Sunday, July 29, 2007

On a MUCH lighter note...

It's been a week of random power and internet outages here at Lola's Corner. It's also another holiday week on the island so there are lots of visitors on the beaches, in the bars and taxing the local infrastructure. What holiday? Wednesday was Commonwealth Day here on the island, celebrating Puerto Rico's status as the only remaining U.S. commonwealth. And yesterday was Barbosa Day, honoring a politician who pushed hard for Puerto Rican statehood. At least we think that's what it was; no one seems quite sure. But it was a holiday and since there were two holidays in one week, the parties started last Friday.

Last Saturday night was a PARTY at Lola's as well.

First, we hosted a birthday party for our friend Jennifer (left). Friends brought food and a birthday cake and we celebrated! We were here until after 10:30. A number of the celebrants went up the road to Bamboo Beach for the live music. The "early" crowd left BB at 2:30 and the party finally broke up about 5:00. Elaine and I missed that part of the party. By the time we closed up and cleaned up, we were beat. We heard the band at BB was great though.

And then our friend Levi surprised his girlfriend Amber by getting down on his knee and proposing. Amber, being the smart girl she is, accepted. They plan to get married at Villa Tropical and then have the reception - where else? - at Lola's!

Congratulations, Levi and Amber!

More updates soon - providing the i-net holds out!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rainbow bridge for a sato

Last week, before Elaine came back from Michigan, we were adopted by a little sato, one of the many abandoned dogs here on the island. She was a beautiful little thing, her long hair almost exactly the same color as Amber's and Jazz's. She ran on the beach with the big dogs, running as fast as her little legs would carry her, trying to keep up, stopping and watching as they romped in water that was too deep for her.

There were lots of suggestions for name: Elaine called here Trace, a play on the Spanish word tres or three. Our friend Jen called her Foxy 'cause she looked a little like fox. I started calling her Sissy.

We made the decision, that with two dogs and a new horse to train, we did not want to adopt another dog to take care of and train. It was just too much to take on. So we were looking for a new good loving home for her.

This morning she found the rainbow bridge to a new home. (Crossing the "rainbow bridge" is what loving dog owners call it when their dogs pass on.) She was hit on the road right in front of our house by a person driving way too fast in a huge SUV truck. He didn't even slow down after he ran over her, let alone stop to see if there was anything to be done for her. He just sped on, without looking back.

Good-bye little pup. I hope we made your life a little better, at least for a few days. You were a reminder that we all need to take care of each other; none of us can separate our lives from the rest of the beautiful life in the universe.

We are channeling the anger, tears and sadness we have from watching her die to get the city of Isabela to put in speed bumps that so many of us know are needed as we watch people speeding on this road every single day. Please, Mr. Mayor, if you are reading this, make this happen now before someone else is hurt or killed. And, for our wonderful friends, we ask for you too to send your energy in this positive direction so that the end of our little pup's life is not just her death.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A pretty good day

So, this morning Elaine went for a long horseback ride on the trails and the beach with our friend Monica.

Just as she got back, I was getting ready to go to the ocean. I waited so we could go together.

We saw some pretty cool fish - baby ocean surgeonfish (tiny but they look just like full-grown ones) and baby sergeant major fish (ditto) for example - but then, on the way in, Elaine spotted two reef squid. They are so much fun and these are the first ones we've seen since we got here in December. After a few minutes, they swam off and we swam on and saw... three baby reef squid. Last August when we were here, Elaine spent so much time swimming with the squid, we nicknamed her "dances with reef squid." They really are beautiful. (The picture above is from our trip last August. The camera/UW housing issue with Canon is still not resolved so we don't have any pictures from today.)

Tonight we're hosting a birthday party for our friend Jen here at Lola's. That's gonna be fun! If you're in the neighborhood, stop by.

All in all, a pretty good day here on our little corner of paradise.


A beautiful woman on a beautiful horse on a beautiful tropical beach.

It doesn't get any better than that!

Elaine is loving her horse, Chocolate (choc-o-la-tay) Amber and Jazz are already getting used to being around him and running on the beach with him. I'm having a little trouble keeping up but they always come back for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dispatches from the road

Our friends Linda and Kern from California sent us this picture from the shore of Lake Tahoe. They were in the Lake Tahoe area for their daughter Sara's wedding. After the wedding, Kern put on his Ola Lola T-shirt for relaxin' and chillin'. Great choice! If you can't be at Lola's, take the Lola spirit with you.

Thanks for sending the picture, Linda!

Do you have a picture of you in your Ola Lola T-shirt? E-mail it to us to along with the story ('cause every picture has a story) and we'll post it on the blog. Don't have a Ola Lola T-shirt? E-mail us an order. We'll get right back to you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elaine is home!

Three girls - three generations. Aren't they beautiful?

Elaine came home yesterday morning on the JetBlue red-eye (gets into Aguadilla at 3;30 am) in a thunderstorm. I guess it was quite a lightshow from the airplane. It sure was exciting on the ground. It rained hard just before they landed and again while they were deplaning. It rained so hard for a few minutes the baggage handlers stopped unloading luggage. The flight back to JFK was almost delayed while they waited for the rain to let up so they could move luggage. We're wondering how these guys would fare at O'Hare - 30 below zero 20 mph winds driving snow and ice...umm, probably not so well.

Yesterday was wild all day - big winds, 25-30 mph all morning and afternoon then rain. And lots of rain again overnight. The ocean was grey and choppy and wind-driven. An interesting ocean mood.

It's probably just as well. We needed a "down" day to recover. We were both up Monday into Tuesday basically 24 hours.

Elaine finally got back in the ocean today. It was choppy again but wonderful! It is greatamazingwonderfulmarvelousincredibleawesome to have her back. Welcome home, Querida!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Bastille Day

To all our French friends (do we have any French friends?) and to everybody else as well,

Happy Bastille Day.

To to all our Canadian friends (I know we have a few Canadian friends, eh!) a much belated but heartfelt Happy Canada Day! (which was July 1)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th but my bad luck happened a couple of days ago. While taking this and some other pictures of Amber and Jazz in the water, yep, ANOTHER camera housing flooded, damaging ANOTHER camera. Canon (maker of both the camera and the housing) and I are having more words about it. In the mean time no underwater or KAP pictures since I use the same camera for both.

The good news is Elaine will be home on Tuesday. The good photographic news is she's bringing the backup camera with her so at least we'll be able to shoot KAP pics again. But no snorkeling or diving pictures until the housing issue is resolved.

I have other cameras here but the Canon A620 - the one that was damaged - is my everyday-take-it-everywhere camera. It is amazing how naked I feel without the camera with me. It just doesn't feel right. Back in the days when I was doing a lot of photography in Michigan friends called my camera my "jewelry" or my "necklace" because I was never without it; it was always on my shoulder. It's become like that again here. I take the camera everywhere. It just feels odd to be without it. The universe must think I need additional patience training. I have to cool my heels, wait for Elaine to get home, wait for the situation with Canon to resolve.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kennedy Anne update

She's beautiful. She's amazing. She's small but growing and gaining weight. Granma is absolutely enthralled and Granpa is jealous. I won't get to hold her until at least September. I can't wait.

What a cutey! There are more pictures of Kennedy Anne on the Flickr site. I think Kennedy Anne will get her own Flickr site when Granma comes home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Killing the reef

These three guys were standing on the reef next to the entrance to Blue Hole. When I swam up and politely (yes, really politely) asked them not to stand on the reef because it's a living creature, the pale face on the left flipped me the bird!!!

These people were sitting on the reef right at the entrance to Blue Hole. They were talking to a diver who was standing on the reef in full dive gear. Not only were they killing the reef, they blocked the entrance so no one could get in or out of Blue Hole. They seemed totally nonchalant about the fact that people were waiting on both sides and couldn't get through.

I am appalled by the ignorance about the reef. I know it's not just here but so many people here don't seem to care that they are destroying a huge resource. I know part of it is truly ignorance. Many people really think it's just rock and so it's okay to stand on it. They don't know it's a colony of living creatures and that every time they touch it, they kill a piece of it. But what really galls me is the attitude of the three guys above: even when they are told (politely) about the reef, they still don't care. They flip me off because somehow I've interfered with their fun.

It's illegal here to fish with a speargun while SCUBA diving. A dive instructor friend confronted a spearfishing diver a couple of weeks ago. Our friend asked, "Do you know it's illegal to have speargun while SCUBA diving?" The guys response? A shrug of his shoulders and "I don't care." And the Dept. of Natural Resources doesn't do anything about it. I talked to them once about the spearfishing issue and they said "We have to see it. We have to catch them in the act." These are the same guys who won't even get out of their cars to enforce the no-camping-on-the-beach laws on holiday weekends. Fat chance they're ever going to catch a spearfishing diver.

It irks me. It makes me mad. And it makes me sad. But I'm glad I'm here now to see this the way it now. We can't turn back the clock to what was, but we can enjoy and do our best to protect what is.

Enough rant for now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The outside reef

Although it's been pretty choppy the last few days with with wind-driven swells, the ocean is pretty calm this time of year. We can usually get to the outside of the reef fairly often so we've been snorkeling and diving out there every chance we get. As amazing as it is on the inside reef, the outside reef is that much more amazing. There are caves and canyons through the reef. Swimming through them is like doing airplane fly-bys through canyons in the American Southwest. There are even areas that remind me of the desert Southwest: flat corals covered with brown sand, fan and finger corals sticking up like cacti from the desert. But this beautiful underwater-world is exactly the opposite of a desert, which is defined by a lack of water.

Colors seem sharper, more intense on the outside reef as well. I don't know why that is, but I see colors in fish that I don't see in the same fish on the inside.

And there are different fish on the outside. Almost immediately, we saw black durgon and huge adult French angelfish. We don't see them inside. We saw a couple of big yellowtail snapper and sea turtles and and and. We love it out there. I tried to go out today but it was too rough by the time I got out. Right now we have to get out early to beat the wind-swells. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sis

She's a long way away and we don't talk nearly as much as we should. But today is my sister's birthday.

Sis, I just want you to know I think about you much MUCH more often than I ever write, or call. I care about you much more than you'll ever know. I love you.

Happy birthday.

Love, Bubba

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Belated congratulations to two special friends

A couple of weeks ago - June 18th to be exact - our friends Obeth and Widi celebrated their first wedding anniversary at Lola's. They actually started out somewhere else and then said, "No - we should be at Lola's!" And so they came to Lola's to celebrate. I took this beautiful informal anniversary portrait of two beautiful people and promised I'd post it.

Belatedly - Obeth and Widi, congratulations from me, Elaine, and all of us at Lola's! May you have many many more years of beautiful happy marriage.

And thanks for sharing your special day with us.

Here is a "bonus" picture from that evening.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

First photos

Kennedy Anne Stockdale
born 070307, 4:20 pm
5 lb, 15 oz, 19 inches long

Isn't she BEAUTIFUL?!?!?! Not that I'm prejudiced...

Happy 4th

We hope everyone had a safe, happy, fun 4th of July.

The beaches here were crowded for the holiday. Roads around the beaches were packed. Both sides of Rt. 466 for a three mile stretch were parked solid.

I wanted to KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) Playa Jobos but I couldn't get close. This is Playa Montones looking west toward Jobos.

There are more pics of Montones and Playa Shacks on Flickr. Enjoy! and feel free to leave comments.

Pics of Kennedy Anne coming soon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We're back

After more than a week of internet access that ranged from non-existent to extremely limited, Choice Cable finally got somebody out who could find and fix the problem. WOO-HOO!

The big news here is actually news from Michigan: We are brand new grandparents! Our daughter Amy had a baby girl yesterday afternoon. No details or pictures yet, but mother and baby Kennedy Anne are doing fine. Elaine is on her way to Michigan to be with them. I'll know more when I talk to her but that won't be 'til later - she's been traveling all night.

In the meantime, we've been busy here. Elaine has been taking care of her horse, Chocolate, and spending a lot of time with Amber and Jazz. I've been diving as much as possible, wrapping up my SCUBA certification and practicing UW photography. Some of the latest shots are up on Flickr.

And Lola's has been busy. This Saturday some friends are bringing food to serve. Why? Just for fun, because they can. We'll put pictures up after the party.

BTW - Happy 4th of July! Have fun and be safe.