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.