Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pitbulls, Paso Finos & the good life....

Warning!  This is going to be a very photo heavy post!   There is just so much I want to post and so little time to do so.  We're soooo sooo busy here.  Right now one day is just blending into the next.  Seems all we do is relax, wander, explore, read, sleep, eat, drink, swim.... Night has blended into day and everything seems like we just did it.  We've done a lot and I can't remember if it was yesterday or two days ago.

One day the boys and I went for a walk around our neighborhood.  It was a beautiful day. Oh yeah,  they're all beautiful days.   This is a very pit bull friendly island.  We saw a bunch on our walk, all very much living up to the pit bull reputation!  Lickers and lovers!  Here are a few we met during our walk.  Have no fear, they look tough.. they are indeed very pitbully and love people!  We were able to pet and play with them all!

We really like this guy.  He lives a few doors down.  He looks like a dalmatian pit bull!

I love the carefree, no stress life down here.  The other day they were black topping some roads.  We wondered what happen if cars weren't moved.  Not to worry...

We ended up visiting a hotel/restaurant we ate, swam and drank at one year.  It has new owners, who rushed right over when they noticed we were just hanging around.   Anyway, I took this picture for Keith.  Notice the concrete counter top.  Here Jay and Tracy are admiring it!   

We eventually made our way to the Pescadaria where the boys bought some lobsters for dinner.  They totaled 7 pounds.  They cooked them that night and I got steak.  I was expecting steak.... turned out to be skirt steak.  Oh well, steak is steak, right?  (no)

Kosti  had the need to name his lobster, Chip and Dale....

Along our walk, Kosti, the crazy one here, had the need to climb a palm tree to get a coconut.  Didn't work, but he tried!

Vieques is a beautiful, relaxing laid back Island.  There are no traffic lights, but there is "traffic" when the ferry comes in.   It's all relative, right?  This is the worst of the traffic here.  We've learned to stay away when it comes it.  Who would want to be caught up in this?

This is the worst of it!   Lasts maybe a whole 3 minutes.  It's all relative!

A few days ago, Popi (Jay) took me out to take photos of the Paso Finos.  I am just mesmerized by them.  They are all over.  Beautiful animals.  They all run free.  Some belong to people, some don't.  That morning we went out to a few different locations.  At first I just approached them and more times then not, they ran off.  Then I realized, (after Popi suggested it) to approach cautiously and kind of sneak up on them.  I did.  I realized that if  I got low to the ground, they were alright with me.  They are not large horses, but they are beautiful and graceful. I shot 600+ pictures that morning.  Here are a few of my favorites.  I just fell in love with them animals!!!!

Here I scared them off....

At the Ceiba Tree.

Details, I'm trying to get details.  Check out those eyelashes.! 

Well, the boys are awake.  Kosti wants to go shopping, so I'm going to end now.  I have not had my pitbull or Paso fill yet, so I'm off to pet a few Pitties, and gaze at a few Pasos.  I do miss my Sadie Girl...

                                                                Check back soon. More pictures to follow.
                                                                                            With warm regards,
                                                                                                    Janet & The Boys!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's my Vieques Birthday!!!!

So,  Tracy and I decided to change the dates we celebrate our birthday.  Both being born in January, we were tired of cold, snowy birthdays, so we changed them to our favorite month.  "February in Vieques".  Tracy's b-day was last week.  Mine is today!!!!! YaaaaaaA!

There's a lot going on today, and I've already had 2 mimosa's!  YaaaaA!  I make the plans!   So, here's what we're doing... 
                 1. Mimosas  
                 2.Glass Beach
                 3. Popi make us breakfast
                 4.  Go to the beach and float on our floaties and drink beer.
                 5.  Eat PB&J sandwiches on the beach
                 6. Look for Manatees
                 7. Go to Coconuts for dinner!

Sounds like a great day!  Oh and guess what I got from Tracy and Kosti!   The best card ever! and second best present ever!  see photos!!!!

My boys wishing me a happy 45th! BIRTHDAY!  I'm celebrating 45, because that was the year I had it all!  It was before Carol was sick, Andrew was doing really well and Jay Cruz and I were a forever thing!  It was a very good year.  Now, I have a different kind of all! (and its good). I have all the grandbabies, Jason, Kris, Mark, Mike & Josh are all healthy and happy.   I have Jay Cruz Forever.  I have the best, sweetest and closest friends Chris J., Tracy & Kosti.  And I have the spirits and memories always of Mom, Dad, Grams, Gramps, Carol & Andrew!   Life is oh so good.  Oh and I have the best dog ever!  Miss Sadie Girl!  

Look what I got for my birthday from my boys!  My very first Coach ever!!!!!!!!  LOVE IT!

Love to you all , thanks for reading! (time for the BEACH!!!!!)


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Last night I had a crazy dream....

..... 'bout a Russian riding a Paso Fino...  Oh wait, it wasn't a dream, it's all coming back to me now, he really did.   Yesterday was a lazy daze....  Jay and Tracy had gotten too much sun the day before, (which I really don't understand, but I guess their red shoulders 'splains it) so we just hung around Vivo Grande relaxin, reading, and such.   Jay is beating me this year in the book department.  He's on his third and I am just in the middle of my 2nd.  One thing I have found out, the Kindle Fire isn't really conducive to reading out in bright sunlight, so it has slowed me down a bit.  I have to be in the shade or inside to read and that defeats the purpose for me of being here.  Sun!  I need sun!  But on a brighter note (chuckle), Jay is so relaxed that he's reading a Nicholas Sparks book. Hmmm, who'da guessed?

So we decided to hit Esperanza for dinner last night, or more specifically, Bananas.  Yes folks, the one and only Bananas South.  Where I first fell in love with Vieques 7 years ago.  Now keep in mind Island time.  There is no rush for anything.  While sipping on our frozen drinks waiting for our meal to come out.  Kosti, who has been itching to ride a Paso, convinced a kid to let him ride his horse!  ($$$ are the great convincer) Do you think one time was enough for him?  Nooooooooo.   He went 2 more times!  The Kid did pretty good last night.  Good thing our food finally came out, or Kosti might have gone broke paying to ride.  Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me to capture the joy on his face as he rode down the Malacon.  Oh well, just a reason to do it again!.  Crazy Russian!

Oh, and my "dilemma"  from an earlier post.  I got back to Eileen, let her know I was really confused as the people she "booked" us with were telling her one thing and they had something completely different posted on their website.  When she asked them about it, they said they "just raised their prices and they must have missed something on the website".   Plus on the website, it said "2 hour snorkeling trip to Blue Tang Reef" and in the email, the person said you couldn't get to Blue Tang Reef and back in 2 hours.  So something was pretty fishy and unsettling.  I cancelled the reservations and decided we would ask around once we got here.  We have an have a few names to check out.

It doesn't look as amazing here as in person, but here is a view of the night sky from our roof top.  The stars are incredible!

I was playing with night photography on the roof last night.  Unfortunatly, there is too much light polution from the street lamp in front of Vivo Grande for this to work.  Here's one that I came out with that I think is pretty fun.

It's a beautiful day today!  Jay and I are out on the back deck having coffee.  I just got back from my walk.  I'll tell you, with views on walks like this, I would love walking everywhere all day long!  Beautiful.

So, I thought I'd take some pictures, (practice shooting in BRIGHT sunlight) and share it with you!

To the right is the former "Casa Verde".  Guess I'll have to find another dream house.

I'll take you on  my walk with me.  Some of the sights.  And imagine lots of chickens and roosters making noise, there you have the sound!

Wow, that didn't take long!   My new dream house and it's for sale!   Yea!  Now if no one buys it for the next 5 years, we may be in business.  I'm going to have to work on a name.  It already has one, Bravos 1.  It's in Boston De Bravos. I think it deserves a better name then that.  The house is pretty basic, but the views from the roof I'm thinking are spectacular!  

The rest of the pictures here are from my walk this morning.  Bam!  all right out of the camera.  No editing!  Bright Bright light can be tricky.  I think I'm getting it!

I'm not sure why the watermark is off center with the vertical pictures, sorry!  Just another thing I'll have to fix when I get home.  My walk took me through Boston de Bravos this morning.  I decided to just choose random roads.  It's hard to get lost here as there are a very limited number of roads.  They all eventually lead back to the same place!

If I could garden down here, I'd have lots of tropicals, bananas, palm trees and Orchids.   

The second house here on the right has been in this state for the past 7 years that I have been walking in this neighborhood.  So much for progress in some places.  Really there is nothing different about it.  It has been in the same exact state for 7 years!  Amazing.

So in my first post when I mentioned that we had a hill to climb at the end of our journey, I just want to clarify that it was nothing like the hill at Brisas del Mar.  Our vacation rental on Culebra last year.  This is the hill above that I am talking about here.  Piece of cake.  Except after either a long days journey or a long night drinking!

That's it for today folks.  I'm thinking it's a beach day, cause it's a scorcher out here right now.  Check back soon!

                                                                   Miss my Sadie Girl!

                                                                    Smooches to you all!

                                                                                           Janet & The Boys!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pictures from our Excellent Adventure!

I thought I'd post some pictures.  If I were really talented with the computer, I either post a whole boat load full on Flicker, or make a slide show to music and post it here.  I'm not that talented!
I'm so struggling with this itsy bitty computer, it's all I can do to get these pics up.   ~Kosti and I did some shopping today, now he has found  new sense of freedom with the sarong he purchased. (Use your imagination, I am not going to spell it out here)!  Just thought I'd share.~   Anyway above is a photo of the old (300 years) Ceiba Tree and a pretty Paso Fino.

The Mangrove trees are simply amazing.  We walked through a Mangrove forest yesterday.  It's really neat to see the roots and how they reach out in all directions.  Then the leaves fall and decay... over the years, new land is formed.

Below is the view of Puerto Rico from Green Beach.  It is just so beautiful here!  

                                                We had a lovely little stroll on Green Beach!

 After Green Beach we did some exploring.  To the left is what is left of a WW2 gun turret.  These things (a variety of such) are all over the place.

We made our way over to the Bunkers.  They would make interesting housing.  Unfortunately they were all locked.  Above is Kosti trying to see what's inside.  (nice butt shot).   It was too dark to see through the little peep hole, so he  held the camera up to it and with flash on, this is what we found! (below)  Nothing exciting, just a lot of lumber.

 Roadside of Beef and her Bull.  They were kind of annoyed with us so we drove on.

Here are our neighborhood pets.  Please disregard the off center watermark.  I don't know what I did wrong, but it just will take too long to reload.  To the left is our cat we like to call ~ Cato~  and below is Sol.  She is such a good puppy.  She was my model today, helping practice getting my lighting right in the camera!

~My view from the Hammock~

Enjoying the sun! 

                                                                Janet & The Boys

Island Time

We’re here.  It didn’t take long for us to settle in.   There is something to be said for the familiar. We  have already acclimated to “Island Time”.  Couldn’t tell you what day it is.  We have no sense of the need to “do something”.  We are just taking the time, moment by moment.

 It’s been 2 years since we’ve been here and we are noticing the creep of progress.  I fear the word has gotten out about our little piece of paradise.   The creep however is just a creep.  Things like the little house on the corner across the street from us, is no longer.  It was demolished at some point and is now being replaced by a Hacienda.,  Hacienda with a BIG H!  The thing is huge.  (pictures will follow soon, maybe tonight).   And Casa Verde, be still my heart has been painted yellow!  Oh no!  It’s also being rebuilt.  An attorney from Hoosick Falls, NY bought both pieces of property.   Glass beach now has three new properties on it.  Who knew there was even enough room to build there, but yes they did.   Beautiful little sea side villas.  They even built one around a Palm Tree.  Now that’s what I dream of!.  A house built around a palm tree.  Did you know I love Palm Trees?  I do!

Yesterday we headed off to the beach for our first snorkeling adventure and guess what, they paved the road to Caracas!  Unbelievable.   When we got there the place was packed!  30 or 40 groups.  Now if you have spent any time listening to my Vieques stories, you know my ability to count diminishes when I’m here.  So in reality, it was probably 10 to 15 groups there.  Either way to big a crowd for me.  So we turned around and headed to a different beach.  Thank goodness the road to La Chiva hasn’t been paved,  the bridge is out and we had  a bit of an adventure to get there.  We got there and it is still as beautiful as ever!  And, no crowd.  So I got to snorkel.  I didn’t see much, but I did see some beautiful fishes.  I do need to remember not to yell “fishies” when I see them, as I do think I probably scared them off.  A little girl who was also out saw a stingray,  I decided not to go looking for him.

Adventure why yes we have had some.  We locked ourselves out of the house one night.  The boys decided to go back to Mar Azul and I waited on the lounge chair in front of Kathi and Gary’s door until the came home.  It was a beautiful night and I probably would have sat  outside for a while anyway.  Yesterday we celebrated Tracy’s 29th Birthday.  Since we changed the dates of our birthdays and since they are our birthdays, we decided we can celebrate any year we want.  I’m celebrating 40 yrs next Tuesday!

We have seen lots of Paso Fino’s.  I think they have multiplied tenfold since we were last here.  I love them.  They are so beautiful and graceful.  Magical!  We’ve also seen  a beautiful roadside cow wandering loose and it’s brama bull!

Tracy and Jay and still sleeping.  The rum punches were especially gooooodddd last night!    Kosti and I are confiscating the credit cards, taking the car and are going shopping!  Toodles!

Oh yeah,  there is a new neighborhood dog, Sol.  She is a beautiful puppy Boxer.  She is very pretty and playful and she owns the neighborhood.  She lets herself into the yard.  Joins us on the deck and if we let her would come spend some time with us in Vivo Grande.  I still miss Sadie!

                                                            Hugs and kisses to you all, check back ~  pictures to follow!

                                                                                              Janet & The Boys!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two automobiles, 2 planes, one bus, one boat and a very steep hill.  We made it home!  Vivo Grande....

We had a surprisingly easy trip here.  Lots of modes of transportation that all went very smoothly.  Jamie met us at the airport (I love having a driver in Puerto Rico!) & and Gary met us at the Ferry (I love having a landlord in Vieques).  We had a great dinner at Mar Azul, met the new owners ~ Dan & Marie ~ (of course).  
A few bushwhackers later and we were off to bed!  What a day...

Well now I have to get used to this ity bitty computer again, and better entries will follow.  We have a busy day today:
              pick up rental car
             grocery shopping
             call DinDin about a snorkeling/fishing trip 

We're going to not let the stress of this lengthy "to do list" get to us.  To help me, I have just finished my favorite breakfast drink,  (actually 3) and am ready for the day!!!!!!!

                     I do wish Sadie Girl were here, but she's bonding with Josh, which is good!.  Love to you all!

                                                                                    Janet & The Boys!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Dilemma for the day.... What to do?

Last year when we were planning our vacation, I searched and searched and searched for the perfect house that we could afford to rent on Culebra.  I thought I was brilliant when I found the place we eventually stayed at.  Although it wasn't my first, or second choice, (those were both rented) it did sound better than the house where 2 walls of the second bedroom were curtains!   I was particularly drawn to the listing as it had a "dipping pool".  Little did I know, and couldn't tell from the pictures that the "dipping pool" was no bigger than the oversize chair my dog is currently snuggling on in my living room. (if you look back to last Feb/March posts you will see a picture)   Additionally the "deeping pool" wasn't heated, it was winter and the water was freezing.  We went in it once, just to say we went in it once!

I digress.  My point being here, that I am not the best at making vacation adventure arrangements.   The boys were very nice about it, even if the house choice wasn't my finest move, to say the least.  ~  Now if you take that house and plop it at Conesus Lake, it would have met all my expectations~ "dipping pool" and all.  

This year we are heading back to Vivo Grande, our tried and true!  Tracy and I both have January birthdays.  We figured, since the birthdays are ours, we can celebrate them whenever we want.  We decided to change our birthdays from January to February this year to celebrate in the sun!   My first dilemma of the year, what do we get Tracy?   #1 He has everything  and   #2 He gives great gifts.  Ah ha!  It hit me, we always talk about finding someone who would take us out on a boat while in Vieques. Someone who would take us places we can't get to by car and nobody goes to.  So I thought if we could hire to do that, it would be a great gift!  I began searching and came up with a few options.  I emailed our friend Gary down there to ask what he thought of the options.  He gave me an altogether different option then the ones I had discovered.....

I  made a call to the people Gary referred me to and initially it sounded great.  Then I got an email and they've made reservations for us on a completely different option, one I had seen but didn't even consider in the first place because it didn't sound like what we want to do.    It sounds very similar to what we did a few years ago ~ and that was a disappointment.

My dilemma is, am I just not good at choosing adventures, would this be good or disappointing?  I believe what I see and think it looks "perfect" only to be let down.  What to do.  I'm worried that if I make these plans, it will be like the house on Culebra,  "Conesus Lake~ish".  (Or maybe more like snorkeling in Lake Ontario? naw can't be like that, right?) Don't get me wrong, I love renting a cottages on Conesus, boating & swimming there.  I would do it all summer if I could.    But I don't want to go to Vieques for that type of experience.  So do I say thank you and go along with the trip, and pray it's a good experience?  Do I cancel it and go with one of my first options that looks more like what we wanted? ( and that might flop as well?)  what to do????

Guess your going to have to check back after February 23rd to find out.   That's the rest of the story....  That's the day we are tentatively scheduled to go out on this snorkeling trip.  Shhhhh, don't tell Tracy, he doesn't know yet.  Although I might tell him so he can make the call!  I'm not good at surprises. 

Well, this dilemma has been weighing so heavy on my brain that I couldn't sleep.    Maybe since it's now 4:45 am ~  I can go back to bed and fall asleep for an hour or so, or maybe not!  We'll see.  what to do what to do?

FYI,  Sadie is snuggled next to me, snoring away .......


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Getting Ready!

I know... we go every year.  You would think with 50+ years of life behind me I wouldn't be feeling like a kid anticipating a trip to Disney World.  Can't help it, I feel like a kid anticipating a trip to Disney World and right now counting down the days! 

There are so many things I love about this trip! I love everything, except leaving Sadie and the travel home.  Even though we go to the same place, (we did wander off course last year and had an excellant adventure) with the same people and do many of the same things, each year there is some little twist we don't anticipate, or plan.  So much fun and making so many memories.  I know when we get to Vivo Grande it feels like our second home.  It has all the amenities of home, it is very familiar, there are great views and we love our landlords!   How funny, we ~ okay I ~  call the people who own Vivo Grande our "landlords",  helps with the illusion if even for a brief time, that it's our lifestyle!   Not to mention at some point in the trip we go spend time with Jay's parents.  Who I love and who love me back as their daughter!   How crazy great is that!  I have Parents I can actually visit!!!!!!!!  Crazy I know, but it's the little things... I love love love spending time with them.

I am not a fan of snow and winter.  I love the anticipation of summer.  I LOVE summer and everything associated with it.   I love Winter in Puerto Rico, particularly when you're on your way to the beach and the locals tell you you're crazy.... it's winter you know!   I know I love winter in Puerto Rico!   I love coming home in March with the Rochester winter winding down.

It feels like this trip is my summer vacation and going back to work after the trip is my September.  I measure my life by what has happened since the last trip and wonder wow, what does the year ahead hold in store for us.  This past year was a very good year.  Jay and I were talking about it last week.    It was a good year, not because anything "big" happened, but because nothing "big" happened.  In recent years big has been major illness for family and friends or major loss.   2011 brought us Max Koppers!  and he is a wonderful addition to the family!  We also had many laughs, Tiki Bar parties, and important reconnection's with friends.   Jay gave me my new camera, which I love, Kristen is full guns ahead into Photography ~ a partner in crime ~  love it!,  Jay and I had a surprising quick trip to Buenos Aires ~ a beautiful city! I got a Kindle Fire ~ which means I don't have to carry or mail books and magazines on the trip, I started swimming regularly ~  I LOVE swimming ~ Love it!  Tracy gave me snorkeling gear for Christmas ~ love him and the gear! and tons of other fun fun fun stuff ~  and mainly everyone plus 1 (baby Max) is still with us this year and we are all happy and healthy, even Sadie Girl!!!  It has been a very good year.  I think 2012 is going to be a great year as well.

So,  to get off on a better foot than last year (although it made for a great story) I have started to pack, and am trying to get everything ready I want to take....

    I'm ready....  Check back soon as we are less that a week and a half away from My
    Excellent Adventure with Jay & The Boys 2012!

    Sadie Girl will be in good hands... although she saw the suite cases come out, she   
    knows what's coming and she's pouting already...  The only downside of the trip,
    leaving Sadie home.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

2011 Weddings

2011 was a great year for weddings!   I really got to spend some time with some beautiful, fun, loving amazing couples. And the weddings, boy were they Hot!  Really I mean they were hot hot hot!  Seriously like 90 degrees + in the sun hot!!!  I sweat thinking Kelly and Justin, Jamie and Eric and Desa Rae and Joe's weddings, oh my goodness we were all hot hot hot!  A beautiful Wedding Season! 

Here are a few of my favorites from the 2011.  To top the year off, I had the pleasure of capturing Shawna and Nick's New Years Eve Ceremony!   While it wasn't sweating hot outside, Shawna and Nick were sizzling hot! 

Here's hoping for a hot, and fabulous 2012 Wedding season!

I am looking forward to this wedding season!