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."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Holidays in Puerto Rico

I've written before that we Puerto Ricans love our holidays! In fact, we love everybody's holidays! This is a very special week in Puerto Rico. This week has three holidays, a fact I forgot yesterday when I went to take care of some government related business and found the offices closed. Oh, yeah! It's a holiday!

The sad thing is, my totally informal, totally unscientific survey of a dozen or so people found not one person who knew what the holiday was about. So in the interest of free information, here's the run-down of this week's holidays:

Yesterday celebrated the birthday of Don Luis Muñoz Rivera (1859–1916). Don Luis was a prominent journalist, poet, and politician who advocated independence from Spain and later, the United States. His son Luis Muñoz Marín was the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico. This holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of July.

Saturday, July 25, is one of the biggest holidays in PR, Commonwealth Constitution Day. It used to be called Occupation Day, "celebrating" the landing of U.S. troops at Guánica in 1898. Because the "real day" falls on Saturday, government offices and banks will be closed on Friday. this is a big enough holiday that, even though it is not a U.S. Federal holiday, the U.S. post offices here on the island are closed for the day. So, no mail on Saturday.

July 27 is the third holiday this week, celebrating the birthday of Dr. José Celso Barbosa (1857–1921). Dr. Barbosa was a medical doctor and an early advocate of statehood, founder of the Republican Party on the Island.

So there you have it, the week of three holidays. There is a rumor that there are three holidays in this one week to make up for the fact there are no holidays in August. August and June are the only months that do not have official holidays. (June has Noche de San Juan/Night of St. John, which is a de facto but not official holiday.) Maybe my birthday in June can become a holiday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Apollo 11

It's one of those moments: if you were there, you'll never forget where you were. Forty years ago two American astronauts landed on the moon.

I was 18, not quite two months out of high school. I had to leave for work at 5:30 on Monday morning, but my parents and sister and I stayed glued to the TV in our living room, watching the final approach on Sunday afternoon, the landing and finally Neil Armstrong's first steps a little after 11:00 pm. I stayed up until well after midnight Sunday night, watching Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounce around on the moon. In those days there was a lot of empty time to fill (it was a nearly seven hours after the landing before Armstrong came out of the lander) and reporters like Walter Cronkite kept us up to date and entertained and informed.

I followed the space program from the beginning. When I was in the second grade, I watched - on a tiny black and white TV - the launch of Alan Shepherd's tiny Mercury capsule ("you didn't so much get into it as you put it on") for a little 15-minute hop. Then we waited while the Navy searched for his capsule, a teeny speck floating in the Atlantic, and then pulled him safely on board a helicopter.

I was home sick the day NASA launched John Glenn into orbit. If I hadn't been sick, I might have missed that launch. As it turned out, I saw every manned launch through Mercury, Gemini and the Apollo program. Yes, I saw the launch of Apollo 13. I was in college then. We only had a few TV's on campus (no cable TV in every dorm room, in fact no cable TV at all!) and it was harder to keep up. But we did. We waited with the rest of the world for the astronauts return.

The space program was in a way a diversion, a distraction, from the horrors - on both sides of the Pacific [how ironic is that] of the Vietnam war. But at the same time it was a reminder of the awesome power of the human spirit, of what we can accomplish when we work together. It was a reminder of our apparently insatiable need to explore, to find out what's out there, to go there, even if the motivation is as simple as greed (money is why Columbus sailed west after all).

For those of you too young to have seen the Apollo 11 landing, you'll have your unforgettable moments. I'm glad this is one of mine.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

class reunion is this weekend

My 40th high school class reunion is this weekend. I will be here, at Ola Lola's, not in Milford, Ohio, but I will be thinking of everybody at the reunion.

It's kinda strange. Maybe it's an age thing, but I have more interest in connecting with classmates now than I ever have before. As plans for the reunion have come together, I've connected with a number of people from back in the dark ages and that's been really interesting and a lot of fun.

I hope everyone has a great time this weekend. Thanks to Shirley and Vicki and everyone else who have worked so hard to make this weekend happen. Sorry I can't make it. (I am more than a little amazed at just how sorry I am that I can't get there.) Since plans are to make this an annual thing, maybe next year!

And yes, that's what I looked like 41 years ago (our senior pictures were taken in August of the year before we graduated). Do I see hair on top of the head?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reef Squid

We've seen reef squid while snorkeling the past few days. We LOVE the reef squid! They are beautiful and so much fun to watch. They usually travel in pods - we've seen as many as 24 together. The video is of a pod of babies, guys about three inches long.

They were in about 18 inches of water, just a few feet from the shore. There were probably 5o people in the water within 20 feet of these little guys, totally oblivious to what was there, just under the water a few feet away. Of course the squid were (mostly) oblivious to the people too.

There are more new reef squid pictures and some older ones as well on Flickr.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It was good to see you back, Scott

Zan's friend Scott was back in PR at the end of June. He arranged his business trip schedule to be in PR when Ola Lola's was open - and so he could play golf at Royal Isabela Golf Club as our friend Stanley's guest. Thanks, Scott! We truly appreciate that kind of customer loyalty! It was good to see you back again.

Speaking of Royal Isabela, we are working on a date for the Second One and Only Ola Lola Open Golf Classic. We'll let you know as plans unfold.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Happy birthday, Angel!

Today is our granddaughter Angel's birthday. (This picture, with her dad Steve) was taken when they visited Puerto Rico in June.) She is four years old today!

Happy Birthday to our Angel. We love you!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Busy week

Happy birthday to my baby sister. We love you and miss you. Hope today (and every day!) is a wonderful awesome day for you. Come visit soon!

It was a very busy weekend at Ola Lola's (woo-hoo!!) and we're just getting caught up. Still lots to do to get ready for this coming weekend!

More tomorrow.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Hey, now - you're a rockstar...

and you are so-o two! Happy birthday, Kennedy Anne! Today is your second birthday. Hope it's fun and full of sun and joy. We love you, baby girl!

And a belated birthday to our friends Alison and Jason K., both of whom added a stripe yesterday. Happy birthday!