Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New beers at Ola Lola's!

A new beer distributor is finally bringing craft and imported beers to the island! And Ola Lola's is one of the first on this side of the island to have them.

We started with Anchor Steam (which we sold out of the first night we had it!) and Anchor Porter, Acme IPA and Rogue Mocha Porter, a dark, almost-stout-like beer, and Rogue Dead Guy Ale.

This week we're adding beers from Goose Island Brewery in Chicago. Starting this week we'll have Goose Island IPA, Oatmeal Stout and Nut Brown Ale.

I cannot tell you how good it is to finally have some good beers available. I'm pretty tired of Corona.

To all the kiters in the Midwest - Chicago Fire, O2, Eos, Fire and Ice, Kevin and Susan, Scott, all of you - we've removed the last objection to visiting PR. There is good beer here. And yes, we're working on getting Oberon, Java Stout, and Amber Ale. (Note to Eric and Russ: we even have sake!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, we're back online, I think. We haven't had Internet for almost 10 days. Finally go it back late this afternoon. If anybody has tried to contact us and we haven't responded, that's why. Sorry!

Will post more tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

News flash!

18-67 is closed.

We talked to Chris, the owner yesterday. Tuesday night was the last night for one of our very favorite restaurants anywhere. Chris told us he decided to close for a combination of business and personal reasons.

Chris and his wife Melissa are expecting a new baby any day. He said he's going to take a break, enjoy the new baby, and think about what he wants to do next.

"It won't be right away, but I wouldn't be surprised if 18-67 shows up somewhere down the line."

Til then, we will miss 18-67, Chris's wonderful food, and all the great people there. We had some great meals and great times at 18-67. Best of luck, Chris, whatever you decide to do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day.

Be kind to your Mother. Treat her gently, kindly, and with all the respect she deserves.

Do something nice for her: change one thing in your life, starting today, that will protect her and help her heal.

There are a ton of web sites out there with suggestions. Just search for "earth day." Here are a few:

There are lots more.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Celebration

Yesterday we made kites with kids at the Earth Day celebration at the University of Puerto Rico - Aguadilla. We only had a couple of hours (we had to get back to open Ola Lola's) but we had a lot of fun. The kids helped us with our Spanish (cordon de chiringa is "kite string"). Some were shy because they heard us speaking Ingles and they don't speak much Ingles. With signs, gestures, and our mangled Spanish, we managed to get a couple of dozen paper bag kites made and flying. The kids loved them!

At the same time they were having fun, they also got a subtle lesson that simple things - a paper bag, a plastic straw (gotta work on the plastic thing for next year), some sting, a bit of tape, mixed with a sunny day and a little breeze - can be more fun than a video game.

There are a few more photos on Flickr.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Zan!

Happy Birthday, Zan!

Zan celebrated with a whole bunch of friends at Ola Lola's last night. It was a great, fun party, even if it wasn't quite the blow-out of last year's bash (that will come later in the month).

The special night was made even more special because Zan's friends Greg and Heather were here from the States to help her celebrate. Since Heather's birthday was Thursday, it was a double celebration.

Everyone had a good time but this kinda how I remember the evening:

We were really busy so it's all kind of a blur to me.

Happy birthday yesterday, Heather!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A bunch o' birthdays

There are a bunch 'o birthdays this week.

Today is our bestest-ever friend Trudy's birthday AND our niece Annie's birthday AND our friend Caitlin's birthday. (She's the one on the left in the photo above.) Tomorrow is Zan's friend Greg's friend (that makes her our friend too) Heather's birthday.

And Friday is Zan's annual celebration of her 29th birthday.

We'll be celebrating all their birthdays on Friday at Ola Lola's. And watch for news about an April Birthday Bash coming later in the month.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More kites on the beach

We're not the only ones flying kites on the beach.

This little guy was having a great time on the beach at Shacks . His kite added some color to the incredibly blue sky during Jen and Trevor's baby blessing on the beach a couple of weeks ago. He let out a LOT of line.

After the blessing, he got some help winding in his string.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Practice for summer

This was a practice weekend for summer, a warm-up if you will.

This week and weekend were the schools' spring break here. We had great weather. Most everybody was off work at least Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It all adds up to packed beaches. Jobos was jammed all weekend. It was almost impossible to get throughthe Jobos area in a car, a precurser to what summer will be like with the beach parking area closed and everybody parking on the roadside. Saturday was the busiest, most crowed day at Shacks. Because we were open Saturday, I didn't have time to KAP the beach on Saturday. The photo above is from early Friday afternoon.

I also got a chance to KAP some kite surfers Friday. There are more new pictures on Flickr and on

We took the day off on Sunday for the holiday. I hoped there would be more people on the beach and more kite surfers. But the wind was a little light for kite surfers and by Sunday afternoon, much of the crowd was headed home. So, for the most part, it was a quiet kinda lazy day.

Elaine and I did go to the beach to watch the sunset. For the first time - for either of us - we got to see the "green flash" just as the sun disappeared below the horizon. It was AWESOME! It is literally a flash, less than a blink. But so cool! What an way to end a laid-back day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Speaking of babies...

I'm WAY behind on this one.

Our friends Jen and Trevor of Villa Tropical fame welcomed their first son last month. Jess Alexander joins big sister Jackie in the Tiller-Young household.

On the 31st they invited the community to a baby blessing on the beach at Shacks in front of Villa Tropical so we could all welcome Jess. What could be more appropriate?

Congratulations, you two. And welcome, Jess. Jackie - be nice to your little bro...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy BirthdayS

Yesterday was a day of birthdays. Yesterday was daughter Amy's birthday, celebrated quietly at Ola Lola's. Happy birthday, Amy!

And yesterday our great wonderful friends Erin and Jason brought their first baby into the world. Welcome to the world Jonah Raymond. Tell mom and dad a visit to Tio John and Tia Elaine is in order.

Congratulations! Felicidades! We love you both (no, all three!) and could not possibly be happier for you!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Surfer Healing surf camp for children with autism

A small child, snuggled into a red and yellow life jacket, struggles a little, reaches back for his mom as he is handed to a stranger and carried into the water. He's undoubtedly a bit overwhelmed. He has autism and there are lots of people and lots of noise and lots of color and movement on the beach. But he lies down on the big surf board and his surfer-partner starts to paddle out. A huge cheer erupts from the beach. It's hard to tell if he knows the cheer is for him, but everyone on the beach knows. There are only a few dry eyes anywhere on the beach.

One surfer volunteer told me he cries every time he does this. Another said when he first started surfing with kids with autism, he would bawl his eyes out as he paddled out with the first surfer of the day, then he and the kids had a great day surfing.

Each time a child and partner get on a board and paddle out, there is a cheer from the beach. This happens for every child. And on this day there are 100 children registered for the camp.

Suddenly there is an even louder cheer. Out on the water that first child to paddle out is now riding a wave, surfing for the first time ever. His volunteer partner helps keep him upright and keeps the board balanced. Gone are the anxieties and fears. It's hard for most of those on the beach to see the little guy's face. I get a closer view through my long lens. His face is a big wide smile. It's easy to pick out his mother on the beach: she's the one yelling the loudest, jumping up and down with tears streaming down her face.

As he returns to the beach, still all smiles, there is another huge cheer. His mother wades into the water to greet him, to hug him. Her tears are also now huge smiles. Volunteers help unbuckle and release him from the life jacket. He and his mother (or dad - or both!) pose for a quick picture then they are up the beach to dry off.

This scene is repeated over and over throughout the day. Because these are children with autism, some rides don't go as smoothly. Some children take more than one volunteer to get them on the board and keep them safe. Some don't quite make it to the wave; they paddle around in the calm shallow water. Others get totally into it, standing up, striking a classic arms-out surfer pose and even help paddle out. Some need to be held up, or put up on the partner's shoulders. Some barely seem to respond at all. No matter. Every one gets the opportunity to try. And most of them love it!

There are several organizations that do surf camps like this one. This one was presented by Surfers Healing, one of if not the, originators. This is from their website,

"Surfers Healing was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload-- simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite.
A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea--with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children. They began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing. "

As a lot of you know, Elaine is a speech language pathologist. Some of the children she worked with had autism. And for nearly two years before we moved to Puerto Rico, I worked in a school with kids with autism. The kids are amazing! It was wonderful to be a part of this event, even if just as an observer/photographer.

You can see more pictures of the Surfers Healing on Flickr and on

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ola Lola's in Islands

Do you know the magazine ISLANDS? Quite honestly, it's one of the things that first got us thinking about living on a tropical island. Somehow - we absolutely do not know how - we received a subscription to ISLANDS about five years ago. We just loved it! One thing lead to another and here we are.

Well, thanks to our good friends Ray and April, Ola Lola's is mentioned in an ISLANDS article in the May issue. Here's a link to the article online. Check it out!

Now we love the magazine even more!

Thanks, Ray and April.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lisa

We manage to sneak in a little surprise birthday party for our friend Lisa (right) Monday night a Ola Lola's. She let slip that Tuesday was her birthday and then admonished me not to do anything. But hey - this is Ola Lola's! We can let something like a birthday slip by unnoticed! Happy birthday, Lisa.

Yesterday was a big day for us. Amy and I spent most of the day (almost 6 hours) getting. . . OUR PUERTO RICAN DRIVER'S LICENSES! Amy passed her driving test (with a 75%!) and I passed my written test (20 questions, got a 70% - that's all you need. You don't get anything extra for scoring higher!). The new drivers' licenses are computer-generated plastic thing, almost totally unreadable. I guess it's better than the old ones which looked more fake (faker?) than the fake ID's you made in high school.