Monday, November 30, 2009

Mary's (and John's) Birthday

On Saturday we had a "Surprise - it's not really your birthday" party for Mary Scott. We planned a little surprise party for her on her birthday, which was actually the Monday before. However, the surprise was on us: Mary was in New York! So we had a great time in her honor. Then on Saturday, we actually got to celebrate with her. We gave Mary the sombrero because - as the guest of honor - she deserved the biggest hat. All the rest of us wore hats too (supplied by Lacy), but somewhat smaller ones. A special Motown (Mary's favorite) mix of tunes was the music of the evening, including some songs like "My Girl" with lyrics rewritten especially for Mary.

And, to add to the Saturday celebration we also surprised our friend, John Delametter whose birthday was two days later. John got to wear the sombrego while he was lauded with "Happy Birthday" and "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" with lyrics written by Elaine especially for him. Everyone did a lot of laughing and helping to sing along. And, of course, there was yummy birthday cake. Evenings like that bring so many smiles to Ola Lola's. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Just a couple of photos from Thanksgiving at Marisol and JR's house. I hope we don't ever get so blasé that we take parties like this one for granted. We had amazing good food and we have amazing good friends. It is always such a good time getting together at their house. Thank you, Marisol and JR for opening your home and your hearts for all of us.

In the Thanksgiving post I said there would be more to give thanks for so here comes another one. We are so grateful to Dr. Lamela and his wife Lilly for allowing us to keep Chocolate and Sahara on their property. They had family staying in their house over the Thanksgiving weekend. Since people were in and out, we moved Sahara into a stall we built next to Ola Lola's and moved Chocolate on the other side of our house. It worked okay but shuffling the horses around reminded us of what a fantastic gift we have to be able to keep our horses safe and near. Thank you, Dr. Lamela!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. No matter where you are today, there is something to be thankful for.

Me, I am eternally grateful for my amazing wonderful beautiful wife Elaine (and she is grateful for the best guy in the universe, ME!); for our five amazing children; our three and 5/9ths grandchildren; for family even though they are spread from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest; for all our wonderful friends in all our "communities" - kites, horses,diving, neighbors, festivals, Ola Lola's; for our fabulous Vizslas Amber and Jazz; for the Chocolate and for the opportunity to help another (equine) being, Sahara; for the unbelievable gift of being able to live in a place like this, our home. Thank you, Universe. Thank you, Guardian Angels. Happy Thanksgiving.

Bj, Carrie, Steve, Angel, Alex, Amy, Kennedy, Miguel, Jason, Sara, Katie, Jill, Jason, Erin, Jonah, Jason, Jen, Savannah, Jason, Trudy, Marisol, JR, Armani, Kalani, Lisa, Kurt, George, Mary, Tito, Tito, Jim, Linda, Amy, Dan, Shawna, James, Annie, Phil, Julie, Nikki, Ryan, Kenzie, Jordan, Matt, Mary, Roger, Cathy, Gary, Ben, Annie, Jack, Maggie, David, Zan, Susan, Trevor, Jen, Jackie, Jess, Andy, Natassia, Michael, John, Darryl, Ann, Dan, Josh Zach, Elizabeth, Russ, Kate, Alex, Eric, Dorothy, Woody, Kathy, Paul, Scott, Sarah, Lacy, Mae, Albert, Ron, Tina, Stanley, Charlie, Pat, Charlie...more to come.

We are SO lucky - and SO grateful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sahara - Week Two

This morning, on the beach:

Today was the end of week two with Sahara. She and Chocolate are now total buds. She follows him like a shadow. Because the doctor who owns the property behind us where Chocolate and Sahara stay has family coming for the weekend, we built Sahara a little corral - okay, a biggish stall - in a corner of our yard. We can tie Chocolate on the other side (like we did the month or so until the fence got fixed) but Sahara isn't rope-trained yet. She gets all tangled up. And that's dangerous for her and for whoever goes in to free her. So tonight we put her in her new stall to feed her and get her used to it. It's right next to the barport so we put on the lights and the music so she can get used to that too. The whole hour-and-a-half or two hours she was gone, Chocolate snorted and ran around and nickered for her. When he's out of the yard, she stands at the gate and nickers for him. And we thought it was going to be hard for us to give her up! (Assuming of course we ever do decide to give her up.)

Sahara continues to improve. She's showing signs of filling out. Her ribs are less pronounced, the ridge above her eyes is filling in, and she's starting to get a butt. Her energy levels are getting better as well. She's friskier, brighter.

We had a couple of mishaps at feeding time this week. Bottom line, I got kicked twice. Neither time was especially hard but the second kick left a pretty good bruise on my thigh. But we've since worked out some strategies to deal with feeding and we haven't had any more problems.

Elaine has been laid up with a bad ankle so I've ridden Chocolate a couple of times this week. I do understand why she loves it. I'm not nearly as good a rider as she is so I don't work him the way she does. Yesterday we rode on good long way on the beach and it was beautiful. Elaine and I are both looking forward to having a second horse so we can ride together. Sahara won't be that second horse for a long, long time.

There are more pictures of Sahara and Chocolate on our Flickr site.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today is the 46th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For trivia buffs, JFK was 46 when he was killed. That makes today something special in the Great Conspiracy Theory (but I don't know what).

For those of you old enough to remember: Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? It's one of those moments I think everyone remembers vividly. I was in the 7th grade in Mrs. Oligee's room, lined up to go home for the day when there was an announcement the President had been shot. I can still remember the way the room looked, the tall windows, even the color of the walls. I walked home crying, stopping in the office where my mother worked. Everyone there just sat in stunned silence.

I remember hearing the news that at a nearby elementary school kids actually applauded in class when it was announced that the President had been killed. Even then I was struck by how horrific that was. Whether you like or agree with the President or not, assassination is the worst possible means of changing a regime, no matter where you are but especially here in the U.S. I mean, I HATED Richard Nixon. I wanted him out of office but I never wanted him killed (for one thing it would have meant Spiro Agnew would have been President).

Was JFK a great President? I don't know. He sure made his share of mistakes (Bay of Pigs anyone? Although to be fair, the Bay of Pigs invasion strategy was developed under Eisenhower.). But he was an amazing presence during the Cuban Missile Crisis, reassuring, strong, during one of the scariest times in history. (BTW - The word is the Cuban Missile Crisis was not really about Russian nuclear missiles 90 miles from Florida. It was more about Russian nukes 200 nautical miles from what was then Ramey Air Force Base and is now the airport in Aguadilla and Roosevelt Roads naval base near San Juan. In 1962 Ramey Base was an important B-52 base. But from a public relations standpoint, going toe-to-toe with the Soviets with Florida as the target was much more impressive than if the target were Puerto Rico.) And much of what we now call the Civil Rights Movement gained support and momentum in the three short years of his presidency. On the other hand, so did our involvement in Vietnam.

I wish he had lived to fulfill the promise of "Camelot." Who knows how the world might be different today? Had he survived, he would be 92 today. Instead we will always remember him as young, vibrant, athletic (despite his chronically bad back).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sahara - Week One update

Sahara has been with us for a week now, as of yesterday. She already looks better. Still way too skinny obviously, but looking better. Her eyes are brighter and clearer. She has more energy.

We take her for daily walks on the beach now to get her some gentle exercise and to get her used to the ocean and to walking on a lead. The first day we took her to the beach she was okay with the sand but pretty freaked out by the water and the waves. Yesterday, her third day of walking on the beach, she stood her ground in the waves and was much more curious about the salt water. You can see she is already starting to get a little muscle tone in her back legs. Coming back from the beach we actually broke into a gentle trot.

She had her hooves trimmed yesterday for only the second time in two-and-a-half years. Boy, did she need that! Joey, our ferrier, said her hooves are soft, probably from malnutrition but they MAY get stronger as her nutrition and general health improves. We'll have to wait an see about that. For now she's getting lots of grain laced with vitamins, carrots, and corn oil. She also is free to wander and graze with Chocolate.

Chocolate is starting to get over his jealousy. For her part, Sahara follows Chocolate around like a shadow. Another horse went by on the road yesterday and Chocolate decided to show off, running and galloping around the property. Sahara ran right after him, not as fast obviously, but following him around. It was fun to watch and really wonderful to see Sahara with that much energy. A week ago she was listless and would barely walk, let alone trot or run.

There is still a long road ahead, but at least she (and we!) are moving along in the right direction.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birthdays birthdays birthdays and other celebrations

And I am so far behind posting them!

Last night we had a great surprise birthday party for Miguel. (For those who don't know, Miguel is our daughter Amy's significant other.) Miguel had not experienced a surprise party before so we did an Ola Lola's kid's birthday party - complete with peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, three kinds of chips and toy party favors. Thanks to all the family and friends who joined us to celebrate and make this a special day for Miguel. And a special thank you to Miguel's mother and brother who came for the party. It was our first opportunity to meet them. Happy Birthday, Miguel.

Last Friday (yeah, like a week ago!) we celebrated our new friend Heidi's birthday. Heidi (that's Heidi in the photo) moved to the island for work just in time to get a surprise birthday celebration at Ola Lola's. Last night we also had the pleasure of meeting Heidi's mother, Brenda Welcome to the island, Heidi! And happy birthday.

While we were celebrating Heidi's birthday on the 6th, we also celebrated our friend and once-and-future co-worker Mae's birthday. Unfortunately (for Mae and for us), Mae is in the States and not here on the island. Hope she had a great time on her birthday wherever she was. We celebrated in her honor in her absence. Happy birthday, Mae! Come home soon.

Last but far from least on Halloween night we celebrated our good friend David's birthday. David was home in California, no doubt celebrating a quiet romantic evening with his beautiful bride. Or - more likely - at one of his famous Halloween/birthday blow-out parties. Whichever it was, we hope David had a wonderful birthday. We certainly had a great time on his birthday!

And we did have a Halloween party this year, on Friday, the 30th, rather than on Halloween night. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the party.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One-day reprieve

The past month or so has been kind of an odd transition from snorkel/dive season to surf season, It's been odd because until the last week, it really hasn't been very good for either. It's been too rough and churned up for any good snorkeling or diving but the waves haven't been really good for surfing either. Last week we got some good waves - you can see lots of photos on our website, and some on Flickr. Then yesterday we got a one-day reprieve to go snorkeling for the first time in weeks. And it's the first time Elaine has been in the water since she fell and fractured her cheekbone weeks ago. Darryl actually went diving. Going in the ocean is like going to a spa. It is relaxing, soothing for mind, body and soul. When I'm away from it for too long (and this has bee WAY too long), I get crazy. But I'm better now. An hour soak in the ocean yesterday helped.

Today the swell is back so I'm headed out to see if I can find any surfers to photograph. Those photos (if I find any) will be up tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meet Sahara

Sahara is our new rescue horse. She's a two-year-old Paso Fino who desperately needs care and lots of TLC. (She's come to the right place! Finally...)

Sahara was originally owned by a man named Pete. Peter is a pretty gentle soul who owned a number of horses. He helped out around the Ramey Riding Club. And then he lost his job. He had to give up his horses. He gave Sahara to a guy, thinking he'd found her a good home. When he went to check on her, he found her in this sad state. Even though he really couldn't take care of her properly, Pete figured Sahara was better off with him than at the "new" place so he took her back. Our friend Lisa approached us about taking her. One look was all it took.

Lisa knew Sahara before things got bad; in fact Lisa has known her since birth. Lisa says she's a really sweet horse who can become a great horse. Right now she's scared, out of shape, skinny and a little skittish (who wouldn't be?). We were going to take her several weeks ago but when the fence on the property where we keep Chocolate got run over in the middle of the night (by a guy who says he wasn't drinking), we had no safe place to keep her. We've been keeping Chocolate tied on a rope since the accident but Sahara isn't rope-trained yet.

Yesterday Peter brought Sahara down to us. We kept her in our yard yesterday and last night. Today the guys repaired the fence. It's not done yet but it's safe enought to let Chocolate and Sahara loose in the pasture.

This is the first time (I think) Sahara has been allowed to roam loose. She's mostly been kept in a stall with a small yard around it. As I said, she needs lots of attention, lots of work, before much training starts.

We're not sure about the long term, whether we will keep her. For now, our job is to take care of her, get her heathy and strong and begin training her to get some muscle-tone on her. After that, we'll see. Stay tuned here for updates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Far far behind

I don't know how I got so far behind in writing this blog. I think this is the longest I've ever gone without a post. Way too long! To those who check this regularly - and who have just about given up! - I apologize. I confess that now that we're on Facebook, I wind up using that as a kind of shorthand. It's easy to post something quick and dirty and let it go at that. But I really will try to get back to posting some longer thoughts/news here on a much more regular basis.

It's not that there is nothing to write about - there is still lots to write about. Although after three years (almost) living here some things have become routine, living here is still a great adventure! We continue to meet new people every week. For example, this week we met two families from North Dakota. Both of the young women were born here, in Isabela, but now they live in ND. Talk about culture shock! I hope I get to talk with them a little more to find out what their story is. Last night a couple from Boston came back to Ola Lola's for their second time. Sunday night they came for drinks; last night they came back for dinner. Hannah was the first one to order Elaine's famous (infamous?) peanut butter-and-sweet-relish burger. It sounds like a strange combination, but she loved it!

And we get to reconnect with our extended Ola Lola family. Our friends David and Stanley (from Royal Isabela Golf Club) have been here this weekend. It's always great to see them. Brian and Alfred and Larry are here to kite surf take advantage of the trade winds and the first big surf swell of the season. Since the waves are big but pretty disorganized, I suspect Charlie will be out with his kite today as well. We do miss Eric and Poppy though. I could pretty much count on Eric being out any time there was wind. Oh yeah, we miss their company and friendship too.

Much more to come - people, places, updates from Lola's Corner and beyond. Stay tuned.