2/22/21

The cement jungle. (And it really is a small world.)

Fred and I often bike ride in the mornings now, and we travel the one road that takes us from Rum Point through Old Man Bay and down towards East End here in Grand Cayman.  The island has only a few main roads that take you from one end of the island, all the way around to the other end.  There is one point where you can cut across the middle of the island, and that means that the road from the half-way point from one end along the coast to our end is typically somewhat deserted. 


We have made the drive many, many times around East End, as this is the way to the Health City hospital where Fred had both his hips replaced. (At different times, fortunately.)  It’s a beautiful drive, but to be honest there are no drives on this island that are not amazing.  


Each time we are on this particular stretch of Queen’s Highway, we are amazed by one particular yard that we pass.  It’s a large sandy yard that stretches for almost half of a football field, and is filled with amazing sculptures.  


There is a large sign in front of the yard, near the road, that welcomes anyone passing to park and admire the sculptures.  One day last week when biking I took them up on their offer! Fred and I stopped and placed our bikes in the little parking area and walked from sculpture to sculpture. I was floored at the beauty and whimsy, and found many more pieces tucked here and there that weren’t as large and obvious as the ones you can easily see from the road. 


There were Cayman chickens and roosters, iguanas, an octopus and so many other things that are native to the islands.   I took as many pictures as time would allow, and then we went on our way to continue our bike ride. We’ve seen this yard so many times, and I was so pleased that I stopped to take a closer look. 




Last night we made our cocktails, and walked across the street to watch the sunset. We try to do this every single night, as it gives us a chance to reflect on the day.  It also is a nice way for us to slow down and remember how very grateful we are to be able to be here in among this beauty and serenity. We certainly don’t take a single day for granted.  


As we made our way back across the beach with our neighbors, we noticed a couple carrying a cooler and making their way to their car which was parked right next to our unit. As we approached them they said hello, and we said hello back. 


“Wasn’t that a gorgeous sunset?” we remarked. 


“Yes! And this is the first time since we've been back on island that we’ve left our own place to come over here,” they said. “We live over towards East End.” 


“Oh,” said Fred, “We ride our bikes that way almost every day. Which house is yours?” 


“We live in the house that has the cement jungle.” 


Fred and I both looked a bit confused, and they added, “You know, the place with the sculptures!” 


“Oh My God!” I said. “We were just taking pictures there the other day! We love going by your place!” 


“Well, I am Dave and this is Kathy.  Please, please stop and chat with us the next time you go by. We would love to chat with you. You can also see the NEW creation I am working on!” 


And, because I wanted to believe him, we assured him that we would stop. I couldn’t believe that the only other people watching the sunset that night at Rum Point was the couple from the coolest yard on the island.  I can’t WAIT to hear his story, and find out what magical creature will be popping up next in his magical cement jungle! Stay tuned!





2/11/21

When the birds fly the nest and try new things.. (Aka Sassy's new project)

Those of you who have been following this blog for the last bazillion years, know the characters who are the loves of my life. It’s been an interesting journey watching as Bitchy, Sassy and The Golden Boy grow into respectable, hard working adults. The road has been bumpy and twisted, laden with heartbreak, frustration, joy and awe. (Not necessarily in that order.) Anyone with children knows exactly what I mean- and can understand why this blog was named vodkamom. Anyone without children is probably a bit richer, calmer and undoubtably very well-traveled. But that’s another story. Today I want to send a shout out to Sassy- who is showing amazing courage by hosting her own Podcast. This is a grand feat for someone who has suffered from anxiety for most of her life. To say I am proud of her is an understatement. Most of you might know that our relationship has been tested over the years. However, the love you have for your child is the strongest tether known to man - and we have found our way back to each other and are stronger for it. Back to Sassy’s story. She has started a Podcast called Sippin’ with Sassy, and you can find it where ever you download your podcasts. Do me a huge favor and give her a go. This mom would appreciate it. And, thanks for coming back every now and then. It’s beautiful to hear from old friends who have weathered many a storm with this old vodkamom.

1/19/21

Blessed with a capital B. (aka 1 more day in quarantine...)

(I apologize ahead of time for the formatting issues here. I can't get it to format properly, and I'm too tired to re-write this! Enjoy, but it reads like you're running a marathon...) I am sitting here in the Grand Cayman Islands, waiting for our 14 day quarantine to be over. We will report to the testing center at 8:00 a.m. on this side of the island. Then, we will have to wait for an email letting us know if we tested negative before we can remove the monitoring devices from our wrists. After that, we are free to move about the island just like we used to do pre-Covid. That means no masks, no limit to the number of people who can congregate and no worries about hugging your friends and neighbors. Life as we knew it will return to normal, at least in this tiny corner of the world.For this, we are truly blessed. HoweverI feel even more blessed than most, and I thank God every day. For many mornings during this quarantine period I have been able to sit and reflect on the life I am living and the life I once had. I am usually up before 6:00 and have been able to watch the sun as it rises. It’s spectacular, and not something I take for granted. Many mornings my mind wanders back to another life, the one that was filled with 3 busy children and hectic days trying to balance work and motherhood. It was a life filled with stress, penny-pinching, soccer games, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Ramen Noodles, yard sales and the Goodwill. While I wouldn’t change a thing, there are many memories that still sting. I remember struggling to find money to pay for the soccer fees. I remember putting aside my pride and calling family members to ask for a bit of money for a dance class, or for flag football fees. I remember asking the kind woman in charge of the local soccer program for a discount- which she always granted me with a smile and hug. I remember waking up at 4:00 in the morning on Black Friday so I could find something to give the kids for Christmas. I remember being the only parent attending said soccer games, field hockey games and parent conferences. (But that’s all I’ll say, out of respect for Bitchy, Sassy and Golden Boy.) I also remember going downtown to the local Plasma center, hoping that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. I would get hooked up to a machine that would take my blood and give me $50 each time I went. I could only go 2 times a month, but it sure helped. I also remember saving our aluminum cans from school and home, and driving to the can man in a nearby town to get a small amount of change. I remember taking any clothes I had that were at all decent, and selling them to the consignment shop. I remember going to yard sales looking for clothes for the kids, and things I could give them for Christmas. These are some of the tricks that many mothers probably learned, but ones I never dreamed I would have to use. But, because I would have done anything for my children, I did them without complaint and with a sense of pride that I could find ways to add to our budget. Of course I did this also because for most of that life I was the breadwinner of the family. (That would come to bite me in the ass when it was time for a divorce settlement.) Today I am incredibly thankful that Bitchy, Sassy and Golden Boy have become hard-working members of society. They have found themselves in places all around the country, and I don’t see them as much as I would like-but I am incredibly proud of who they are. I thank God every day that they don’t do drugs, that they haven’t had any issues (that I KNOW of) and that they have all been able to continue to work during this time of Covid layoffs. These days my life is filled with lots of love from my guy, plenty of travel, winters in Grand Cayman for God’s sake - and summers filled with gardening, biking, and lots of adventures. I have money in the bank, I only sell things because I have no room or need for them and not because I have to buy Ramen Noodles or hot dogs. I can sleep through the night and not worry about paying the mortgage or buying shoes and Christmas presents for the kids. Of course now that I CAN, they tell me not to!! I really do feel like Cinderella. I say this not only because I am living a life I never EVER dreamed, but also because I am truly loved. I am respected for who I am and for my accomplishments. I am told daily how much I am valued. I am hugged and treated with respect. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything and we have our moments like every other couple, but when you are secure in your relationship these moments are fleeting. My heart has found a happiness I didn’t think was possible. And now as I sit here in the Cayman Islands waiting for the sunrise, I will count my blessings once again. And that, my friends, will never, ever get old.