Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Holidays Are Upon Us!

I have been amiss on keeping up with my blog and decided to bite the bullet and sit down and write.

Once again a year has passed and we are into the season of reacquainting with old friends, attending parties/dinners/get-togethers and wishing each other health and happiness for the New Year.

This year the season has brought more than that. It has been an unusual winter season with temperatures still hanging in the upper 80's without a breeze. Normally it is a lot cooler this time of year with the wind picking up and the seas rolling in in waves of 3-5 feet! We have had rain but not the normal amount, which in a way is good as sometimes it rains a little too much.

My plants are happy and growing well, especially those I put into the ground beside the walkway up to the house. My tomatoes have expired and are not doing as well as they did in the past; our two lime trees are not producing as many limes as they did last year and we have yet to figure out why. We put in citrus tree spikes to fertilize but the trees, evidently the trees have other plans and are not willing to give up their fruit.

Regarding plants, I have one of the few Rosemary plants on the island (at last count). The poor thing is struggling to keep alive and I don't know what to do for it. Maybe I should pay more attention to it, but when I do try and "take care and baby them," things usually croak. I was recently in Florida celebrating my birthday with family and friends and, while visiting a wonderful dear friend of mine, I happened to walk out into her back yard. What did I see there but the biggest Rosemary plant I've ever run across. My friend raises a variety of herbs (although her herb garden did not get planted this year due to unplanned events) and this particular bush she has had for a few years. I was amazed! As you can see from the photo - it is quite healthy. My daughter, who is about 5' 10 1/2" is standing next to it, so you get an idea of how tall it is!

As I said, I was in Florida to make purchases for my home on Guanaja, visit family with special thoughts of reacquainting with a friend of mine that I had lost contact with for over 20 years. Living on a remote island, it is difficult to stay in touch with loved ones in the States. Since the Internet finally became available here, it has made it much easier. I have ready access to a lot of people, but there are still some who don't utilize the Internet as I do and, so, sending them a note is not a sure sign that they will read it anytime soon! My Grandsons are a good example. The oldest is in the Marines and the youngest just graduated from High School. They, evidently, do not have a lot of time on their hands and because they live in the States and contacting people is so quick, painless and easy I don't believe they have time for the Internet. Others are generally too busy and by the time they get home from work, the last thing they want to see is a computer. So, communication with these people is a once-in-a-while thing. Still, I do not give up and keep hoping that they will suddenly find the time some day to write.

However, as I was saying, I had been out of touch with my friend, JoAnn, for years and this past year, on my return from Europe and while I had a few days in Florida, I picked up the phone book and through a little searching finally found her. Unfortunately when I did get in touch with her I was leaving the next day but we promised to write one another via e-mail.

Imagine how wonderful it is to be in touch with someone on a weekly (or in our case, daily) basis after many years of separation? She is retired and even though she is an active woman teaching students Raw Uncooked Foods as a certified Chef and keeping up her attractive lake front home, but she still manages to find time to correspond with me! Of course we had years of events to catch up on and, so, our e-mails have been filled with reminiscing of days when we lived in the same neighborhood. She and I are so much alike in dislikes, likes, hobbies, opinions of things that it is simply scary. The advantage she has over me is that she has a memory like a steel trap and can recall things that I still don't remember!

JoAnn, my daughter, Tami, and I met one day for a lovely lunch in a Tea Garden! I have never been to a Tea Garden for lunch and it was the epitome of femininity! Lace, flowers, old china, etc. graced the restaurant - even the bathroom was feminine! We had an amazing lunch with the most delectable food imaginable! We went shopping in quaint shops in Mt. Dora, Florida and had the nicest day I've had in years.

A good friend of my husband and mine, the best man at our wedding, Joe, took me in for a couple of nights at the beginning of my trip and was generous enough to help me with the planning and execution of a "family gathering" for my relatives and friends. He had recently moved into a lovely home, which he is fixing up and doing a wonderful job of it, and the area he lives in has a clubhouse, swimming pool and cookout area! The clubhouse was perfect for my plans and he and I shopped, cooked and set up for the affair. The weather was perfect and everyone that was able to come had a wonderful time.

I spent several days with JoAnn shopping, going to lunch, gossiping and staying up late to chat! She showered me with unexpected gifts "welcoming me to her home" and went out of her way to see that my trip was the best ever. And it was! I have her, my daughter and my friend, Joe, to thank for a wonderful vacation in Florida.

I then spent time with my daughter, Tami, in Plant City. She and her husband took me a Gator game in Gainesville, Florida (the Gators won, naturally) and I was given the honor of baking pumpkin bread (a family tradition during the Christmas season) for her. My daughter assisted by assembling the ingredients and waiting by with a finger and spoon to lick the bowl! I had fun with my two adorable Grandsons, Ryan and Kyle, who have anointed me with the the awesome title of "The Nana that can fix anything!"

When my birthday came around, some of us met for dinner at a really unique restaurant in Mt. Dora (they are filled with unique restaurants there). Joe, my stepdaughter, Sharon, JoAnn and her husband, Brad, enjoyed a delicious meal and wonderful conversation.

I managed to get quite a bit of shopping in (due to JoAnn's willingness to drive me around) and bought enough to pack into 4 large boxes to ship to myself via DIP. In checking, the boxes are due to arrive this week so we will have Christmas early.

All of the celebration and fun I had was due to the fact that I have Internet in my life. I can do so many things I could not do before. I can check on-line for medical problems, I can access information about various plants, I can keep in touch with friends and family and people I don't even know who stumble upon my Blog write me from time to time. I can even keep in better contact with people on the island who have Internet. We now have cell phones, but they don't always work well and the only sure thing seems to be Internet connection.

Anyway, we are looking forward to a wonderful holiday season here on Guanaja. Some of the people that live here part-time will be returning and some, like me who had to return to their home country for one reason or another, will be returning to the island. We all plan on meeting at Manati to celebrate the Christmas season and even, when it is time, to usher in the New Year.

I want to take this opportunity to wish the best of the Holiday Season to all who read my blog. My original thought was simply to keep track of things that happened to me while living on an island, never thinking so many people would read it! Thank you for hanging in there with me and providing me incentive to continue blogging!

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