Wednesday, January 30, 2019

MARIA log January 30 Day 131 Tuesday

Tuesday, January 30, day 131

Almost finished the new field today. I just need to run more wire and two more fields will be usable.

Had a good workout with Chocolate today. The new plan seems to be working. Of course, they all do for three or four days.

No rain today. Less windy but still quite cool.

NOW: Paid the property taxes on the farm today. Sunny, cool in the morning but warming nicely. No rain. Except for one day, we've had no rain for almost six weeks. Worrying about all our family and friends up north. Air temps are as low as -30 and wind chills are down around -50. So grateful for 81 degrees and 10 mph wind.

MARIA log, January 29 Day 130 Monday

Monday, January 29 day 130

Rainy, cold, windy morning.

We got the truck back, It was "only" a rusted brake like so we didn't have to have a full brake job.

We had a date night! Well, date afternoon really. We went to Mayaquez to get more fence posts. Then we went to see The Greatest Showman. Good movie. There is a dance scene, a pas de duex, on ropes that is one of the most amazing things I've seen. Some other really good numbers as well. I never thought of P.T. Barnum as a sympathetic character though. I always thought of him as a shyster and a creep, a manipulator. I need to look up more about him.

NOW: Turns out Barnum pretty much was a shyster and a creep and not very sympathetic.
No rain today. Or yesterday. Or the day before.

NOW January 28, 2019

What a day! I headed to Rincon to dive with Rincon Diving and Snorkeling. My dive buddy Darryl is working there now. As I pulled out, I realized I had a flat tire - again. That tire has been patched at least four times. It's just done with it. So, before I could go on my dive adventure, I had a
change-the-tire (again) adventure.

We've dove on the wall in Rincon before. I love that wall. It's a good swim out to get to it but it is a shore dive, no boats. Anyway, I knew that part of diving in Rincon.

There is a reef that Darryl learned about after he started working with Rincon diving he wanted me to see. "I know you want to see this. You didn't know you wanted to see it, but I know you do." He was so right! The reef (and the area/beach) is called Stella. It's a hundred yards or so off the beach. It is gorgeous!

It looks like Hurricane Maria didn't even touch it, unlike Natural and Crashboat. (I still haven't dove Shacks yet so I don't know what it looks like.) Lots and lots of healthy soft corals, sea fans and gorgonians. Schools of healthy fish of many many species. Tube sponges and barrel sponges, both of which were wiped out at Natural and Crashboat. In fact it reminds us both of Natural before Maria. We saw four turtles and a Southern stingray lounging on the bottom. The reef is fairly shallow; our maximum depth was 40 feet. At that depth, even on a cloudy day like we had, colors are amazing. Stella is on the Caribbean side of the line so the water is very blue. (It is weird: it's like there is a line in the water between the Caribbean and the Atlantic. You can actually see the change when you cross it.)

This was kind of a whirlwind tour of the reef so I could learn where it is and get a sense of it's size and layout so I can come back with other divers. As a consequence, I did not take a lot of photos. There is so much there to explore! We could easily do three dives on reef and not see it all. It is also a fabulous second shallow dive after doing a deep dive on the wall. I will most definitely be back.

And if you're coming to PR and want to dive Stella, check out Rincon Diving and Snorkeling on Facebook or their website, You can even book your dive right online. If you need a dive buddy, call me!

How did I not know about Stella before? I don't know but I know about it now! I can't wait for the next flat, no-wave day in Rincon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

MARIA log January 28 Day 129 Sunday

Sunday, January 28, day 129

The high winds are  knocking out power in areas that have power back. All of the Ramey area (where Carole and Rolf live) and most of the Hwy 110 corridor are powerless. People are a little panic-y. Talk about hurricane flashbacks!

One advantage of not having power is you can't lose it.

Had to rent a car so we can take the truck in to get brakes fixed.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

MARIA log January 27 Day 128 Saturday

Saturday January 27 day 128

Crazy blustery very windy rainy cloudy night-day-night again. Sideways rain.

We're having hurricane-flashbacks listening to the wind howling, the pounding driving rain, things banging in the wind. It's only 20-25 mph, not 150 - 200 mph, but it still sounds like wind. I wonder how the people still living in tents and under tarps are dealing with this.

The brakes went out on the truck today. Fortunately everybody is safe.

We couldn't go to Carole's tonight because of the truck so we made dinner at home. It was the worst dinner we've had since the hurricane! (And that's saying something.) Start with the backpacker "mesquite chicken and rice." Red blob that tasted like bad bottled smoke flavoring. If you just hiked up 10,000 feet, it would probably taste great. Here, not so much. (I never did much like backpacker food, even when I was backpacking a fair amount.)

Then on to the military MRE - Meal Ready to Eat. I've written before about MREs, how they were passed out with English-only instructions to a mostly Spanish speaking population.

Elaine is one of the three smartest people I know. I'm a reasonably intelligent person. We are both fluent native English speakers. It took us 10 minutes to figure out how the use the MRE. No wonder many people kept the candy and peanut butter and threw the "meal" away.

While we waited for the MRE spaghetti to "cook," we checked out the rest of the packet. The crackers were multi-denominational. They would serve equally well in soup or chili, or as communion wafers, or at Passover.

But here's the really scary part: the Skittles had congealed into a single mass.

We looked at the expiration date (we didn't know Skittles even had an expiration date?!): March, 2016, That means the Skittles had expired a year-and-a-half before Hurricane Maria!

I wonder if Houston and Florida got old expired MREs after Harvey and Irma. I will leave it to you to decide where Puerto Rico fits in the scheme of things.

MARIA log January 26 Day 127 Friday

Friday, January 26 day 127

We had a long wonderful talk with Tom and Kathe Deck to long=time friends from the Mainland today. It was really really good to talk with them.

Rain on and off all day. Big winds - okay, 20-25 mph. Not really so big.

Since we have a generator, we can use the computer and Internet. We're hoping to reestablish some communication and I want to start processing photos. Of course the computer isn't working right so I took in to the shop. They said we need a new fan, which they have to order. That concerns me since we had the same problem and supposedly replaced the fan back in November. It's only been turned on three or four times since then. But we gotta get it fixed.

Elaine locked the keys in the truck - with it running - at Carole's tonight. I had to take Carole's van, drive home, get the spare key, then drive back to Carole's to get Elaine and the truck. Carole thought that was the funniest thing ever. Yeah, ha ha!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

MARIA log January 24 Day 125 Wednesday

Wednesday January 24 day 125

Rainy blustery dawn.

Good workout with Chocolate today. We actually rode a little bit. While we were riding, we saw Raquel (the woman who owns the property). Her son, daughter-in-law, and grand-daughters were visiting. Raquel asked if the girls could come see the horses.

Of course! Would they like to ride? Oh, yes!

Andrea is seven. She was nervous but let me pick her up and put her on Zip. She grabbe the saddle horn i a death grip. We walked down the road a bit, Marie leading Zip and be walking along side Andrea started to relax a little. Then a smile. Then a HUGE smile!

Victoria is two-and-a-half. She hid behind her mother at the mere sight of these huge beasts. I don't know which was bigger - Choclate or Victoria's eyes.

Elaine and Maria (Andrea and Victoria's mother) coaxed her out of hiding. She petted Chocolate then they put her on him. With me again as a side-walker on one side and Maria on the other side, we took a little walk.

WE all felt pretty good about it so we walked the girls on horse back back to Raquel's house at the end of the property. It was time to dismount and say goodbye for the day.

Andrea looked sad but Victoria cried. "Don't want to get off! Want the caballo!"

Both girls loved it. Both parents were beaming. And Abuela Raquel? She had a face-splittng smile. She was so happy - with her grand-kids, with her kids with the horses, with us.

Cesar (Raquel's son) and Maria told us how much Raquel appreciate us, how much she appreciates having the horses on the property. Cesar even broached the idea that somewhere down the line we could do lessons on the property.

Wow! You can't buy that kind of goodwill. You can only earn in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MARIA log January 23 Day 124 Tuesday

Tuesday, January 23 day 124

Hot on the heals of our FEMA rejection, we went to fill out forms for Small business Administration loans, one for the house, one for the business. Don't know if anything will come of it but it's worth investing a few hours of time.

We din not even know about the SBA loans until Elaine spent the time in Ohio contacting FEMA. Information is still sketchy, limited, incomplete, or simply not available. And mush of the information that is available is just plain wrong. With so much of the island still without power and Internet, the main sources of information are still the coconut telegraph and the gas station. Not much has been done to improve the dissemination of information. FEMA, et al are still relying on the modern, still not-functioning methods of communication.

Rain in the early pre-dawn this morning. Grateful.

MARIA log January 22 Day 123 Monday

Monday, January 22 day 123

We got a rejection letter from FEMA today. Our home is habitable so we don't qualify for any assistance. The irony is last week we got a letter from FEMA saying because of damage to our home, we qualified for whatever-they-call the assistance to move you into a hotel/motel until your dwelling can be made habitable. Oh, the wonder and vagaries of FEMA.

Monday, January 21, 2019

NOW January 21, 2019

Last night was a full moon (the Wolf Moon) and a lunar eclipse. We walked up to the top of the rock above Secret Spot to watch the eclipse. It was a fun adventure date. To be honest, we didn't stay for the full eclipse; it wasn't total until almost 2:00 am here. (We're on Atlantic Standard Time; we don't switch to Daylight Saving Time so right now we're an hour a head of the East Coast of the U.S.)

I did try something I've wanted to try for a long time: land/seascapes under a full moon. Not quite sure what I was expecting, but this is what I got. Interesting.

MARIA log January 21, day 122 Sunday

Sunday, January 21 day 122

Lots of good work with the horses this morning!

"In case you are wondering - one easy was to begin is to clearly end the thing you know is not working."  --Brian Andres, Story People

"You can fool horses and can't lie to them. They will hear what you think long before you say anything and if you what yous say is different from what you think, they will believe what you think every time."

"Change the plan, not the goal."

NOW January 20, 2019 First scuba dive of the year

Almost three weeks into the year and I just got in my first dive. Only about one day a week so far this year has been suitable for diving. The sand that washed away in Maria a year-and-a-half ago still hasn't returned to beaches like Natural. Even with sand, that entry can be sketchy. Without sand at the rocky entry and exit point it is dangerous if there more than little waves. It's hard to dive, to use fins, with a broken ankle. That really only leaves Crashboat if there are any waves at all. I like Crashboat but so far the "one day a week" available has been loaded with commitments at home or with the horses. Also all my dive buddies for one reason or another have been unavailable. Again, until I get proper gear (i.e., a extra personal air tank called a "pony" tank), Crashboat is about the only option for solo diving.  (Want some cheese with that whine? Get over it!)

Today I said, "I'm going!" and I did. Crashboat. Solo. It was a good relaxed dive. The best, most surprising part of the dive was finding an I-beam in the wreckage covered with hundreds of tiny Christmas tree tube worms. Notoriously shy, Christmas tree worms tend t pop back into their tubes at the slightest disturbance in the water around them. I first noticed them popping back into their tubes, like a video of popcorn running in reverse. Enough stayed out, not disturbed by my presence, to get this picture.

I could have hung around, quietly waiting for more to pop back out but there were so many other divers in the water, crashing around, even these didn't stay out too long.

I love Mother Ocean. I love everything about her. I love her beauty, I love her colors. I love her life. I love her moods, even when she's big and dark and angry.

Since we moved to the other side of Isabela in July, and especially in the time since Coda Bear arrived, I've explored more of the coast here. The more of it I - we, Coda and I - explore, the more I love it and the more I find to explore. I just uploaded a bunch of new seascape photos to Flickr. There is some really good stuff there. Take a moment and check them out. Thanks!

And thanks for continuing to read this! Please feel free to share it with your friends.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

MARIA log January 20 Day 121 Saturday

Saturday, January 20 Saturday

Rain overnight. Yay!

We went to Rincon today to look at a car. We were driving it back to our mechanic to check it out. On the way, an engine seal split, leaking all the coolant, and blew the head gasket. It had to be towed. Guess we're not buying that one.

Best moment today: I made fish tacos with a ton of cole slaw at Carole's for dinner. Yum!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

MARIA log January 19 Day 120 Friday

Friday, January 19 day `120

We spent most of today getting information together for the SBA loan application.

Elaine and I spent a long time talking about working with horses,my working with Chocolate in particular.

I am so confused! I get conflicting, sometimes opposing, advice from my mentors. Sometimes something works for a day or a session or two. Then Chocolate and I revert to this dance we do.

I have clear vision of what I want: I want him to circle me on a longe line. It is a basic teaching/training exercise. I believe I'm asking him clearly, indicating clearly what I'm asking him to do. He can do it! He knows.

And then it all falls apart. He gets stubborn and won't move or he backs away or spins around.

My confusion is obviously affecting and confusing him. I really want to find a way to work this out. I'm frustrated with myself for not knowing enough to work through this. And honestly, I'm frustrated with Elaine and Marie for conflicting advice.

No rain today.

NOW: Interesting that I'm copying this from my journal from a year ago. Today Elaine and I had another intense "training day" - for me, not for Chocolate. Just have to keep at it, to be more consistent.

No rain today either.

Friday, January 18, 2019

MARIA log January 18 Day 117 Thursday

Thursday January 18, day 117

I have absolutely no idea what we did today. According to Mylo, it doesn't matter.

MARIA log January 17 Day 116 Wednesday

Wednesday, January 17 day 117

A busy day today.

Our friends Dale and Carolyn came over to pick up their car. They let us borrow it while they were off-island. At some point the discussion turned to electric and water, both of which they have at their house. They also have a generator they are not using that we can borrow.

We had our usual discussion about having a generator, the same conversation we have every time the power goes off. This time the discussion was tempered by the fact that we have not had electricity for four months and it might be two more months before we get it restored.

I have to say being one of the few who stuck it out without electricity or a generator for four months is kind of a badge of honor. Like people who live through winter in the north: we're tough. This is just how we live. This is how we roll.

We now have a generator. We can get Wee-fee (Wi-fi). We can keep food cold. Maybe the computer will work. I spent an hour plugging things in to see what worked and what didn't.

Wi-fi: yes
Computer: yes, for now
Three refrigerators: yes, yes, yes
Two microwaves: yes, yes
Washing Machine: no
Beer cooler: not sure

The generator is everything we expected it to be - loud, noisy, smelly, useful.

We talked with a rep from the Small Business Administration about post-disaster business and home-owner loans We are probably going to apply. Hey, why not?

We worked horses at the their afternoon feeding. It's kind of a plan to do that every day.

No rain until evening.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

MARIA log January 16 Day 115 Tuesday

Tuesday, January 16 day 115

This was Elaine's first morning back with her horse. We worked really really hard to treat KTJ's rainrot and to have her all clean when Elaine got home. Elaine's first sight of her - KT as a mudball! Oh, my goddess she was dirty! She had mud caked in her tail and her main. Before Elaine could work her, she had to give her a bath.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MARIA log January 15 Day 114 Monday

Monday, January 15 day 114

Put the finishing touches on cleaning the house before leaving for San Juan to pick up Elaine.

We are so grateful to Carole for letting us use her van to go to San Juan. It's SO much more comfortable than the truck.

It rained on the way to San Juan. Then I hit something in the road. I think it fell off the car in front of me. Whatever it was, it bust a tire but good. In the rain, on the side of the expressway, just before the exit to Bayamon, I changed a tire in the rain. I actually had to get out the owner's manual to find out where the tire part are stored. The spare tire is stored under the floor between the front seats and the second row seats. Yeah, I would have found it there eventually. But it's all good.

Picking up people at SJU is a cluster fuck. Too many vehicles, too many paranoid cops, not enough room. They took a ton of space out of use, I guess for "security" reasons. In the end I don't think it makes sense.

But Elaine is home! It wasn't the reunion I'd planned (because of the CF at the airport) but Sshe's home!

Carole had dinner waiting for us when we got home to return the van. Thank you, Carole!!!

Monday, January 14, 2019

NOW January 14, 2019

We had our first party/open house at the new house Sunday. Wow! What a party! More than 70 people came to check out the new digs, including our landlords. They were very impressed with what we've done and are doing with the house and the property. This place is very important to their family. While their approval isn't strictly necessary, it is sure nice to have!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who came. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. There would have been more pictures but I was too busy having fun!

And it didn't rain on our party!

MARIA log January 14 Day 113 Sunday

Sunday, January 14 day 113

Rain overnight. Lots of cleaning today - Elaine comes home tomorrow!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

MARIA log January 13 Day 112 Saturday

Saturday, January 13 day 112

Fed horses, walked with Oz, then cleaned, then Carole's for dinner. Nothing much else happened.

A little bit of rain overnight and early morning.

That is all.

MARIA log January 12 day 111 Friday

Friday, January 12 day 111

A mixed bag of a day.

I fed horses then went to meeting with the mayor, our state senator, and an engineer from the electric authority, AEE.

Bottom line - it's like Ground Hog Day. They came out of their holes and said "six more weeks of darkness."

Our area has been assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps in turn contracted with a company called Flower. Their plan of work is to restore power to a sizable neighborhood in the Isabela pueblo, then work out a road leading out of the town to an area called Coasta Brava. When that is done, they move on to repair a substation that serves us. From there they work outward from the substation, through several areas over six or seven miles, through Jobos, down the hill and finally to us.

I actually think six weeks is optimistic.

Now that we've been told what the plan is - as opposed to before when we had no information at all - several residents what to get militant, demand immediate action, call the mayor and the governor daily, exercise their (non-existent) political muscle.

You know, I think that ship has sailed. The time for that, if there was a time, was two months ago. Now there is a plan, we know what it is, and "they" are not going to change it because a few people in a sparsely populated area - even if it is a high tourist area - suddenly after four months demand it.

After that meeting, I had to pay the phone bill since they are no longer debiting the account. I had to find an Open Mobile store. There is one by Walmart. I wanted a few things there so I figured two stops with one trip.

Silly me! The Open Mobile store is no longer there. Walmart did not have any of the things I wanted. I had to drive to Aguadilla just pay the damn phone bill.

And now the truck is back in the shop. A thermostat I think.

No rain today.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

MARIA log January 11 Day 110 Thursday

Thursday, January 11 day 110

Quiet "normal" day. Fed the horses, worked Chocolate, walked Oz on the beach, made "best-ever" grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at Carole's for dinner. Rolf loved it. He ate very well!

Four days 'til Elaine comes home.

A little light rain today.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

MARIA log January 10 Day 109 Wednesday

Wednesday, January 10 day 109

"Mother Mother Ocean, I have heard you call..."

Today's excitement is brought to us by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake off the coast of Honduras. The earthquake triggered a tsunami advisory for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, pretty much all of Central America, the gulf coast of Mexico, Jamaica and Cuba. Just what we need - a tsunami!
The earthquake occurred just before 10:00 pm our time. I was almost asleep. With no electricity (so no local alert system active) I would have slept right through it. Except...

St. Jeremy is in Miami for training. He saw the news about the earthquake and the tsunami advisory o the pilots' weather system. He didn't have my number so he called Elaine in Cleveland. Just before 11:00 Elaine called me. Between us we found out that a tsunami "advisory" means the possibility of an ocean rise of .5 to 1 meter above "normal." Also, the "danger zone" for Puerto Rico would start at 1:24 AM and last about 2 hours.

I wasn't too concerned about a 1 meter wave. To be safe about 12:45 I started loading the emergency take-it-with-you stuff in the truck. To make it easier to load stuff and Oz, I moved the truck right in front of Ola Lola's half in the road with the flashers on. 

A police car with it's blue lights flashing turned down our road. I thought maybe they were coming to order us to evacuate. They stopped to investigate the truck. I ran down to tell them it was my truck, that it was ok. I asked them about the tsunami; they told me the advisory had been cancelled. YAY!

Of course I couldn't sleep. I laid in bed trying to read, listening to the ocean. I figured if a rogue tsunami came, the waves would go flat as the water receded from the beach. If it suddenly got quiet, Oz and the cat and I were out of there!

I have no idea if this is true but it sounded good at 2:00 AM.

Thank you - AGAIN!- St, Jeremy and Elaine and for cell signal!

We still have water so the shut-off rumors weren't true. The water pressure is very low though, Nothing else much happened today. Oh, no rain.

NOW: Curious - I forgot about the earthquake and the tsunami advisory until I reread and started typing this. 

MARIA log,January 19 Day 108 Tuesday

Tuesday, January 9 day 108

Music! Sweet sweet music!

Every evening we listen to music for a while at Carole's. Rolf likes to watch the music videos on YouTube. All that does is whet my appetite for more.

We had a small portable CD player but it died. I tried to replace it but there were none to be had on the island. So, using Carole's Internet and electricity, I ordered one from Amazon. It came today. Lovin' having music available!

Our hope for getting electricity back soon took a hit. Something brought down four poles around the S-curve past the the UFO (unidentified fried object) empanadilla stand. The falling poles took down electric cables and a brand new communication cable.

This afternoon the horses had some ya-yas to get out. KTJ came running down the hill throwing bucks and rearing with Chocolate and Zip right behind her. They kept this up for a while. Marie and I looked at each other and said, "I'm not being a stupid human. When y'all are done, let us know. Then we'll come in and feed."

I missed getting video of the best parts but I did get this. at the end:

They were so much fun to watch. I didn't know Chocolate could run that fast. I'm so glad they have room to stretch out like that.

The skies clouded up this afternoon. I thought we might get some rain but no-o-o-o.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

MARIA log January 8 Day 107 Monday

This guy has been hanging around in the lily pond for a couple of days. I hope he finds his way to where he needs to be 'cause this ain't the place.

A FEMA inspector came today, a very nice guy named Jesus from San Juan. (I will refrain from making Jesus jokes.)

The inspectors have a very specific scope, a very specific agenda, and they stick to it. Anything outside their purview - don't talk about it. The business? "We don't do businesses." The fence? Don't do fences. Did not want to see photos of damage, "Made note of" repairs already made, like the shutters. Didn't care about time or money spent on cleaning.

Their focus is on actual visible physical damage to your dwelling, your shelter. That's it. Anything else is beyond the scope.

We will probably get something, but not much. Ironically, the room that has the most visible damage is the room we use the least - the guest room/library/laundry room.

Since we don't have electricity, we can't assess damage to appliances. Jesus said that when the lights come on, check out the appliances. If there is a problem, FEMA will come back and do another inspection.

Anyway, that is finally moving forward.

Elaine had a good conversation with Stephanie La Vake. She and her family are still interested in buying Ola Lola's. So that is moving forward also. Slowly, but moving.

Warm, breezy, no rain.

Monday, January 07, 2019

NOW Monday, January 7, 2018

I was out with Coda Bear this morning and came home to this. It made my day. This kind of trust with a horse does not come easily.

Sunny breezy still no rain. Big waves coming tomorrow. Sounds like last year.

MARIA lob January 7 Day 106 Sunday

Sunday, January 7 day 106

The rumor "they" are shutting off water to repair the Guajataca dam is back. Word is water will be shut off Wednesday for three weeks. We'll see. This rumor has been around before.

We're not the only ones with utility issues. Our daughter Amy lives and Elaine is staying in a fairly well-off suburb of Cleveland. This morning they - and many others - did not have water becasue pipes froze in the extended severe deep cold. Also, I now frequently have better cell phone signalthan she does. Go figure.

Sunny breezy, still no rain. Big waves!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

MARIA log January 6 day 105 Saturday

Epiphany. Twelfth Night. Three King's Day. Dia de Tres Reyes. For many Puerto Rican families - and throughout Latin America for that matter - this is traditionally a bigger day than Christmas Day.

There have been big waves all week so no diving. I lost at least surf photo client because we still don't have electricity. I've probably lost a lot more than one. There are surfers and some tourists here. I guess I could drag my desktop computer to Carole's or somewhere that has electricity and set it up. It just feels awfully presumptuous to do that.

Warm and blustry today. No rain.

NOW: Sunday, January 6, 2019

Seems like we're channeling last year except with electricity. Well, mostly with electricity. It went out for about 2-1/2 hours last night. Anyway, waves all week. Sunny, warm, breezy (mostly), no rain and no diving all week.

Waves are supposed to be down tomorrow so I'm going diving whether anyone else goes or not. All my dive buddies have abandoned me.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

MARIA log January 5 Day 104 Friday

Friday, January 5, day 104

So apparently when we went to the local FEMA sign-up site in October, we weren't actually registered with FEMA like we thought we were. Elaine called FEMA today (from Ohio) to check on our status. They have no record of us ever applying or registering. She spent an hour-and-a-half on the phone registering us, something we thought was done two-and-a-half months ago.

Rain in the mountains today but none down here. Actually we could use some rain.

Friday, January 04, 2019

MARIA log January 4 Day 103 Thursday

 Thursday, January 4 day 103

Marie and I hoped to dive today, to get our New Year's and her birthday dive in. Not today!

We  looked at Rompeolas where we did last year's New Year's/birthday dive. Surf was up and the water was ugly - green, murky. At least there is sand for the entry.

Then we checked out Crashboat. It was even uglier. Waves stirred up a ton of near-shore sand. It was completely brown around the end of the pier.

Tonight was Ciudad's Christmas activity with the toys Carole donated. They also took 91 bags of groceries, all of which were taken. Three-and-a-half months after the hurricane and there is still so much need. Not just for some Christmas cheer, but for food, diapers, formula, medicine.

While all this was going on, one guy asked me - in Spanish - if we had any "benge" in the bags. "Benge?" I understood everything he said except "benge." In English he said, "you know, benge. To put on your sore back." Bengay! That's what he was looking for - Bengay!

It was a good night, lots of fun. I was surprised there was no food or music though.

No rain today.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

MARIA log January 3 Day 102 Wednesday

Wednesday, January 3, day 102

Not much today.

Beautiful sunrise.

No rain.

Worked Chocolate. "Stay" is getting better.

Dinner at Carole's.

NOW: January 3, 2019 - Wow! What a day! Our friends and fellow-horse people Chris and Is came over today. Chris is a fabulous horse (and people) trainer. He put us through some paces with KTJ Chocolate and Cass. Chocolate hasn't worked that hard since, well, the last time Chris was here. Isabel is an equine masseuse. We've had some problems with Cass and we wanted to be sure they weren't physical, caused by injury or pain. Is checked him out and then Chris worked and rode him. Nope, there's nothing wrong with him except a whole lot of attitude. Well, we can deal with that!

It was  a great day with great friends. Our horses rocked! And the people got better.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

MARIA log January 2 Day 101 Tuesday

Just a "normal" day:

No lights, no rain
Fed horses twice

Took the great and wonderful Oz for a walk on the beach. Actually, he takes me. It's his walk. He sets the pace. He decides how far we walk and when we turn around.
Marie's birthday
Worked on cleaning the bar. Sometimes it feels like nothing is getting any cleaner, that I'm just moving mud from one place to another place.

We had the "traditional" New Years spaghetti and marinara sauce for dinner tonight.
Carole: "Is it traditional?"
Me: "It will be when we have it."

It was very quiet at Carole's tonight, very still. No wind, no frogs, no traffic sounds not even a dog barking.

We took down the Christmas tree. Rolf and I were sad about it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

NOW January 1, 2019

 Last night we joined the "last sunset" celebration on the beach at Shacks. It was beautiful evening. And it was nice because we didn't have to rush in or out. We did leave a bit early because we had plans to go to our landlady's home for New Years. Wow! A New Year's Eve out. It's been a long time for us.

Our landlady Ivette had a lovely party and it was very nice of her to invite us. We slipped out a little after 10 pm so we could be home with the animals if the night got crazy. I'm so glad we did because it did get crazy!

Like Christmas, there is so much pent up energy after last year after the hurricane. The parandas and Christmas parties were bigger and louder. This year there were lots more fireworks, bigger and louder. Elaine went out to the paddock with the horses to try to calm them and I sat in the house holding the three dogs, the four-and-a-half pound Chihuahua, the 60-pound Chow, and the 100-pound Lab. It was loud and intense - window-rattling booms, bangs, crackles, car and truck horns, ear-blasting music - and lasted longer than usual but we got through it. As much as I miss Amber and Jazz, part of me is happy they did not have to endure that.

Light rain overnight. We're especially grateful for the rain over the last few days with all the fireworks. As dry as it was, there was a real danger of grass fires. There have in fact been several grass fires  nearby. Fortunately none here.

MARIA log January 1, 2018, Day 100 Monday

Monday, January 1, 2018 day 100

Today is Day 100 if you count from September 21, when the hurricane ended which is how I've been counting the days. If you count from September 20, when the hurricane started, today, 01/01 is day 101.

It was a pretty quiet New Year's  A few fireworks but not like some years. No TV, no ball dropping, no football, and that's okay.

Marie and I went to see Sprocket today. He really looks good. The plan for now is to leave him at Kiki's for "unmema." Translated, first in to Spanish, that is "un mes mas" then to English, "one more month." Sometime around the first of February we'll move him in with the other horses.

Most of my New Year's Day was spent working with Chocolate. We're working on "stay." Yes, I tell my hrse to stay.

It's only been 11 days since the solstice, but already the light feels different. No rain today, but that's not different.

We had a fun dinner at Carole's. Jeremy and Anna brought burgers. Anna made the biggest apple pie Ive ever seen. Oh, my! Homemade apple pie - and ice cream!