and Marlise got to meet some of our resident "characters" and got to bask in that one-of-a-kind Ola Lola's atmosphere. I think they thoroughly enjoyed their dinners - Elaine's Awesome Asiago-Artichoke dip, Chipotle Chicken sandwich and her Asian Chicken Sandwich.

One of the things we try to do is to (pleasantly!) surprise our guests, with excellent, first-rate service first and foremost, with our drink and beer selection, and with Elaine's amazing menu. There is a certain level of expectation when you pull up to a place like Ola Lola's. I mean, it's a rum shack. It's a cute rum shack, a "lemonade stand for grown-ups" as one of our friends described it, but a rum shack none the less. (BTW - it's more of a lemonade stand for "never grown-ups.") On the first visit, most people don't expect to find a choice of 16 beers. Or Grey Goose. Or the "best pina coladas in the world" (according to the Billabong women's surf team). You certainly don't expect a menu with four gourmet chicken sandwiches, a homemade burger with your choice of 23 different toppings. Or three amazing appetizer dips. We try to always exceed expectations.

Ben and Marlise were surprised we've only been doing this 2-1/2 years. In their experience it usually takes much longer to reach the level we've reached, in quality, variety and customer following.

First Islands magazine. Then the cover and a story about kite surfing at Shacks. And coming in 2010, Ola Lola's (and One-Ten-Thai!) in the 6th edition of Fodor's Guide to Puerto Rico. Thank you, Universe! And thank you, Ben and Marlise, for coming back to visit us! We're honored.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Worth waiting for

This is what the surfers have been waiting for - a BIG storm out over the Atlantic, not too close, but close enough to drive some deep swell waves our way. Twelve to 16 foot waves were predicted for our North Shore. I checked out Middles (where this was shot), Surfers and Wilderness. Middles seemed to have the best of it although there were people out at all three breaks. I'll try to get these posted to tonight after Ola Lola's closes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Much ado about nothing (this time)

Well, Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of the season was barely a whimper when she finally went past the island. For a while it looked like she was heading right at us but then she slipped off to the south and fizzled out. By the time she passed us, she was down-graded to a tropical depression and then fell apart completely. The irony is there is more wind today - after the storm - than there was yesterday.

Hurricane Bill looks to be a pretty powerful storm but it's going way north of us (thank you!). Surfers here on PR's north coast and surfers up and down the US East Coast are hoping Bill generates some decent late-summer surfing swell.

There was another tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa behind Bill but that seems to have dropped off the map and radar.

There was lot of talk about these storms, a lot of buying up bottled water and other preparations. But this time it seems to be much ado about nothing. For now the horizon is clear and the weather is beautiful. And we're really grateful!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"They paved paradise...

and put up a parking lot." Or in this case a parking lot and buildings and 72 (or is it 96?) apartments/condos.

The Developer has started clearing the land at Shacks Beach as the first stage of building his project. Once the land is cleared, he plans to bring in truckload after truckload of fill to raise the level of the land so he can build on it. From the sales prospectus we've seen, it is exactly the same project as before, minus the two additional floors. Now it's three floors, not five.

"Don't it always seem to go/you don't know what you've got til it's gone. They paved paradise/and put up a parking lot."

But we do know what we've got! This is the view 180 degrees and just a few meters from the destruction zone above:

And this shot, looking west, shows the project (the small brown wedge at the left is the area that has been cleared so far; the project area extends through the greenery to where the buildings start at left-center), the dune (the heavily vegetated strip kinda diagonally through the center), the beach, the ocean and the Shacks community beyond. You can see how close the project is to the dune, beach and ocean.

The problem is some people don't seem to care. It seems that some people won't be satisfied until our whole coast is covered in concrete and Isabela looks like Rincon - over-rated, over-priced and WAY over developed. Money is more important than the environment that attracted many of us here in the first place.

(The other song that is going through my head is Tracy Chapman's "The Rape of the World.")

And it's not just here! The same Developer is planning another 124-unit project about 1/2 mile east of here, right next to Bamboo Beach. The owners of the quaint old-school bungalows at Villas del Mar Hau want to built an 11-story mixed condos and tourist rental high rise and then tear down the bungalows. They want to build almost right on ocean and their plan for sewage is to use septic tanks!

Why? How much is enough? How much concrete is enough? How many condos? Before the economy went south, there was a glut of four years worth of unsold housing on the island. Do we really need more? How much money is enough to satisfy these developers? How much damage to the beach, ocean and reefs is enough? To create fill for these sites (which were mined for sand years ago), they will need to tear down the mountains. How much is enough?

And at what cost? What cost to the environment, cost to the lifestyle we came here for? And if the environment is destroyed, who will want to live here? What value will these expensive condos have if there is no beach, if there is no reef, if there are no fish to see snorkeling or diving here?

If you ask me, we're way WAY past enough!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Horse bar

What's a horse got to do to get a drink around here? Chocolate bellies up to the bar at Ola Lola's.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy middle of August and other random thoughts

The middle of August already. Where did June and July go? School starts here next week!

I was closing Ola Lola's the other night and I realized again how much I like being in a public space after it closes, after everyone else leaves. It was late, dark, quiet except for the sound of the wind. I don't know why, but I like those moments. It's always been that way. It's one of the (many) things I liked about being a theater designer/tech director. I was frequently the first one in the theater, unlocking doors, turning on lights, and usually the last to leave. There is something magical, for me at least, in those moments. It's not just the quiet or that it's relaxing - I'm usually still working. At the end of the night at Ola Lola's for example, I'm stacking tables and chairs, putting stuff away.

There is something about the energy in a public place after the public leaves. It may have the same source as our fascination with ruins of ancient or historic places like castles or forts. It may be the same fascination that drives people to look for abandoned buildings or abandoned subway tunnels. Yes, I'd like to do that too. Weird, but I like it.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Querida rides Chocolate

Our Scottish friends James, Elaine and their daughter Querida were visiting our local Scottish friends George and Mary last week. While they were here, we celebrated Elaine's birthday at Ola Lola's and Querida got to ride Chocolate. It was only here second time ever on a horse.

She said she was scared at first, but by the time her "lesson" was over, "our" Elaine said she was the best new rider she has ever seen. Querida certainly did look comfortable on Chocolate. She trotted and cantered around the ring. And Chocolate was listening and paying attention to her, much better than he listens to me.

Querida is just 14, a beautiful, multi-talented young lady. Not only does she ride well, she is an amazing golfer. When she was here in PR the last time, she played the Royal Isabela golf course with Stanley and Charlie. She tied Stanley! She was invited to play in the European Junior Championships in Spain last year. And she just started playing when she was 13. I probably don't need to say this, but her parents James and Elaine are very proud!

They left Friday morning to go back to Scotland. It gets harder for Querida to leave every time she comes to Puerto Rico. She loves it here. I know just how she feels.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor is now a Justice

Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in this morning as the 111th Justice of the US Supreme Court. (Did you notice - 111?) A woman. A Hispanic woman. A puertoriqueña! Awesome! Amazing! For the second time this year, I am truly deeply proud to be an American! (Finally, after eight years of total shame and embarrassment!) Justice Sotomayor is an excellent choice to sit on the Supreme Court, despite the on-going fear-mongering of some conservative Republicans.

A Perfect Getaway

We've waited months for the movie A Perfect Getaway to come out. Although the story is set in Hawaii, much of the location shooting was done here in Puerto Rico, on Borinquen beach and at the golf course our friends Stanley and Charlie and David are building in Isabela. While they were filming the movie, one of the stars, Steve Zahn, came to Ola Lola's to hang out. The film is getting pretty good reviews. We're planning to go see it Tuesday. We'll let you know what we think of it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Comings and goings

One of the constants about our little corner of the world is change. Partly because we are a tourist area, partly because of the number of US government (Homeland Security, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection) and military, partly because of corporate transfers, comings and goings are pretty common. This month, we have a bunch of goings.

Our good friends Eric and Poppy left this weekend for a new assignment in the States. We miss them already. They are more than great friends: Poppy is one of our favorite "book swap" buddies and a wonderful, beautiful surfer. Eric has been my favorite subject for kite surfing photos. (There is a new set of pictures from his last day on the island on Flickr.)

This weekend another good friend left amid tears and hugs. Grace, who was most often seen as a trail guide at Tropical Trailrides, is back in New York to go back to school. Grace, we miss your smile and your joy and your laughter. Feel free to visit any time. I think we can arrange a ride on Chocolate if you miss being saddle-sore.

Also earlier this month, our surfer friends Ashley and Drew got married and then left for Florida. Later this month another of of Coastie buddies, Ian, leaves for a new assignment. And Caitlin and JW leave next week.

But it's not all goings. Our friend Janelle came back this weekend (after getting stuck in Florida for two extra days). While government and corporate transfers take friends off the island, they bring new friends in. And friends do come back: for example, after two years Anne, a friend from our early days here, came back back with her friend Sara for brief visit.

All the goings make us appreciate the time we have with our friends that much more and not take any of that time for granted. Both the comings and the goings are reasons to celebrate friendships, whether close or distant.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Breakfast with reef squid

and sand drums and blue tang and ocean surgeonfish and parrotfish and sergeant majors and... and...

I love starting my day with a snorkel or dive in the ocean!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Constitution Day At Shacks Beach

This KAP (kite aerial photography) photo shows a very busy Shacks Beach on Constitution Day, 2009.

It's strange how much a change of point of view makes. From the ground, it really did feel crowded (for Shacks anyway). From up here...not so much.

And it really wasn't as crowded as I expected. Constitution Day is usually bigger than the 4th of July, but not this year, at least not at Shacks. I don't know what Jobos looked like; I didn't venture down there.

One of the things I love about "our" beach is that this really is a crowded day at the beach. Back in Michigan our favorite beaches at Warren Dunes, South Haven, and Grand Haven can have 10,000, 20,000, as many as 50,000 people. We like it when a crowd is a couple of hundred people on eight miles of beach.

Okay, one more holiday - Barbosa Day on Monday - and then we have month-long drought. No more holidays until Labor Day. ARRGH!

There are a few more pictures from this KAP session on Flickr.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kennedy "reading"

Kennedy likes to sit on the balcony and
"read" just like her Abuelo (grandpa). (If you look closely, her book, Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein," is upside down.)

But sometimes, she "falls asleep" with her book on her chest. Just like her Abuelo.

She also likes to "read" to Jazz and Amber. It's not always easy to get their attention and make sure they're listening so she has to be very persistent. And, of course, everyone loves the part where she says "the end."