Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome to Feather Ridge - our home on Guanaja. Tis the season of good cheer so I want to take the time to honor this special holiday.

As I get older I tend to spend more time remembering people no longer with us to celebrate this blessed time. Grandparents, Mothers, Fathers, Children and Friends who we once spent this wonderful time with. All the happy times, parties, social gatherings, dinners, and most of all the time with our families and relatives when we would all come together and share our love.

I am from Minnesota and Christmas was a time of snow, ice, cold and hot cocoa. Living on an island in the Caribbean puts a new prospective on Christmas and if I didn't have my Christmas decorations to put out every year, why I wouldn't know that December 25th was around the corner! But I get excited about Christmas. The fond memories I have of family gatherings and watching my children on Christmas morning will always be with me. I have sent out my Christmas cards via the Internet, finished making my Christmas presents, decorated the house and will be baking cookies. I wanted to listen to Christmas Carols but our stereo system seems to be on the blitz so the beautiful music of my childhood will be missed this year.

On the island there is limited decoration and, thankfully, limited advertising for this season. I do not miss the part where the stores start loading you up with the "Christmas spirit" around Halloween! I do miss some of the lavish house decorations and hearing Christmas carols in the stores, but most of all I miss being with my family.

We have made many friends on the island and we are all getting together on the 25th for a big Christmas dinner. We exchange gifts but better than that, we are all together to share in the joy of Christmas. So, while my family is "up North" and I cannot be part of their activities, I will remember them and Christmas Past!

Merry Christmas to All!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Guanaja Boys Band

This was a Christmas present for my husband, the harmonica player. The band has a favorite song they play, "On the Cover of the Rolling Stones" and I thought it would be fun if he finally got his picture there.

There was a site on-line that allows you to take your photo and superimpose it on the magazine cover of your choice. Since I'm not reproducing this for commercial gain and it is a joke gift for my husband (simply displayed on our computer), I thought it would be OK to put it on my blog.

My husband has found a new goal shall we say in life! Retirement on an island presents a lot of challenges and a lot of work and he was looking for a diversion. He expressed a desire about four years ago to start playing an instrument and since his hand had been injured in a boating incident, he could not play his Ukulele. He mentioned, in passing, the harmonica. I make it a habit to keep this type of information in the back of my mind so I will have something to buy him for his Birthday/Christmas presents that he will like. Thus, I immediately went home and ordered him a harmonica. He took to it like a duck to water and now has about 8 different harmonicas and will, most likely, ordering more complicated ones in the future.

He has a natural talent for it and when he doesn't play he sings along with the band in harmony and is the inspiration behind for the "band practices".

Because our piano player travels between La Ceiba and Guanaja, we don't always have a band to play at the local bar/restaurant. But when they are all together they really provide much appreciated music and fun for all.

Now he is just waiting for the talent scouts!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What is that pitter patter sound?

It's not the sound of reindeer on our roof. It's not the sound of small children at play. So, knowing what time of year it is, it must be rain! Yes, rain. Days and days and days of rain.

Usually we gauge the start of our "rainy" season to arrive on or about Oct. 15th (give or take a week or so). This year the rain started the first of October and has been a constant in our lives since then. My husband made the comment in September that we were behind on rainfall for this year but he was sure we would make up for it in the winter! He was right.

Clouds, gloomy sky and lots and lots of rain. For the most part it doesn't bother me except that I cannot get out to work in my garden. I mean all you do is slosh around in mud doing the old "slip and slide". If you dig up the ground to plant, everything sticks to your shovel or garden tool and you end up taking a mud bath.

I can't do laundry for two reasons: 1) our solar panel is not gathering any electrical current from the sun and 2) I cannot hang my laundry in the backyard to dry because A) its too darn muddy and B) it will never dry but constantly be in the rinse cycle. Oh, my husband strung clothesline on the front porch but it takes almost 3 days to dry in this weather!

We have miniature waterfalls on the side of the house; water cascading down the steps. We have miniature waterfalls in the front cascading down the hill to the sea and we have small torrents racing down the hill in the back to add to the waterfalls on the side and in the front. Water, water everywhere.
But, this is the rainy season. So, I just retire to my sewing room and work on projects I've put off in the past. Right now I'm working on Christmas presents. Of course I cannot iron because that takes energy that the solar panel cannot provide. But, when my husband is forced to turn on the generator you can bet that the first thing I do is turn the iron on to catch up on ironing projects that currently need sewing!

We generally average about 110 to 120 inches of rain a year. Several years ago, in one day, we had 7 inches of the wet stuff and we thought that was a lot. Not! In December, about two years ago, we had 36 inches in one day and my husband quite emptying the rain gauge when he went to bed!
We get a lot of rain in December and usually you can count on going to your Christmas dinner at a friend's house in the pouring rain. In ten years here we have had two sunny days on December 25th. One was after it rained in the morning and the other was sunny all day except it rained in the evening when we got home. When you go to a party here - you take a change of clothes and a big box to keep things dry on the boat!

Speaking of our boat - it is now tied up firmly to the dock bracing against the seas that are rolling in. Most of the year the seas run out of the East; during the winter they switch and are out of the West. From the East we get plastic bags, pampers, coke bottles, etc., From the West we get seaweed, tree trunks, pieces of wood, parts of ships, etc. It's unusual to have thunder during the winter months, but for some reason this year we are having thunder storms. Since I'm not much up on what causes weather fronts, storms, etc., I have no idea if the fact that we have thunder means the temperature is warm enough to cause the occurrence of thunder. Whatever it is - we have it.

So, one can curl up with a good book, take up projects that have been shelved, take a lot of naps, or write in one's blog!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thankful Thanksgiving is Over?

Well, Thanksgiving is over. Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberries, pumpkin bread (as seen above), dressing, pie -- we had all those things that make it a wonderful holiday!

I made it to LaCeiba and found almost everything I wanted. A friend had brought a turkey over to the island for me at my request so I did not have to look for that item, but I managed to buy a ham in LaCeiba for Christmas so that was a plus. There were a few things on my list that I didn't find but, hopefully, when we make our trip to San Pedro in the next week or so, I can buy all those things that were not in LaCeiba.

The day I left it was overcast and rain threatened. My tilt motor on the boat was not functioning properly and kept wanting to come up out of the water as I drove along. When I got to the airport I fiddled with the switch and got it to come up and turn off -- or so I thought.

The plane left on time (surprise) and we arrived in LaCeiba where rain clouds were threatening but no rain had fallen that morning. I went into town to go to an agriculture store to get some ear mite medicine for a friend but of the three stores I went to, no one had what I needed. So I gave up and went to the Mall where I felt I could find most of the items on my list.

Three stores in the Mall dealt with computer products or copying, yet not one of them sold copy paper for my printer! I found my Zinfandel wine but they only had two bottles and I wanted at least 12! I did find my gin and a bottle for a friend. No white beans or black-eyed peas, but they had canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce. Lots of cheese (but no Parmesan), along with cream cheese and a variety of vegetables. I had hoped to find Uncle Ben's Wild Rice mix but really didn't hold out any hope for it and I was not disappointed.

It was pouring down rain by this time so I grabbed a quick lunch, bought a Pizza to take home (a must when returning to the island) and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Bought some vodka in the airport liquor shop and the plane (second surprise of the day) left on time!

Arrived home and the rain had stopped. Went to start the boat and, yes, you guessed it....the tilt motor decided to turn on for no good reason and wore the battery down. Thankfully we have two boats and I called my husband who came and rescued me!

So, all's well that ends well I guess. Thanksgiving day was overcast and mild but, thankfully, no rain. Our guests arrived without incident, we had a nice visit on the porch and a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Now we have plenty of leftovers to keep ourselves happy for a few days.
I am sure that Thanksgiving day was enjoyed by people all over. So, in spite of good or bad weather, a lack of "standard fare" for dinner, too much or too little food, it seems everyone rallies around and this is one holiday that always brings a warm sense of accomplishment and a wonderful feeling of Thanksgiving - which it was meant to do!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Well, Thanksgiving is just around the corner - next week to be exact - and I still don't have my turkey, green beans, stuffing mix, canned pumpkin, etc. Every year I make my speciality, Pumpkin Bread and, of course, I have to have the whole turkey dinner to accompany it!

This year all I could find in town was canned Cranberry Sauce (at $2.50 a can). No one has turkeys or any of the other accompaniments so I now have to fly to LaCeiba and see if I can find a bird!

Of course, going to the coast this time of year is difficult. We have already cancelled a scheduled flight to see the doctors in San Pedro Sula because of weather and with all the rain we have been having last month and this month it will be a challenge to get there and back in one day.

I have feelers out and friends in LaCeiba and on-line are looking for possible turkey sightings! I have my list all ready, my airline ticket in hand, and a determined attitude.
Of course, while spending $150.00 round trip to go to the coast (need to count additional airport tax in this), I'll need to pay taxi drivers to haul me and my booty around! I also need to look for other "stuff" to make this trip pay for itself. So I'm on the lookout for cheese, vegetables (the kind we can't get on the island), wine, Spanish books for my worker's grandchildren, material to sew, and new reading glasses. Just hope I can get it all done within the 3 hours I'll have.

Yes, 3 hours! We no longer have an early morning (7:30 a.m.) flight and now the plane doesn't leave until 11:00 getting me to the airport and into town about 30 minutes or more later. I must rush around and get the non-grocery items first as the stores all close at noon and then on to the grocery store and hopefully some lunch and buy a pizza to bring back for dinner.

So, if I'm extremely lucky (and fast), I'll get everything I need and come back the same day to fix a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for Thursday.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

That Time of Year

Well, it is that time of year again. Somewhere between summer activities, visitors and the just before the fall doldrums.

Life on the island starts to slow down somewhat with people returning to their homes abroad, the weather changing and the slow approach to the upcoming holidays looming in the distance.

Right now, during this period, my life has slowed down and I seem to be in a lazy mode. This is not like me at all as I am a very active person. But, every now and then I suddendly feel like doing absolutely nothing! Now, for a person like me, this is not acceptable. I feel I should be busy doing something. I mean, if not household projects (like cleaning, laundry, cooking and gardening) the I should be creating something for someone or preparing items for the holidays, or writing in my blog (which very people actually read) or taking photos.....SOMETHING.

People say that this is OK. But my mind just can't seem to adjust to this laid back attitude. I mean, it is ok to live on an island where manana is the way of life and accept that. It is ok to put off for tommorrow what I could do today. And, it is even ok, now and then, to take a siesta. But to actually lay around all day - especially on a perfectly sunny, clear, breezy day, and do nothing - unheard of, at least in my case.

Maybe it is the fact that I have so many projects lined up to do and know that I can't possibly meet my preset deadlines that I've decided to just ignore them! Maybe I feel that when I do actually finish a project, I know there will be another and another and another to follow and the fact that it never seems to cease may be getting me down.

However, I love to create. I love to see something being made out of the most ordinary items and I love the feel it gives me upon completion to know I have created this item. It seems that everything I do make, I give away. In actuality, I have very few of my own creations. I also know that when I see something I have made being displayed by the person it was given to, I am always astounded that I was the one that made it. While working on an item I tend to become really critical and in the end all I see are the small flaws that no one else (except for my husband) can detect. And believe me, he points all the flaws out immediately!

Of course it could simply be that having finished painting and varnishing my bedroom floor, getting new furniture installed and transferring items from the old to the new; making ice cream, breadsticks and pies; having 8 people over for lunch; managing the selling of island-made pine needle baskets to tourists by one of our islanders on a no-profit basis for me; handling the tiresome project of getting my computer to return to the states for service; mailing out 5 packages to friends and family of small gifts I think they will like......maybe I'm just worn out this week!

I guess I just need to relax for a while, read a good book, listen to some music and stop trying to try. But then, I wouldn't be me!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Update on Saving Lives

Well, I felt duty-bound to report on the woman, Firmora, that we saved from drowning in the ocean last weekend.

We did confirm that she, unfortunately, has been using drugs (specifically cocaine) for over 10 years along with being an alcoholic. Lately, however, she has been in a drug rehab program trying to kick her daily habit and, from all reports, was adhering to the teachings.

She must have fallen off the wagon, so to speak, as she evidentially was on a high when we picked her up. After leaving the dock (as there was nothing more we could do), we were advised that she "came to" after 5 minutes or more, got up, looked around and jumped back into the ocean! People in boats nearby tried to rescue her but she thwarted their efforts. Finally, someone on the dock got the police and told them to go out, rescue her and put her in jail for her own protection. I have heard no further reports as to whether or not they were successful.

I feel sorry for this woman who must have serious problems and seems to have a death wish.

I know of a young island man who had a cocaine habit and was discovered by his employer. His friends and family had long talks with him and he finally decided to take the step and go into the drug rehab program currently being provided for on the island by a small group of Americans. This bright, intelligent, talented, wonderful individual is now in the program and when I ran into him yesterday he was full of hope. I had a few talks with him in the past trying to convince him to get off drugs and get help. To see this individual finally aware that it was drugs that was pulling him down was wonderful. He realizes now that there is more to life and he has far more to contribute to the world by being drug free. He has hope and goals for his future and, so far, is sincere in his quest of them. He has friends/family and his God to guide him and is full of hope. I reminded him that he had a long road ahead, temptations would come his way but that I had full faith in his abilities to conquer all. I told him a lot of people wanted him to be better and that we were all there for him. He said he now realizes that his life has more meaning and he wants to do something more important than just feeling "high" for a short time.

It is simply a shame that there are so many more people out there that can't seem to break away and feel that their life is hopeless. I am extremely thankful for the small group of people who are presently on the island trying to make a difference and offering a program to the young people to help them avoid the perils of drugs and/or help them get off of them.

I wish him and all those wanting to get their lives back, the best of luck.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saving Lives!

In the ten years we have lived on Guanaja we have had two occasions to save an individual's life and two occasions to help someone in dire medical need!

I bring this subject up because just the other day (Sept. 22nd) my husband and I happened upon a situation that eventually saved a woman's life.
We were driving to Manati, a lovely restaurant where we enjoy German cooking, when my husband noted something in the water about 200 yards from the Cay of Bonacca and 250 yards from the main body of the island. In this photo, the individual would have been about 1/4th in from the right-hand side of the photo and between the Cay and the Island.At first he thought it was floating garbage but then he saw an arm come up. We turned the boat around and headed to check it out as there were no other small boats around. Generally, when the boys/men go out snorkeling for conch, they drag a small dory around by a rope tied to their ankle. This provides something for everyone to see so they won't get run over and transportation for them from one place to another.

As we approached the individual we noticed that she was taking about 4 crawl strokes, would then bring up her head, groan for about 20 seconds, put her head down and continue the cycle. Not knowing if she was danger or needed help I called out to her in Spanish asking if she needed assistance. I mean, who knows, maybe she was out for a swim. She never responded but continued swimming and groaning. We pulled up close to her and grabbed her arms and hauled her into the boat. She was a limp rag doll barely weighing 100 lbs. She continued to groan as she lay in the boat and was totally unresponsive. I noticed a yellow substance on her tongue and because her eyes were so out of focus and she did not seem to know where she was, we thought she might have been using drugs.

We headed for the Municipal Dock to find someone who might know her. The dock has a building on the end for water taxi's and it being a Sunday there were very few people there. The photo shows the dock when it is unloading supplies on a Friday and I use it to show the building at the end. There are a couple of steps at the front of the building and when we pulled up some people walked over. A woman recognized her (evidently Firmora was her name) and said she would go and call Firmora's mother who lived on the Cay. Another person and I lifted her out of the boat and placed her on the steps. We then moved her into the shelter as she could have easily rolled off the step. She was out of the sun and still totally unresponsive. The woman on the dock who had called Firmora's mother said she was on the way. We left as there was nothing more we could do.

We don't honestly know how this tiny woman (who we later learned was a drug addict) swam as far as she did and believe she was simply on auto-pilot. We are sure that in a few more minutes she would have been totally exhausted and drowned.

About a year after we moved into our home, my worker's daughter, who suffered terribly from asthma, had an attack. I was out in the yard when I observed her laying on the ground. She could not breathe and was frantic. Again, I gathered my keys and took off in the boat for town to see the doctor. She was so weak when we got there that I had to pick her up and carry her to the clinic. She was given a breathing treatment and an inhaler (which she had never had up to that time) and recovered. She still lives on the island, still suffers terribly from asthma but is doing OK.

Years after that, a young woman appeared at my dock screaming and yelling. I went down to the dock and found she was carrying a small child (about 10 months old) who was soaked. Evidently the little girl had fallen into the sea at her home which was about a quarter mile from our home. She found the baby in the water, face down, and said she gave it artificial respiration. The child was limp and unresponsive. I took the baby and you could hear the water sloshing around in its belly, which was very extended. I had the woman sit on the ground and hold the baby on its belly with its head down to try and get the water out. I ran up to the house and got some blankets and a pillow, my boat keys and flew back down the path. We wrapped the child and got in my boat and I took her to town to the clinic. The child eventually came to and recovered but went through a bout of pneumonia. I never did hear anymore about her and if she ever suffered any further medical problems.

Just about a year ago, while I was on the coast, my husband was sitting on the front porch when a man came stumbling up the path yelling in Spanish. My husband ran down the path to see what was wrong and found the man with a huge gash in the center of his forehead, bleeding profusely. Evidently the young man had been "chopping" with a machete about 1/2 mile from our house when the machete hit a barbed wire fence and came back and hit him in the forehead. He walked the distance to our house for help with blood pouring from his wound. My husband ran for his keys, gave the young man a compress to hold over his wound and indicated to him that he should press hard and keep pressure on the wound. He drove him to town, took him to the clinic and left some money for the doctor and any treatment he required. My husband never saw the man again, but heard that he was stitched up and was doing fine.

Thankfully all of these incidents had a good ending and no one died. It is rather frightening living in a secluded area as medical help is a distance away and there is only my husband and myself. So far we have been lucky and I hope that we never injure ourselves badly as we would be hard pressed to get adequate help quickly. So, we step carefully, enter boats with caution and do our best to remain accident free!
But for now, we are on our way to obtain much needed medicine from the other side of the island to bring back to our friend whose dog is a victim of brown tick disease and is doing very poorly. It's always something!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Driving Experience

Now that I am at home on the island, I can reflect back on my travels while in the states and those that, ultimately, brought me back to the island.

The one thing I really like about the island is that there are no roads here! Yes, it does make life a little more difficult, but then the advantages are worth it at times. Little pollution, no honking horns, no police/ambulance/fire truck sirens, no roads to ruin the beautiful view, no garbage piled up beside the highway consisting of discarded tires, empty containers, broken down vehicles, etc. Having to get about by boat does have its drawbacks, the worst being (as far as I am concerned) is the lack of protection from the elements.

Of course transporting items by boat does have its comical side. We recently attended a birthday party for the daughter of a good friend of ours and since my husband is part of a band here, we offered their services for the entertainment. Of course that means somehow we must get the instruments from Point A to Point B. I've seen a lot of things carted around in boats, but this was the first time I had ever witnessed and was a part of transporting drums, a bass, guitar, a piano keyboard, and various other equipment to accomplish the job of entertaining the folks.

While in the states it was back to the hustle, bustle of traffic jams and long waits at the stop light. I made two trips from Tampa to Orlando down I-4, a road that is constantly under construction. I generally try to chose a time when I can leave Tampa and beat the traffic leaving the city and arrive in Orlando before the afternoon rush traffic begins. This has always been a real juggling of time on my part and, this time, for the most part, I missed most of the traffic delays. Usually, however, one always runs into a lot of traffic around the Disney World area as the photo to the left shows. This particular trip, the traffic was lighter, but just as boring as always. Miles and miles of black asphalt, peppered with advertising signs and lots and lots of cars.

Now, traveling on the roads of the mainland of Honduras are far more interesting as traffic is almost non-existent, the scenery is unspoiled (for the most part) and you have a more leisurely and interesting ride. If one did not see a horse-drawn cart driving down the same highway as cars and trucks, why, it would not be Honduras.

On one hand, traveling in Honduras (on the highway) is more relaxed and safer..... that is, if you are not being transported by a cab driver hell bent on getting you from here to there in the fastest time possible! There is a lot to see on a drive from San Pedro to LaCeiba, but you have to factor in the "hold your breath as we pass on a curve with oncoming traffic meeting us head on" which can be a little distracting to say the least. There are far fewer cars on the roads in Honduras but at least in the states we have traffic laws which are, in general, obeyed. We are taught in the states that in order to obtain a license to drive a machine that has the ability to destroy and/or kill, one must take a written exam and a behind-the-wheel test to pass in order to get your license. Also the cars must past an inspection and everyone must have insurance.

If you disobey the law most of the time you will be pulled over and issued a very expensive ticket along with a small sermon. Yes, sometimes, we get away with speeding or going through a yellow to red light and doing things that we are not suppose to do. But, for the most part, traveling on the roads in the states is far more organized and safe.

Another good thing about traveling in the states is that all the roads are posted with signs telling you what highway you are on or what street you are presently traveling down. Maps can direct you with little difficulty to your destination and when in doubt you can pull into a gas station or convenience store and ask directions. You will, generally, receive directions telling you to go down a certain named street or highway, turning onto another named street or highway and any other pertinent information that will get you to your destination.

Per capita, I don't know if there are the same number of accidents on Honduran streets as the U.S. but I do know that it is far easier to get around in the U.S. than in Honduras. When I go to my veterinarian in San Pedro it is a real hassle trying to direct the taxi driver to their office. None of the streets in the neighborhood have names and one street does not intersect with another. Many times it is like being in a maze and trying to find your way out once you get in!

I spent most of my time in the U.S. this last trip driving daily from one place to another. Temperatures were abnormally high (in the 100's) and my son's truck's air conditioner was not working. While moving it was OK. But, when one came to a stop at a rather long traffic light, the wait was more than a person could bear, especially if you had someone next to you that felt the whole world should be listening to their rap music!

As I mentioned, I took two trips to Orlando from Tampa. I rented a car (just could not think of making the 90 mile trip with no A/C) and was offered a Chrylser product, a Dodge Caliber. This was a nice little car with good pickup on the highway. Comfortable inside and with room to haul items in the rear end when one folded down the back seat. All in all, a good experience. Plus the gas mileage was great. Only 1/4th tank of gas to go over 100 miles thus using less than 5 gallons of gas.

However, when one has not driven a car in over a year, getting behind the wheel of a new vehicle that you are unfamiliar with has its moments. I had to readjust to the fact that the gear shift was not to the right of the steering wheel but on the floor. Too many times, when engaging the car from park to drive, I turned the windshield wipers one! When I went to turn off the car, the key would not come out of the ignition. I tried and tried and was about ready to conclude that I would have to remain with the car for the rest of my natural life because I could not leave a key in an unlocked vehicle when, after much jiggling, I found that when one turned the key as if turning the engine off, pushed in and turned just a little more, an amazing thing happened ..... the key could be easily pulled out of the ignition!

Next, it was a real surprise that when I turned the ignition off, the radio kept playing. Nothing I could do would turn the darn thing off. Finally, in frustration, I opened the door to exit the vehicle thinking the radio would just have to continue to play and to my surprise the radio went off. Guess it is a new function to keep one entertained until the very last moment. Of course there is always the question of where the gas tank cover is - on the driver's side or the passenger's side of the car! And I won't go into the confusion as to the headlight thing! But I was able to overcome all these obstacles thrown at me and the drive was pleasant in the end.

So, even though jumping into a car is a lot easier than getting into a boat for a ride, I prefer my mode of transportation on the island. I may have to untie a lot of ropes, bail the boat out before I go, gauge my leap into the boat so that I will not miss and either end up on my back in the bottom of the boat or in the sea. I must also brave the constant spray of sea mist on my face, arms, legs and torso and when we get to our destination, I must again gauge my leap out of the boat onto a dock and hope that I land safely.

There are no real traffic jams on the sea and one can almost drive where one wants, at any speed (depending upon the size of the engine) and do U-turns wherever one wants. However, the fact that the "road" is not marked and we must be aware of reefs, floating objects, people in the water and the dreaded "running out of gas while a distance from land", there is more of a freedom in boats.

Do not let this fool you into thinking I like travel by boat. I hate boats! But since I have not mastered the "walking on water" thing, I am forced to continue my travels (at least while on Guanaja) in this manner.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home Again!

Well, I'm home again. Yup! Back on the island and what a trip.

My original return date was scheduled for August 12th to give me ample time to complete all that I had set out to do.

My son was established in a new apartment with sufficient household items to start him again in his new life after a harrowing experience with a former girlfriend. Needless to say, the relationship has been broken off and my son is now safe. He has a job that he loves and wants to make the most of his life from this point onward. It may be an uphill battle for him but I am sure he can conquer his problems and move on, make new friends and gain his confidence.

I was in Orlando visiting my husband's daughters and our grandchildren with my son when my husband sent word that he really needed me back home to prepare for Hurricane Felix. The key word in his phrasing was "damn the expense, get home as fast as you can." Now, my husband is not exactly a tightwad, but he does watch his money carefully and very little is purchased for our home, our life, our existence always with alot of thought. At that phrase I knew I was needed!

My children/stepchildren and friends tried to dissuade me from returning at the chosen moment as this was a Sunday and Hurricane Felix was slated to hit the island on Wed. I felt if I could get on a plane Monday I stood a chance of beating the storm. While everyone was fleeing the island I was trying to get to it.

So, I called American Airlines, explained that I had to get back to the island promptly and since I mentioned the Hurricane, they said they could get me out and would not charge me a penalty! Hooray for them and me.

We left Orlando promptly on Monday morning and I left the Tampa airport around 1:30 in the afternoon to fly to Miami to change plans to head on to San Pedro then LaCeiba and then Guanaja.

Our plane was delayed leaving Tampa because of a lightning storm and could not take off until there was at least 5 minutes without a lightning strike after the last strike. We were delayed about 1/2 hour and finally got off. The flight went well and no problems were encountered.
We landed in Miami and then I began the long walk from one terminal to another to leave for Honduras. I was carrying a rather heavy carry-on (as usual) and this particular walk is not a favorite one of mine. I reached the terminal and joined the throng awaiting boarding.

It was not to be! The plane going to Honduras had not arrived from Columbia yet and when it did arrive, we were told, they would have to clean the plane and run a security check on it. Our flight would be delayed about 1 hour.

Time went by and the plane finally came in and we were boarded. Alas, again, we were not to take off on time. It seems the "little black box" was not functioning and they had to get a crew in to repair it. Another hour went by on the tarmac and finally it was announced we would be leaving the gate. Our flight would arrive in San Pedro at 7:30 p.m. not 5:30 p.m. as previously scheduled.

I had arranged to take a taxi from San Pedro to LaCeiba to be at the LaCeiba airport bright and early so I could leave on the first flight. As it was, my taxi driver (photo of Mario at the left)suggested that I spend the night in San Pedro as it was not a good idea to be driving to LaCeiba at night. I agreed with him and he agreed to pick me up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning for the drive to LaCeiba.

Our drive, which normally takes 2 1/2 hours, went by quickly as the driver felt it was necessary to drive as fast as he could to get me there promptly. We made it in 2 hours and there were several occasions where I had to hold my breath when he was passing on a curve and would see another car/truck approaching. Of course, this ride will be detailed in another blog.

I was at the airport at 7:30 a.m. and checked in at the counter. They had no idea if they were flying to the island as word was that the hurricane would make landfall that afternoon. The skies were partly cloudy in LaCeiba and the sun was out and they could have made it to the island and back with no problem. However, I understood their hesitation and waited. It was announced at 9:30 a.m. that all flights had been cancelled and you never saw people pack up their work-related equipment so fast! Everyone was anxious to get out of there. I retrieved my checked luggage and found there were no taxi cabs available. Some kind man offered to haul one of my two suitcases to the main road which I could flag down a cab. Half way there a cab came up behind us and I engaged him to take me to the hotel.

I was lucky enough to get a room at the hotel and after leaving my luggage in the room, I returned to the front desk to send my husband an e-mail as I was not getting a response to my telephone calls. While there I learned that the government or the U.S. (I'm not sure who) had evacuated the tourists from Roatan and some of them were in the hotel I was staying in. A woman, who evidently was the leader of the dive group evacuated, was badgering the hotel receptionist to call the airlines and see if there were any flights returning to Roatan as word was out that the hurricane had changed course and was headed in-land and we were not in harms way. The poor receptionist kept telling her all flights had been cancelled but the woman wanted her to call the airport. I stepped in and announced that I had just come from the airport and it was closed and there would be no flights out for that day.

The woman looked at me like I had fluff in my head for brains and continued on in her quest. She finally gave up but 20 minutes later returned saying someone had called her on her cell phone and told her the airport had been reopened. Now, anyone living in Honduras knows that once these people take off and the airport is closed they cannot be reached until the next day and with a hurricane approaching who could blame them. She wanted the receptionist to call the airport and I decided to keep quiet as I would not be believed anyway. The long and short of it was that, indeed, no flights were leaving that night.

Now all of this would have not had been too bad but the hotel was filled with divers who wanted to dive and if they couldn't, they wanted to drink. WRONG. The government, or so it was reported, outlawed the sale of alcohol during the hurricane. So, no liquor or beer for sale in the hotel. Now, one could go to the local grocery store and purchase beer and liquor and some people did that. Needless to say this group was not happy.

I met some friends at the hotel and we planned to go to Pizza Hut for supper, about 4:30 p.m. Pizza Hut had been opened all day so we figured since it was down the street from the hotel, we would go there. WRONG. Place was closed when we approached it. Nothing to do but eat in the place where I had promised myself I would never eat again. The last time (a few years back) the food was terrible. Well, I wasn't disappointed. It was just as bad, if not worse and I, who usually clean my plate, left over half my food. Never again I promised myself once more.

There were a few thunderstorms that night but no more rain than we usually get during the winter months. The next morning I was at the airport and told that there were no morning flights to Guanaja as all of the planes were busy taking the tourists back to Roatan. So, I sat all day at the airport waiting for my 4:00 p.m. flight.

The flight was fine, a little choppy with gusts of wind on landing, but, we made it and I was home.

How wonderful to see my husband and our home. Well, the house was boarded up because of the pending storm and things were in disarray. But, I was home. My dogs, cats, birds and husband and property were all fine just waiting for me to pick up where I left off with cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, gardening, etc.

As the movie statement went: There's no place like home.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Leaving Paradise

I am now in the land of plenty also known to us "gringos" on the island as the great PX. I've been in the U.S. of A. (specifically Florida) for 11 days and still have culture shock when I go into the stores and see all that is available - especially FOOD!

Generally a trip to the States to visit family means re-stocking on things I cannot get in Honduras and ABSOLUTELY need! I mean, every "Spanish/Mexican" recipe I have calls for chopped green chilies and there are none to be had in Honduras. I have seen recipes printed in the Honduran Voice Magazine (out of Roatan) and they include chopped green chilies and I wonder where they get them! So, towards the end of my trip there will be at least one visit to the grocery store to get as many food items as I can without going over the weight limit in my suitcase!

While here I manage to visit with my children and Grandchildren. Lucky for me they are all within driving distance (Orlando/Brooksville/Plant City) and, therefore, in spite of a little effort to drive from one point to another, I can readily visit the kids. This is a photo of my Orlando Grandchildren; Alyssa and David (16 and 13 respectively).

Two of my grandsons live in Plant City (Kyle -6; and Ryan - 3) and are energetic boys who are on the move constantly. To go with the activity, the keep up a constant line of chatter so we won't get bored. Kyle had his final basketball tournament this past Saturday - yes, basketball at 6 years old. We piled into the car and off we went to the local YMCA at 8:30 a.m. for the game. It was fun watching these little tykes run around the floor, dribbling a basketball and actually making shots! I was amazed that there were at least 3-4 "naturals" for the sport and even at age 6 some have a good grasp of the game and the how to handle the ball. The final score waas 10-18 but the coaches were generous and, at the last minute, the scoreboard reflected a 17-18 score! All the kids got medals and treats. I was happy to see that children are still participating in physical activities instead of sitting in front of a computer screen/T.V. on their free time. Oh, yes, my Grandson made a basket to help his team on, even though they lost.
Here's the final scoreboard (doctored just a little).

Jump shot here - notice the alertness of the team members!

The medal winner and his younger brother.

The majority of my trip has been spent moving my son into his new apartment. I had forgotten all the energy that is spent, not to mention the drive time, in setting up electric power, gas, cable, telephone, internet, etc. Then there was the purchase of several items of furniture along with a lot of groceries! There are rewards for this activity as my son works at a gourmet bakery as head baker where they produce sinfully rich cheesecakes, cakes and various deserts. Needless to say, I was allowed to sample a few of the products and can categorically state they are fabulous! This is my son and his silent partner - can you guess who is who?

The one downside of my visit to Florida is the fact that it has suddendly gotten hotter in this state. While I lived here I can hardly remember temperatures in the upper 90's much less 100's. I've always said I wanted to be away from Guanaja during Aug/Sept. which are generally the hottest months of the year. Well, I've now found out that escaping to Florida is not the coolest thing to do in every sense of the word! It is so hot up here - no breeze, high temperatures, heat reflecting off the streets/parking lots/sidewalks. At least on the island, even without a breeze, there usually is a puff of wind and it generally stays at 86-88 degrees during those months. The average temperature on the island is a balmy 82 so coming to Orlando/Tampa and getting off a plane to 102 degree weather is not what I had in mind.

I thought about going to Disney World or one of the theme parks, but now that I've been exposed to the heat I've had a change of mind. And, there are no views to compare with what we have on the island out our front door!
So, I will make contact with friends, go out to a few nice places for dinner, buy necessary "stuff" and return to the island with a deeper appreciation for it and the surroundings. Of course I will miss the big PX and the endless aisles of products one can buy, the varied restaurants, the movie theaters with their huge screens. I won't miss the air conditioning - everyone in Florida keeps it absolutely too cold and besides frost forming on my nose when I go out, my sinuses begin to shut down and breathing is difficult; at least easy, regular breathing.
Yes, it is the land of plenty and I will miss family and friends, but ohhhh the life of serenity, quiet, fresh air, great views and fewer people!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods.....

Traveling! There are plus and minus aspects of traveling as each of us knows. The excitement of going somewhere new or revisiting familiar places once again is always alluring. Of course, the downside is the planning and execution!

Once a year I usually head back to the states to see how my children are doing and find out how many more inches the grandchildren have grown! Of course, living on an island such as ours also provides another reason: provisioning!

My annual trip was coming up and this year I decided I would do what I've always wanted to do, tour parts of Europe rather than make the trip to the U.S. Got as far as making some flight arrangements and writing folks I wanted to see when a family crisis arose. Scratch the European trip and continue on to the states to tend to my family.

Of course, flying from Honduras, especially Guanaja, is a major plan in the making. I mean, besides figuring out what airline to take to the mainland one must determine if you will have to overnight before going on to the States which means hotel and taxi arrangements. And, if you get past that and can make it in one day, there follows relatively short time spent in flight in comparison to all the waiting in airport terminals.

This year I was fortunate to be allowed to return to Florida via our friends' private plane. We left the island at about 7 a.m. and landed in Roatan. Normally this should be a short visit and off again to the states. But, hey, where do you think we are? We waited at the airport about 45 minutes waiting for immigration to show up. When he finally did we found out he had to go to the market first and do some shopping! Of course, this is the land of manana so why should we not be surprised? While waiting I managed to purchase some cigars for a friend of mine who wanted them for his friend. Normally I do not like purchasing tobacco items because I don't believe in smoking - anything! But he was going to drive me to Tampa from Orlando and I felt it would be a good way to repay him.

After a 3 hours + flight, we landed in Florida. We again waited for customs, but not as long as in Roatan. When the customs man showed up he noticed the bag from the gift shop where another woman had bought the same cigars I had purchased (mine were in my carry-on). He looked at her and said there is an embargo on and you are not to bring the cigars into the country. She told him she was not aware of it and the clerk never mentioned the fact to her. He replied that this time he would let her go, but, in the future, he would have to confiscate them. I asked her what the conversation was all about and she said the cigars. I said "they are Honduran cigars" and she said, "no, they are Cuban cigars"! I was surprised and so glad we were not penalized for something we were totally unaware of!

I had lunch with Pilot Bob (former helicopter pilot on the island) and we exchanged pleasantries. He looked well and is getting his life back in order after close to a year on Guanaja. He had done me a big favor and purchased a weed wacker for us. Ours died a slow death and our worker uses it to cut our huge lawn. He said he would make arrangements for it to be sent back to the island on the plane when possible so that we could once again get our tall grass cut down to a manageable size. He also did another favor for us and I am so grateful that he went to all the trouble he went to in order to accommodate my requests. He is truly a really good friend. Heck, even if he hadn't done the favor, he is still a good friend.

I then left the Panhandle of Florida for Atlanta so that I could get to Orlando, Florida! Round about way of doing it but that's what AirTran does with that particular route. So in one day I was in three time zones; Guanaja, Honduras, the Panhandle of Florida and Orlando, Florida. I'm still not sure what time I am in right now.

The flight to Atlanta was fairly uneventful as was the trip to Orlando except when the pilot on the last leg of the trip announced it was 102 degrees in Orlando! The plane was full but all went well. Of course, when we arrived in Orlando, it took a longer to get our luggage than the time spent in the airport in Atlanta waiting for the plane to depart! Everything came through ok and in tact - even the two bottles of Flor de Cana I bought for our friend!

Of course, I had put my smaller suitcase inside a larger one to save space and allow me a suitcase to return to the island filled with "necessary" things. Well, I was overweight by 4 lbs. and had to take the smaller one out of the larger one and put some of the things into the bigger one as I was allowed 2 suitcases and this would re-distribute the weight. One would think it would be easier to handle one suitcase (even overweight by 4 lbs.) than handling two which ended up being the same total weight, but no!

So, here I am, finally at my destination contemplating all of the things I will have to purchase for my return trip that "I can't live without".

To make matters worse, I had a head cold and, for the most part, the trip to a higher elevation and back down played havoc with my right ear. Had trouble hearing out of it for several hours and had some slight pain.

Now I just have to plan the return trip and hope that all goes smoothly, or with as few problems as possible......but then, what kind of trip would that be?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Redecorating Visions!

Every now and then I get a bug to "redecorate". I seem to forget about all the aches and pains and endless days of preparation associated with the last "decoration" attempt and with visions of a "new look" in my eyes, I forge ahead.

Well, forging is not quite the word. I think about my new project for a couple of minutes, decide that yes, something needs to be done, go about obtaining the proper supplies (which, on an island is another chore onto itself), and then put the job off for a while in order to contemplate a little more of what it is that I have in mind. In this case it was contemplation for a full year!

So, here I am, painting my bedroom floor and now how I wish I had a crew to do this job so that I would not have to do it. But, that is not going to happen and so, after putting it off for too long, I'm on my hands and knees applying paint.

The bad thing about a project of this scope is that my house is small .... well, it is perfectly fine for the two of us and I love the size, normally. But when one has to move one's bedroom furniture to another "holding" area, the house suddenly becomes cluttered. Now, I'm a very organized person and basically tidy so this upheaval (of my own making unfortunately) is very disturbing to my sense of having my house look neat and tidy at all times. My husband keeps commenting that I must be expecting House Beautiful to show up and photograph it and I say "one must be prepared."

When we built the house the first floor was exposed to the sun longer than we anticipated and the floor boards dried and shrunk up thus causing larger than wanted seams. Then, I had the original job of sanding and applying varnish to all the louvered windows before they went in and we chose the bedroom area to do that job. Well, of course some varnish spilled on the floor and there are a few unsightly spots that would not look well if one varnished the floor. So, the long and short of it was that we did not varnish any of the floors and left them bare to do later (big mistake).
Ultimately, my son, who was visiting us about a year ago for a month, was encouraged to take on the duty of preparing and varnishing the living room/kitchen/laundry area floors. He took it in stride and since he was here with free room and board for a month, he did the job in his usual happy, efficient manner. Those rooms look beautiful and I am eternally thankful for him taking on the job and sparing me the aches and pains.

However, now I'm stuck with a bedroomfloor that has to be painted because of the stains on the floor. Well, I purchased a can of paint about a year ago and found out, upon opening the can, that one cannot keep paint that long and expect it to be in the same state as it was when purchased.

Problem #1: thin out the paint and make it workable. Again, living on an island causes more time to be spent on any project than one would normally expect. We started thinning the paint and ran out of paint thinner. This required a trip to town to obtain the thinner and that is an hour job in itself. Got the thinner and mixed it with the paint but the paint still maintained a grainy look. Ok, I said, I've got to work with this because to get another can of paint (expensive I purchase I might add) was out of the question.

I swept and mopped the bedroom floor and prepared 1/2 of the room for the onslaught. First, my husband decided that we needed to caulk the seams in the floor so that dirt would not settle down inbetween boards and the all-over appearance would be improved. Ok, I said, and we began that process.

By the way of preparation, one must painstakingly remove 8 years of dust that has accumulated in these cracks by using some sort of tool (a nail or screw driver) and scrape the debris out of the cracks and sweep it up. Then one must bend over (ugh) and apply the caulk which has been sitting for a couple of years and in spite of still being plyable, takes a lot of strength to get out of the tube. Of course we ran out of caulk and I had the challenging duty of calling a hardware store in LaCeiba, getting someone who could speak English, determing that they had the caulk and explaining that I wanted it shipped via the airlines to Guanaja. Of course they were happy to oblige, after I went to the bank, transferred money to their account, faxed them a copy of the transfer and then called them to inform them all of this had been accomplished. Then it was a two day wait while they made sure they had the fax and then took it to the airline office who also had to wait a day before putting it on the plane!
We finished the caulking job with sore backs and decided we would wait a couple of days to paint and give my back a chance to strengthen itself for the next job.

Now to the paint, remember it is a year old. I found out that the paint will work except that one has to brush it over an area far longer than normal to work out the small capsules of pigment that seemed to have clumped together. Now, being a "Senior Citizen," getting down on ones hands and knees for prolonged periods is quite a feat, not to mention a "Senior Citizen" in menopause. I soon discovered that I was dripping large drops of sweat onto the floor and this would not do. So I put on a bandanna around my forehead and had another one in my pocket for quick face wipes and continued on with the job at hand.

Finished the first half of the floor and waited two days for it to dry. As luck (thank goodness) would have it, the weekend was upon us so I got two more days reprieve before applying the second coat. However, sleeping in a room freshly painted was quite an irritant. The first night after painting, I awoke at about 1:30 a.m. (probably due to the smell, my hot flashes and the need to go to the bathroom) and could not fall back asleep so plodded out to the computer and kept myself occupied with various catch-up jobs I had put off!

Now, after the second coat to the floor, here I am again, this time at 3:30 a.m., at the computer, because I could not sleep. At least the first 1/2 of the floor is done and now, lucky me, I get to move the furniture from one side of the room to the other and tackle that part. Plus, I should do the closet and apply another coat to the bathroom (off the bedroom) which is the same color and was painted about 4 years ago. The job gets bigger and bigger and I have no choice but to finish or have my house in total upheaval, and this I cannot tolerate! So, no excuses, back to work.

At some point this week, I hope to have most of this job completed and I can return my rooms to their normal appearance and admire my accomplishment. I will take a photo so I can share my accomplishment with others and sit back and be happy with a job well done.

One problem, however. Because the paint was thinned out so much it went from glossy to dull and now I feel I have to apply a top coat of polyurethane to give it a shine.......or maybe not!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

You Gotta Have Friends

Living on an island and being away from family and friends is difficult at times. Family cannot be replaced, nor friends. At least, however, we are able to make new friends thus creating a cocoon of security. I say security but not meaning just having someone as a safety net to help out, but someone to share your thoughts, hobbies, compassions, time, or just to joke around with or have a serious discussion on a topic at hand.

Friends come in many categories; those you take into your confidence, those you share everyday events with, those you just greet with a hello and small talk. It is said that if one has one or two true friends you are indeed lucky. True friends are people that you can count on at anytime for anything and who will do everything in their power to be there for you.

We go through life with a variety of friends beginning with immediate families. We branch out to school chums and, as life rambles along, our co-workers join our group. We are introduced to new people and from them gleen relationships and/or friendships. Finally, at the waining years of our lives, we have hopefully created a final, strong friendship with a chosen few.

I am indeed blessed as I have 2 terrific friends I can count on for anything at anytime and 2 friends I can count on to support me in times of trouble with emotional support.

I have made new friends on the island and enjoyed the companionship of many diverse people. I have learned a lot in the 10 years I have been here and had my eyes opened to the world. I hope that the friends I have made here consider me someone they can count on too.

Living in a culture different from the one you were raised in can be frustrating at times! It is also educational and, I think at least for my part, teaches one more compassion, understanding and the desire to help others. I've always been a fairly giving person and to extend my help to others in need is my immediate reaction in situations where I see help is needed.

There are givers and takers in this world; I guess the balance of the two is what is necessary. I know a lot of takers and they seem to outnumber the givers, but that is who they are and that is what I am.

My husband often says, "You can't save the whole world" and in this he is right. However, in attempting to save just a few, one gains more than he or she puts into the effort. This is not just an attempt to gain friendship, which usually happens, or have someone "beholding" to you, but the fact that people continue to reach out gives me hope that man will not spiral downward never gaining any foothold on what is important in life.

I also believe that everyone has friends, albeit family, someone outside their circle, neighbors or people they grew up with. It would truly be sad to hear someone say they have no friends because that is indeed a lonely place to be. Thankfully, I have never run into such a person.

So, never forget to tell your friends how much they mean to you and that you love them. A true friend does not need that reassurance but it is always nice to hear.

So, I take this opportunity to tell my wonderful friends that I am thankful for their presence and how much I appreciate having known them. My life has been enriched beyond belief by each of you. I would post photos of you on this site but you know who you are and the photos would only be of importance to you and me!

So, get up and go out and make some friends or just renew old friendships by writing or calling someone today.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Woke up this morning to a beautiful day with calm seas. There had been a small squall that went through last night with some wind and rain but not overpowering. Then I learned that one of the supply boats to the island had sunk. The Captain Andrew which brings us propane, vegetables, building supplies, etc. has gone down. At this point I do not know where it happened or why but certainly the sea conditions were not a factor as the sea is flat calm.

Boats have been going by our house by the hour and I have to assume rushing to rescue the crew or gather up whatever supplies are still floating on the sea. We also assume that they went down not far off the south end of the island as the boats keep scurrying back and forth. I just hope that no one was injured or killed.

Life on an island where your only transportation is by boat is dangerous. We have had many lives taken in boat accidents but only about 8-10 in the past 20 years plus. So, if you look at the number of people killed by cars on the mainland, this is not a bad record. The majority of the accidents happened within the last 10 years with the advent of larger boats with bigger motors and more people driving drunk! When someone is involved in an accident usually at least one of the group drowns if not more. We have had many injured and again, being on an island, this is a catastrophe as it generally happens on a weekend (Saturday evening) and there are no planes out of here on Sunday.

Now we will be down to one boat for our supplies plus, most recently, the option of getting materials, food, etc. shipped over on the ferry that runs between Trujillo and Guanaja. This accident will hurt many people in many ways and those with a bigger share of the investment will have to deal with whatever insurance they had for the items on the boat. And there, again, lies another big disaster!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Manual Needed!

Why can't life come with an instruction manual? Of course, would anyone read it, take it to heart and follow its instructions? I think not.

It seems to be human nature to stumble on in life ignoring advice. We always say that one only learns from their mistakes, thus confirming my thoughts on this matter. Of course, our parents loved us because we were fresh and easily molded and showed promise. When that didn't work, they continued to love us even though they could see that the job ahead was going to be long and arduous.

Our friends, who many times see that we are heading for danger, try to head us off but, at some point, I feel they even give up on trying to give advice as they feel it will be ignored. So, once again, through our own faults, we are left to our mistakes.

Our teachers try to guide us and drill into us the learning necessary to get along in life, be someone, set goals, and, in general, be a productive person. I wonder if it is because it is an institution that grades us that we pay a little more attention to what is being taught, or, is it because a new world has opened up and we are curious as to what we can learn? At some point, some people decide they know more than their teachers and, unfortunately, arrive at a point where they feel they have all the answers. So, once again. we are back to making our way by living by our mistakes.

The Church tries to provide us with a soul, honesty, love of our fellow man and a belief that all is possible. Then those very same religious leaders tell us that their Church is the only Church (or religion) and that if you do not follow their rules you are damned to hell. They wage wars on other religious groups (all in the name of the same God) and try to control the flock by setting rules to live by which limit a person's ability to be a true individual. I believe there is a "God" or some entity guiding our lives; I do not believe in the Church or organizations who have decided they are the true religion. I use to love going to Church just for the solitude and peace it gave me but refrain now because of the animosity shown by all religions towards one another. So, maybe in this case I am learning by my mistakes or the only choice I feel is open to me at this point and I can only hope that I am taking the right path that life has offered me.

Governments try to teach us by setting laws to help us when problems arise, or to guide us in the way we run our lives, or to offer us a means of education. What goes wrong here is when Government all of a sudden leans more towards those who are breaking the laws; they show them more concern and attention to the extent of totally ignoring those who have not broken any laws and are suffering because of the action of the few. Now we learn by the mistakes of others which are directed at us!

So, I guess it is what some people would refer to as "human nature" to continue on making mistakes - learning and trying to teach others by our mistakes. I know I have made plenty and tried to pass on my knowledge only to be met with a smile and nod and a "thanks" or "mind your own business". But, I continue to try with family, friends or people who seem to need help. After all, some day I might just get through and in the process I am learning indeed from my mistakes!

Don't you just love life?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Kodak Moment of my Life

A common catch-phrase when I was growing up was "A Kodak Moment" which simply meant that whatever was going on at that time and you felt it was important you should catch it on film. Believe me, I caught a lot of moments on film. I had baby photos, family photos, vacation photos, bad photos, good photos, out-of-focus photos and photos that I don't even know now what they were of! I grew to really appreciate photos after so many that I had were destroyed by Hurricane Mitch.

One of my most treasured photos was this photo of me at about 3 months with my mother, who was then 16! I found the photo among our things after cleaning our apartment after Hurricane Mitch and found it had been ruined by water. I cried my eyes out and wrote my Mother telling her how upset I was. Lo and behold somehow she had a duplicate of the photo and sent it to me. I have since kept it in, what I believe is a safe place.

In my search through various things that were damaged by Hurricane Mitch, I came across several more of my childhood photos which I have since begun to scan with the idea of setting up a book for my children of their Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Mom and Dad and siblings. I have lost a lot of the baby photos of my children, not due to Mitch, but because I gave the baby books of each individual child to that child to hold on to and they have mislaid them over the years.

I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was from strong Swedish stock (is there any other kind?). I lived a city life of parks, backyards, school yards, bicycles, roller skates, jump ropes, jacks, hide and seek, and, on a rare occasion our family went to a nearby lake where we could swim. At the age of 7 (photo on the left) my brother and I with our parents periodically went to the "farm" where our Great Uncles lived. There we were joined up with any number of our two dozen cousins. We slept 4-5 to a bed, got dressed in front of a wood burning stove, jumped into hay mounds in the barn, helped to herd the cows, pumped water from the well for the house, among other duties, and swung on a tire swing - a great life.

My life was busy but at that age it passed by soooo slowly. I remember hardly being able to wait for 1950 to arrive as it would be a year with my lucky number in it - 5. I remember the years dragging by, especially just before I turned 13! It seemed that during my Grade school years, time passed in slow motion. While in Junior High (which is now called middle school) time moved on a bit more quickly (maybe because I was then in my teenage years). But in high school, for some strange reason, time dragged again.

I graduated in 1961 at the ripe old age of 17 1/2 and since I had not taken the required classes in High School, going to College was out. Of course, at that time the positions to be gained by going to College were in nursing or teaching (for the most part). I did attend a Business School to learn shorthand and eventually my life's occupation was as a secretary.

Marriage, my career and motherhood filled up the majority of my young life and I was fulfilled with my role as wife and mother.

By the ripe age of 26, my life, like my friends' lives, had its ups and downs. I was active with my children and parenting duties, not to mention all the different school groups I found myself in to help nuture my children's education.

My children grew, married, had children and went on to live their lives independent of their Mother, as it should be. But something strange had happened, I was older! I don't know how it snuck up on me as I was much to busy to notice any differences, but, yes, one day I found I was 40, then 50 and 60. I don't feel much older than when in my 30's (a few more aches and pains) and I'm surprised at times to see a different face in the mirror.....usually my mother's. Where did these years suddenly go?

My husband, too, can't figure out how we suddenly went from our early 20's to 60 in a flash! Now we hear about someone who is 65 and say, "oh, they are so young yet". And now, people don't appear to be as old as they did when my parents and grandparents were of this same age. I never concerned myself with how old people were, they were just in categories: kids, grownups, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I never thought in terms of age and it was not something I dwelled upon.

But now I'm there - at the "Senior Moment" in life. What have I learned over all the years? Family is important; friends are essential; a good outlook will get you a long way and a deep appreciation of nature gives one a sense of peace.

There are a few things I wish I would have done in my life and I'm not giving up on them just yet. Thankfully my health is quite good and I feel that I will be able to attain some of my unreached goals - just have to work a little faster!
I have been busy scanning old family photos to make up a book for my children. Also busy on a book of all the wonderful photos my husband has taken to present to his children. We lost so many photos in Hurricane Mitch that the ability to recover some via a scanner is simply a wonder. I can still picture photos of my children in my mind that have been lost and how I wish I had them back. Since I do not have them, I'll just make sure that those I have remain for others to enjoy and to enjoy the "Kodak Moments" in life.