Friday, March 4, 2016

Time to Post Again

I recently received a comment on my blog posted a year ago when I became a Great Grandmother from, of all things, an individual in India! That individual has inspired me to update my blog with the happenings in the past year.

I kept this Blog going from 2007 when I described what it was like living on a somewhat isolated island.  After 5-6 years there was not much more to say so I weaned off writing and last year only made the one post.  So, here I am again, to bring you up-to-date.

This is my Great Granddaughter, Charlotte Rose, celebrating her 1st birthday this March.  Charlotte was a premature baby weighing in at under 2 lbs.  She was a fighter and survived and is now 12 lbs. 5 oz., has 7 teeth and looks like her Daddy, Joshua.  She is the happiest baby I've seen in a long time and just a little miracle.

Next, Roland and Annette Rumm became Grandparents in February, 2016, when their son, Roland, and his wife, Julia, were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, Santiago.

Santiago and his parents should be returning to the island this week after a rest in La Ceiba.  Congratulations to all!

I have reported on all the pets we have had over the years and we are still going strong with 3 dogs, 1 cat, 4 birds and a huge flock of hummingbirds at about 8 feeders!  Our one cat, Ivey, is 18 years old and going blind.  I decided I did not want her roaming the area at night (she has always been an outside cat) and, so, brought her into the house to live.  That meant training her to a litter box.  Ivey was use to relieving herself anywhere so this was a monumental task, but I was up to it.

For the most part, but not always, Ivey uses the litter box but she still manages to relieve herself on my rugs.  I finally decided that she would have to be confined to the front porch with a litter box.  Surprise!  She uses the one out there all the time, well, with a few mishaps.  We bring her in during the day for a bit of loving and it seems to be working well.

We have a new full-time vet on the island too: Dra. Julia Rumm.  She has been practicing for over a year and we welcome her services.

We are presently in the process of re-painting the inside of the house.  It is about time!  After 19 years it needs some brightening up.  We've completed the bathroom, are tackling the floor in their and will move on to other areas.  I figure it will take most of this year to complete the task as it is a lot of work clearing out all the "stuff" we have accumulated.

I don't know if I mentioned it in the past but the island built a new and more modern airport terminal.  We once had a grass shack for years (very original and unique), the ultimate site of "Concourse B".   A few years ago a concrete building was put up with the "thought" of using it as a terminal and ticket counter.  Never took and the whole place ended up being storage for various construction materials.  

 This is a photo of the old airport - pretty neat!

Finally, a new terminal was built which is very spacious, complete with bathrooms (!!!) and seating for passengers.  A building was added to one side to be used as a tourist center but, unfortunately, we must have an influx of tourists to use it to the best of its ability.  So, that sits unused as there are not funds to man the facility nor pay for the electrical power.  Then, they decided to build a building on the other side, I guess to balance the structure out (?) and no one knows exactly what the purpose of that building will be.  As yet it is not complete and if someone comes up with a use for it, maybe it will be finished.  Meanwhile, one can wait in comfort now in the Harry Hunter Airport Terminal.  Unfortunately, I cannot locate a photo of the new airport in my files, so you'll just have to come and see for yourself.

There is a new DAN building near the airport terminal being outfitted with a decompression chamber.  We don't know the completion schedule of this project nor who will man it but it is a much needed addition to the area.

As it goes, we have limited restaurants here on the island.  Manati is still in operation with wonderful German food.  Graham's has expanded their outdoor experience with a larger restaurant and a good menu.  Some restaurants on the Cay (Bonacca) have come and gone and Nona's changed hands with Nyoon being the new owner.  He made several changes in the outside dining area, closing it in and adding new furniture.   A new eatery just opened; Rosalinida's which we hope to check out this week during our weekly shopping trip to the Cay.

We still have Bo's Island House Bar out on the water on the North side of the island and Shawn and Lisa Holder's "Mi Casa Too" high up on a bluff overlooking the water on the bight.

Mi Casa Too has wonderful island fare served in a beautiful atmosphere.  This should not be missed but I must warn you, it is a long walk up many 127 steps to reach this great view - but well worth it.  There are so many photos of this really unique place and the two I have below don't do it full justice - you just have to go and see it in person.

Over the years Guanaja has improved.  The people are more conscientious about the garbage and the island is cleaner because of it.  We have a new library and computer center (computer center is aimed at the children) and our vegetable stands have increased considerably.  We now get more types of vegetables than ever before and this past year we finally received fresh mushroom, leeks, snow peas and we have available quality lettuce from Roatan grown hydroponically.  This may not seem earth shattering to those who live in the "land of plenty" but believe me, it is a big thing here.

We also were graced with a visit from Robert Gallardo who, after years of research and live study, created a book: "Guide to the Birds of Honduras."  If you are a bird lover, it would be a wonderful addition to your library.  Just Google Robert Gallardo and you can order a copy.

Robert and his lovely wife are shown in the middle of this photograph.

Our internet service is more varied now with availability through a Tigo "stick" (Tigo is one of the local phone companies) which is inserted into the computer for those within range of the towers.  A Mexican firm has recently offered service and, as always, we have the Hughes Network.  Those in the more advanced countries may not be happy with the slow service we get but, hey, at least we get internet and we are happy!

More attention is being paid to conservation and the protection of our reefs.  We now have areas where no fishing or spearing is allowed and they are regularly checked by locals and/or the Honduran Coast Guard which now has a base here.  Guanaja is going green and we are really trying to improve our island and make it more beautiful.

We were hit with a blight on the hibiscus bushes over the last couple of years.  It is airborne from what I read but we are not sure of the exact  cause; insects or some or air borne bacteria.  Either way, a white mold develops on the plant and the leaves and flowers are diminished in size with the leaves curling up into tight fist-like appearance.  We understand that this "blight" was not confined to just Guanaja but has appeared in several places around the world.  We fought it for about two years and finally gave up and cut down the hibiscus plants in our front yard (saved two of them) and replaced them with minature Ixoria plants.

The bushes removed are the green ones you see directly in front of the porch.  They were not flowering at the time but when they did we had white, pink, red and peach colored flowers.

We now have two dentists in Guanaja; Dra. Jill Haylock and the most recent addition, Dra. Andrea LeviaM Wood.  As Dra. Jill is only here part time so I recently went to Dra. Andrea with a problem.  All my life I have had relatively small teeth - the size of teeth children have before they get in their adult teeth.  Over the years the top teeth have worn down to the point, last year, that I didn't like to smile for photos.  I went to Andrea to see about laminates and/or crowns for my upper front teeth.  She took an impression of my teeth and between her and a dental technician in Tegucigalpa it was decided that I am too hard on my teeth and laminates would not be the way to go.  So we went ahead with crowns.  A month later I had a new smile, at a reasonable cost I might add, and am very happy with the results.

Above, in 2013, you can just see my empty mouth and what appears to be a big hole in the top.

Below you can see my new smile!  Quite a difference!

The clinic on the Cay (Bonacca) has been updated and reorganized to work more efficiently.  Banco Atlantida (the only bank on the island) revamped with new counters, new paint job and now chairs in the lobby for seating.  Unfortunately 2 of the 4 tellers are gone and for a while we had only 1 teller which made for several hours of waiting in line!  They have added a temporary teller bringing up the total to 2 but it still means long waits in the bank.  We are hoping that they will find at least 2 tellers to bring the compliment up to 3 so that the work among them is more evenly distributed and the wait is less.

Roland Rumm has added a beautiful bed and breakfast at Roland's Garden House on the island.  He and his lovely wife are great hosts and there is a variety of things to do with Roland: repealing the water fall of Guanaja, kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching; hiking and fishing and diving can be arranged.  These are a few photos of Roland's lovely place:

 One of the views from Roland's porch

Guanaja has gone "green" meaning that the residents are being more conscientious about garbage, waste and disposal.  The result is that there is less trash on the beaches, the streets of the Cay are kept swept and cleaned and there is an effort by the Municipal to eliminate plastic bags from the island.  It is against the laws in Honduras to ship plastic bags and/or containers to the islands but everyone seems to turn a blind eye to that law.  The Municipal has tried, unsuccessfuly, in the past to ban plastic bags but maybe this new effort will prove successful.  

The reefs are under a stricter control and attempts to curb harvesting conch and lobster around the island are being enforced.  We hope this effort will bring our conch and lobster population, not to mention turtles and fish life, back up to good levels.  Many volunteers around the island are keeping a lookout for illegal fishing/netting/spear fishing and have been successful in warding off would be thieves of the deep!

I am sure there are things I have missed in this update but just wanted to post so everyone know that I'm still around and report on all the changes to the island!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Many Firsts This Year

Well, I'm back and want to report on the several "Firsts" of 2015.


My Grandson, Joshua, and his wife, Brandi, were delivered of their first child on February 23, 2015 and, according to the doctors, Charlotte Rose was 9 weeks early.  If one checks weight charts she came in at 13 inches long and 1 lb. 9 oz. which is weight for a child 11 weeks early.  Either way, overall she was and is a healthy baby.  She is off a ventilator and breathing on her own with occasional help from oxygen.  She took her first bottle today and as of this writing she is now up to a whopping 2 lbs.!  She continues to be a little fighter and, hopefully, in a couple of months will be able to go home with her parents.
Congratulations to Joshua and Brandi!

Another first on the island, a movie was filmed here.  It was a sequel to a movie made a year or two ago and is a comedy.   The title is "Un Loco Verano Catracho" or A Crazy Summer in Honduras - or something close to that.  Filming was done in various spots around the island depicting underwater scenes, beach scenes, and the various adventures of a "farmer" taking a vacation with his city cousin on the island of Guanaja.  It will be shown in theaters in Honduras this summer from what we understand.

Naturally this caused a lot of excitement around here.  Since we have limited extra curricular activities anything new always brings out the islanders.  One portion of the filming was done at Graham's Cay and so that day was a party day for all who wanted to attend  The weather cooperated and many islanders turned out to be part of the filming or just to observe.

Next, the first cruise ship in a long time docked at Guanaja.  The Ms. Serenissima docked just off the town of Bonacca on Feb. 10, 2015.  The less than 100 passengers (it was a small cruise ship) were greeted by the Mayor, a band and guides to take them touring on the Cay, on hikes, snorkeling and a visit to Graham's Cay for relaxation.  The Cay was spruced up, decorated and tables set out offering many items made locally for purchase.  Due to the diligence of our Mayor, Surgeon Miller, Guanaja saw its first cruise ship with hopes that similar, smaller ships will grace our port.

Next, after a lot of work and a long time coming, Guanaja has their very own Library and Learning Center.  Located near the Post Office on Bonacca, the new library opened with fan fare just a couple weeks ago.  Many people have worked hard to make this library a success and I wish I had the names of all the people involved to share with you.  Either way, good job folks and great to see a project like this get going on the island.

Of course this is the time of year to pay your property taxes as a 10% discount is offered for people paying early in the year.  As taxes have increased the 10% savings should help out.

Next, the lion fish that have invaded our waters around the Bay Islands are turning out to be beneficial in that they are an excellent eating fish.  While these fish are native to the Pacific and have no natural enemies they have proven not to be a good thing for our waters.  With no predators they have the capability of destroying the fish life we have in our waters.  They are very territorial and prolific.  They can only be caught by spearing and there is an annual Lion Fish Festival held on Roatan for catching the most or biggest fish.  Meanwhile on Guanaja, I have discovered the light, pleasant taste of these fish and if history repeats itself - we may eliminate this fish from our waters!

Lastly, this year has not been the best one for my husband and I.  First our 18 year old inverter starting sparking and eventually went out.  It did not go down alone however.  It took our MAC hard drive, our laptop and my KichenAid mixer with it.  The one thing we do not want to be without on the island is a computer.  So, I contacted TechnoComp on the coast and with the aid of Joel we purchased a new Toshiba.  Our new hard drive for the MAC arrives the first of April with friends returning to the island to spend a month of relaxation.  Meanwhile, I am going through the stress of re-acquainting myself with the World of MicroSoft.  I have found there is a lot of unnecessary icons on the 8.1 version which we do not need because of where we are located.  This means these programs are running in the background taking up a lot of my limited bandwidth.  So I am working on eliminating those programs that are of no use to us and streamlining the computer.  Of course this is not without problems which in turn cause a great deal of stress when one has no one to turn too!

Our new inverter arrived and has since been installed.  We luckily had a back-up inverter so no cease in sun shine electric power!

Finally, I don't remember if I had blogged that I became a Grandmother last Sept. 10, 2014 when my son, Randy, and his wife, Gina, brought into this world my darling Holly little Berry!  Because they live in South Korea sending gifts is difficult at best from Guanaja.  I did manage, however, to made the sweater and flip flops for my little girl and, hopefully, they will arrive within the month....maybe even before she out grows them!

Also, our Mayor is dedicated to developing tourism for the island.  Last year a dive convention was held in Las Vegas and the Mayor and his wife, along with George of Clearwater Paradise Resort went and manned a booth dedicated to diving Guanaja.  George did a bang up job on the booth and dedicated many hours promoting the pleasures of diving on our island.  Lately the effort is bearing fruit as George and Ginger have seen a slight increase in their clientele.  We just hope that this upswing continues to benefit everyone on the island.

So, although I haven't been blogging lately, I hope this brings some of you up to date on the activities of this year thus far.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Just had to brag!

I have, in the past, displayed a few of my crochet projects over the years and I'm sure that the majority of the people that read my blog will not be interested in this.  However, this was such an unusual project that I had to take a photo and tell someone!

This is called a Temair Throw and the pattern was free at  Initially it was offered as one of their "projects of the month" and people were given 3 or 5 projects to select from and from the final voting the people at Lion Brand would then decide what project they would put on-line and assist people in making.  This did not win.  I guess because it is so unusual, looks very difficult and how many people want a throw like this?

So, I wrote and asked them where I could find the pattern and ended up getting the pattern and bought their  yarn (linen in color) to use.

I started this project almost 2 years ago.  Now I must admit, I absolutely hate connecting motifs and prefer to make projects with as little "extra" work as possible.  However, this was stunning (in my opinion) and I knew just who I could make it for.

Actually crocheting the multi motifs was not that difficult and it went surprisingly fast and I was done in no time.  I then laid them out to prepare to sew them together.  That's when I got totally frustrated.  It is a time consuming project and because these motifs were circles there was a lot more planning involved.  I then put the project aside and just could not convince myself to return to it for a while.  

The "while" turned into months and this year my friend (who is the recipient of this gift) asked if I would bring it to her when I made my trip to the States.  I said, sure, don't worry, I will bring it.  I did not tell her that it was languishing in my closet and that until the past two weeks I dreaded taking it out.

As it happened, when I took it out, the final parts of the throw went together beautifully and in less time than I thought.  I had to make some alterations to the pattern merely because the way it was explained turned out to be much more difficult and I found an easier way.  Also, after completing the tassels and cords I found that the cords were too long for my taste.  The pattern called for 10 tassels which I felt was a little too much and I made 6.  However, upon completion and when I laid it out to photograph it, I now feel that 10 tassels may be right.  So, I will take my pattern and yarn to Florida, give it to my friend and if she wants, I'll make the extra 4 tassels.

So, I, temporarily, am in the possession of a beautiful throw with a 3-dimensional look.  I will pack it up and take it to the States and then comes the process of "plumping" up the various circles to achieve, again, the wonderful 3-D look they have.

I am now sticking, basically, to much quicker projects but am very proud of this one. So here's a close-up of the center circle.  The first photo is at an angle in order to see the 3-dimension quality.  The second is a close up of the center circle.