Wednesday, May 30, 2012

June is Guest Chef Month at Ola Lola's

What do you do when the chef wants a month off? Invite half-a-dozen fabulous local chefs to step in!

That's exactly what we've done. We're closing the Ola Lola kitchen for the month of June. We have six  amazing chefs coming in, each one bringing something completely different to our tables. Of course the bar will be open serving our usual fabulous selection of local and craft beers and tasty refreshing drinks.

Here's the Guest Chef line up:
FRIDAYS (June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th) – Julie, chef/owner of Café Aroma
Sandwiches, quiches, salads & more!

SATURDAYS (June 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th) – Tami, from La Tierra Promentida and deli & bakery manager, Econo Gate 5
Artesan grilled pizzas

SUNDAYS (June 3rd, 10th & 24th) – Chef Mimi Rodriguez
Fresh fish and chicken tacos

SUNDAY, June 17th – Father’s Day PIG ROAST!

MONDAYS (June 4th, 11th & 18th) – Chris, chef/former owner of 18-67 Restaurant
Roasted and smoked pork and chicken, plus other delights!

MONDAY, June 25th – Danny, chef/former owner of Nomadas 
“Mexican Monday” - delicious Mexican food!

We've got great chefs, delicious food and lots of fun! Don’t miss it!

No KAP yet

So far my contribution to World Wide KAP Week is exactly zero.I've been fighting the flu or something all week and just didn't feel up to going out. I missed a crowed holiday weekend on the beaches. Oh, well! There are still a few days left in WWKW. You can see what other KAPpers around the world are doing on Fickr in the KAP group and the WWKW group.

I did go diving at Shacks yesterday and saw (among other things) this gorgeous French angelfish.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Albert Nobbs

I don't "review" the few movies we watch very often but this one I have to talk about

We watched a movie last night called Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close, who also co-produced and co-wrote the screenplay.

Neither of us heard of this movie until saw it on the video store shelves. Real video stores are like real libraries - you know, the ones with real books? You browse the shelves and something catches your eye and you say, "hmm, haven't heard of this one. Think I'll give it a try." That's what happened with Albert Nobbs.

Oh, my - what a movie! It is probably the best thing we've ever seen Glenn Close do. It is some of the most subtle acting I've ever seen. Her face - and the way she uses it - is nothing short of amazing. Close has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. I can't imagine her not winning! Hollywood politics be damned!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

World Wide KAP Week

Playa Jobos on the 4th of July

World Wide KAP Week (WWKW) starts Saturday. So what's this all about anyway?

First, if you've followed us at all, you know I'm into KAP - Kite Aerial Photography. Basically, KAP is taking photographs with a camera suspended from a kiteline. KAP rigs can be as simple as a single-use film camera with a rubberband timer to release the shutter or as complex as gyro-controlled platforms with video downlinks so the KAPper can see what the camera in the sky sees.

My rig is somewhere in between. It is radio-controlled with system modified from an RC airplane controller. I can rotate the camera 360 degrees horizontally, 90 degrees vertically from straight out to straight down, and push the shutter. I could modify it further to allow me to zoom as well but I haven't done this as yet. I don't have any kind of video downlink so no, I can't see what I'm shooting. Most of the time I like the "Forest Gump's mother's box of chocolates approach" - I don't know what I've got 'til I get home and download the pictures. Except when I'm actually shooting a project for an actual paying client, I like the surprises, good and bad. I almost always learn something from a KAP session.

 WWKW is a week when KAPpers all over the world make a special effort to get out and KAP and then post their efforts in a special Flickr group. No prizes, not a competition, it's just a time to focus (pun intended) on KAP.

I have a list of places that I want to KAP this week, places I've been but not KAPped before. I hope to stretch my limits this week. I'll be posting the best of the efforts here and on Flickr so check back often.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More goodbyes

Last night was the last night for this gang to be together. Pichi (left), who has been Elaine's help in the kitchen for almost a year-and-a-half, is leaving us for a new life and love in Florida. Chelsea (second from left) has been behind the Ola Lola bar for a little over six months. She is leaving the island for the summer to work on the East Coast. She'll be back in the fall. Albert (far right), aka Cousin Raul, is heading off and back to Jersey for a well-deserved vacation. Dottie (in green) fortunately is staying here.

We wish Pichi all the best in her new life and want to send her off in Ola Lola's best Puerto Rican style. So, on June 17th we're having a Pichi-going-away-Fathers' Day-John's birthday lechon asada (pig roast) with all the fixin's. Everyone is invited! If you're in the neighborhood, come by and help us say adios to Pichi.

Sorry, Chelsea - you're coming back so we're not doing a going-away party for you. But there just might be a welcome back party in your future!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kite festivals

The kite festival season is in full swing in the Midwest. This weekend is one of the biggest and best - the Great Lakes Kite Festival in Grand Haven, Michigan. Next weekend is another of the biggest and best festivals - Family Kite Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We used to perform at these and many other festivals in the Midwest. Many of our best friends are from the kite community. When people ask us what we miss about our former home, our kite friends and the kite festivals are always near the top of our small list.

We tried several years ago to start a kite festival on the beach here in Isabela. We thought then - and still do - a festival like the ones we know in the States could be a great thing here. There is simply nothing like it here. We had performers from the States ready to come. We had some funding lined up and people helping us get more. The stumbling block was the Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente - the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources. We needed a permit from them and got absolutely nowhere. It was one of the few times in Puerto Rico we felt truly discriminated against because we're gringos and not fluent in Spanish.

After months of working on it we finally said "enough!" We thought, "Is this how we want to spend our time and energy?" Between us, Elaine and I have produced more than a hundred successful kite festivals. That's not counting the ones we performed or competed at. (At one time we were ranked sixth in the country.) We don't have to prove anything. Move on to other things.

This video is one we produced then to show potential sponsors the kind of festival we we're planning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our new beach dog

Almost every day, when I take Amber and Jazz to the beach to run, Oz comes along part way then turns aside. He has his own little tour of the neighborhood. And the couple of times he's been to the beach, he hasn't really liked it all that much. So he trots off an does his own thing.

The last few days, he's decided he too is a beach dog. He's come along with the other two and just had a merry ol' time on the beach.

Yesterday, we went a little farther than he's used to going. I don't know if he got confused or just tired or what but he ran up over the dune at the end of Yippee Calle  (aka Deadend Road) and didn't come back. I went back to look for him but didn't find him. Amber and Jazz and I came home, hoping (at least I was) that Oz was already back home.

He wasn't. He'd gone missing.

Elaine went out driving around looking for him. I went back walking the beach looking for him. Elaine came back and saddled up Chocolate to go look for him. Neighbors and friends on Yippee Calle were looking for him.

Near the end of a three-hour ride, Elaine and Chocolate found him in the pasture near the end of Yippee Calle and brought him home. He drank about ten gallons of water and then lay down on the deck. Amber knew something was wrong: he went over and  laid down right next to Oz.

We already had an appointment to have Oz groomed today. What great timing! He was a mess after his adventure. This is what he looked like when we picked him up this afternoon:

No so oso! ("Not so much a bear!" in really bastardized Spanglish.)

But we're really glad to have him back. He gave us quite a fright. He's welcome to go back to the beach with us but for a while he goes on a leash. For my peace of mind if not for his. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This morning at Middles


Guess I was a little premature with my "dive season" post. We've an on-going swell here on the North Shore that the surfers are having fun with. It's not big but it's clean and fun. Surf reports show it peaking tomorrow but continuing waist-high into the beginning of next week. I hope I'll be able to get out and get some pictures - since it doesn't look like we'll be diving this weekend.

More pictures from yesterday and today will be posted on our website, later today.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Joy and sadness

We planned to post a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our good friend and caballero Tito today. But the joy of celebrating his birthday is tempered by the loss of his mother who passed away yesterday.

Our thoughts go out to Tito and his family as they grieve and adjust and deal with their loss. And we hope Tito found something, some little thing, to celebrate, something that brought him a flash of joy on his birthday.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The hardest thing about Paradise

I think I've written about this before but because of events this week it bears repeating.

In this wonderful place so many wonderful people come into our lives - and then leave. So many people here are just "passing through," maybe for a couple of years, maybe for 15 or 20. But saying goodbye to those wonderful good friends is the hardest part of living this paradise. It's not the idiot government or rules or restrictions. Those are just distractions. The hardest part is saying goodbye to good friends.

This week we said "via con dios" to two close friends. Robin, former manager of Villa Montaña, left la isla for his native South Africa. And our good friend Patty's job has taken her to Dayton, Ohio. I know Dayton well (I grew up in Cincinnati and went to college about 35 miles from Dayton). I'm not sure how this SoCal girl by way of a tropical island is going to do in flat, dry, cold boring Dayton.

Regardless, we wish them both the very best of luck. Robin, Patty, know that you go with our love and whatever blessings we can bestow.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Yesterday at Natural

Dive season is here (I hope). This was a cool (in more ways than one) picture from a dive yesterday at Natural. It was a beautiful dive: with a school of Atlantic spadefish, turtles, and a few thousand other fish.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Elaine's IV plumbing

These are the bags o' stuff and all the lines Elaine was hooked up to. She's feeling much better and hopefully will be out of the hospital soon - like today!

Thursday, May 03, 2012


I promised a good good friend that I would post more often. But this has been a very very strange stressful week.

Elaine has been in the hospital since Saturday morning with a as-yet-undiagnosed intestinal infection. She was in acute distress with severe cramping and diarrhea that turned bloody. I took her to the ER on Saturday and they admitted her on Sunday. 

They have tested just about everything but it takes time for the results of the cultures to come back. She's feeling much better today and starting to get feisty. She's had about enough of IVs (she feels like a pin cushion she's been stuck so many times) and being cooped up inside. She may bust out today even if it's AMA (against medical advice). 

We'll see. David, I'll try to post updates more often.