Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Blog One Year Anniversary

One year ago today, we started our blog on the adventures of building and living in Belize. While we haven't started living in Belize as of yet, the building of our home does continue...well sort of. The Gov't of Belize has put a "stop work" order on our house and several others in the Consejo area. It seems that they have decided to start enforcing a law requiring that all plans be approved by a Belizian architect and now need a stamp on the plans to prove it. Only problem is trying to find a certified Belizian architect. It seems that there are none in northern Belize and the problem with their new plan is there is only a hand full of building inspectors for the whole country, once you do get the plans certified. In the mean time, at least half the construction workers in the Corozal area have been laid off due to the work stoppage, so until they figure this out, a lot of people are unemployed. For us it is just another inconvenience, for them, they will have to find other work to feed their families at a time when work is just not available.

So we wait and let our contractor work things out. Our house is essentially finished but for the windows and the fixtures. We return to Belize in December to pick out the tiling and cabinets, so hopefully we will have a better idea of what's going on by then.

So I have decided to suspend work on the blog, until at least late December, because it seems I am blogging more about our lives in Southern California than I am about Belize. It doesn't seem fair to the people who read my blog, expecting news in and about Belize, to write about things that they would have no interest in. I have no new pictures, work has stopped, so there is nothing new to write except what we do here in the States. But we will return.....someday.

Thanks to all of you following our blog and I have enjoyed corresponding with many of you. I will still check my comments from time to time, and for those of you who still want to contact us, you can leave a comment on the blog and it will be forwarded to my e-mail. Good luck to all of those wanting to live in their own "slice of paradise" and I hope your dreams come true.

Perry and Mischelle

Friday, October 23, 2009

Light Up The Halo, The Angels Win!

Every time the LA Angels win at home, they light up the halo that surrounds the Big A sign in front of Angel stadium. Well tonight the halo is lit up and the Angels survive a wild game 5 to advance to the sixth game of the American League Championship Series, behind 3 games to 2. We're headed to the friendly confines of the new Yankee Stadium. With the hostle crowd, the rain and low 40 degree temperatures, it should be a good game. I just hope the Angels can muster a win. We have to win.


Beat New York, Beat New York!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Angels' Need to Win.

On Tuesday I went to the fourth game of the American League Championship series with my LA Angels facing the New York Yankees. We got there early and went to the local sports bar to get primed for the game. The place was full of Angel fans, all dressed in red.

Angel stadium was sold out and the place was a rockin'. Both Angel and Yankee fans gathered at the memorial to Nick Adenhart, our first year pitcher killed by a drunk driver just after his first game. This years' march to the World Series was for Nick. But we had to get there first.

At the Team Store, they had the World Series Trophy they had won back in 2002, and it was time to add the one for 2009.

We had good seats, just down the third base line, about 30 rows up. It allowed us to get close to the players before the game and watch the pre-game workout and batting practice. After that we settled into our seats and waited for the game to begin. The singing of the National Anthem, the Armed Forces fly-over and we were ready to begin.

The first few innings we played to a scoreless tie. Then, the scoring began. Unfortunately, it was not for the Angels'. We fell 6 runs behind and we really needed our Rally Monkey.

But tonight, not even the Rally Monkey could save the Angels'. By the end of the game it was 10 to 1, Yankees. We'll have to wait until Thursday to play game 5 and to see if the Angels' postseason continues. Down 3 games to 1, we had to win Thursday.

We also have tickets to the World Series, if we get that far. The Dodgers have lost their Championship series, so there's no chance of a freeway series this year. I printed the tickets to the World Series, just in case the tickets were the closest I get to going to the actual World Series. Angels' have to win.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Finally Did It!

My Los Angeles Angels have finally made the playoffs and in the first round of the Division series, beat their long time nemisis, the Boston Red Sox. Not only did they beat them, they swept them in three games to move on the the Championship series against another long time nemisis, the New York Yankees.

We went to the second game of the Red Sox/Angels series and the stadium was rockin', filled to the brim in red. Today we are going to the fourth game between the Yankees and the Angels, with New York leading the series, two games to one. It's going to be another rockin' day at Angel Stadium.

If the Angels make it by the Yankees, to the World Series, we also have tickets to the second game at Angel Stadium. The other LA team, the Dodgers, are also in the playoffs and they too swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round. They are currently playing the Philadelphia Phillies, but are down in that series three games to one after a stunning loss last night in the bottom of the ninth inning. I was hoping to see the two LA teams battle it out for the World Series (they call it the freeway series) but that possibility is slowly slipping away.

Go ANGELS. Go Dodgers.

I'm continuing my flying lessons on a Quicksilver ultralight and I now have 5 hours of flight time and adding on two or three hours a week while also helping out around the flight school.

My instuctor, Mike, has pushed me to improve my skills and would like to see me flying solo with about 15 hours of flight time. At the same time we are rebuilding another Quicksilver to add to his current fleet of four ultralights. He has also picked up an amphibious ultralight and is in the market for a amphibious trainer so he can start offering lessons in that type of plane. Of course, we all have our dreams and the dream plane we are looking at right now is just starting production. It's a little out of my price range, but oh, what a plane. Watch the video clip from the manufacturer and you'll see what I mean. This would be perfect in Belize.

I can only imagine what the Goverment of Belize would like for taxes and duties on that plane. But one can dream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lobster Time (or not).

This Saturday, October 3rd, was the opening day of lobster season. Some friends and I decided we were going to do a beach dive just south of Newport Beach, at Crystal Cove State Park. I had been there before and knew it was an easy beach entry and there were reef formations 25 yards offshore that provided an ideal place to hunt for lobster.

After all the anticipation leading up to the dive (I hadn't done a beach dive in 2 years and a couple of friends had never done a beach dive before), we arrived on a beautiful California day, just right for diving. The water was warm for California, around 70 F (21 C) and the air temp was about the same. A hurricane near Baja California was to send 3-5 foot waves our way, but they weren't due until tomorrow, and the surf when we arrived was in the 2 foot range.

There were six of us diving that day. We had brought enough gear to supply a small dive shop and lugging all that equipment down to the beach and over the sand was a real workout. Twelve tanks (four boat anchor-Steel95's), 6 gear bags, weights and snacks. I was exhausted before I even started diving.

We dragged our gear down the beach and picked out a good entry point with a small rip current that would pull us out to sea. Time to hit the water.

After spending an hour chasing lobsters over the reefs, through kelp and sea grass, all of us came back empty handed. Score 6 for the lobster, Divers 0. But we weren't done. The vis was in the ten foot range but at times would be down to inches, depending on the swell. I just don't know how it worked out that every time I was reaching for a lobster, a swell would go by, and so did any chance of getting that lobster. There were LOTS of shorts, and they will be next years catch, but we had plenty of opportunities to snag a legal one. I'm just too slow and out of practice. But I'll get them on the next dive, for sure.

But between our first and second dives, the waves had increased in size and with the tide starting to recede, they were pounding the shoreline. Not too bad going out because you could see and time the sets before entering the water. But getting out is a whole other story, especially if you had never done a beach dive before. Going out, you wait for a lull in the waves, back into the water with your fins on, and as soon as it is deep enough to float your body (thigh deep), you lie flat in the water and kick your fins like there's no tomorrow. In no time you're beyond the surf line ready to go. Coming in is another story. You're tired after fighting the surge and currents for an hour. Your visiblity for incoming waves is greatly reduced, being in the water, and you need to get out of the pounding waves, while removing your fins so you can get up and walk out of the surf line. All that and you still have a 50lb tank on your back and 25 lbs of weights around your waistline.

With the gaining waves and the loss of visibility, the second dive was much more of a challenge. We decided to go to a reef a little further out that might have better vis. It did have better vis at times but there were other times you couldn't see your hand in front of your mask. You could see whole dens of lobsters but couldn't get to them due to the surge or vis. We had lots of chances to grab one, but they just slip right through your fingers. So, after another hour at sea, we came back battered and with nothing to show for our dive. So now the score reads, Lobster 11 (my friend Mike didn't make the second dive), Divers 0. Next Time I'll get you!!!

Afterwards, my friend Andy had his brother John, and his wife, Teri, join us down at the beach for what was to be a BIG lobster celebration, but you know how that turned out.

So it was off to the local Mexican restaurant to drown our sorrows in tequila and beer, with some food added in for good measure. It may not have been lobster, but it sure was good. All in all it was a great day. We all had lots of fun, got in a couple of dives and promised we would do it again soon. Maybe next time we'll include some lobsters in the celebration.

It's Baseball Playoff Time

It's this time of year that the true sports fanatic has the meeting of almost all the major American sports. Football season is just underway and basketball and hockey are starting their exhibition games. Baseball begins their playoff series in October and some of the most storied names in baseball are playing for a shot at the World Series. The Yankees are odds on favorites to win the whole thing (they spent twice the money of the next highest payroll and payed $100 million in salary cap fines) but I think my Angels have a good chance to challenge them for the title. We went to the last home game of the season and to the rally held after the game to cheer them on.

At the beginning of the season, a talented young pitcher, Nick Adenhart, number 34, had fought his way up to the major leagues and through his hard work had secured a spot in the Angels starting rotation. After pitching his first game, and leaving after 6 innings, only giving up a couple of runs, Nick and three other friends went out to go dancing and celebrate his first game in the big leagues. Only, they didn't make it there. A block away from their destination, a drunk driver ran a red light and T-boned them, killing three of them and critically injuring the fourth. The team grieved and dedicated their season to him, placing his jersey in the dugout for every game and wearing a black "34" patch over their hearts. And when they won the Western Division, they celebrated by soaking Nicks' jersey in champagne and beer, then, as a team they ran out to a poster of him in center field and all patted their hands on his image, again celebrating, pouring champagne and beer all over his poster. Then after, they all posed for a picture with his image. It was quite touching, although there were some that thought it wasn't in good taste to celebrate with champagne and beer on his image and jersey, when he was killed by a drunk driver. I'd like to think that Nick would have loved the celebration just the way it was. After all, isn't that how you're supposed to celebrate winning a title? In front of Angels Stadium, there is a makeshift memorial to Nick and the players have voted a full playoff share of the money they make in the playoffs, to Nicks' family. Maybe, with Nick in mind, this will be the Angels time to beat the Red Sox, beat the Yankees and win the World Series.

Our tickets to the American League Division Series.


Summer Ends and Fall Begins.

The month of October has started with more fires in our area. Early this summer, we had a large fire west of us, in Santa Barbara. Then later in August, we had another fire east of us, in the San Fernando Valley, where we used to live. Just recently we have had two fires, again in nearby communities to the north. And as I write now, another fire has broken out in the mountain community of Wrightwood, where there is our local ski resort. The drought has taken its toll on Southern California and the mountains are tinder dry. We haven't had any measurable rain since February and October usually brings the Santa Ana winds that blow offshore, further drying out the mountains. These winds are warm and dry, since they are blowing off the desert, then compressing as they flow down the mountains to sea level. It is not unusual to have temperatures that go into the upper 90's or even the 100's (35-40 degrees C) combined with humidity in the single digits and winds that will gust at 70-80 mph. It's really tough on our firefighters who work day and night to keep the flames at bay. With the airport nearby, we have the aerial tankers and helicopters doing constant refilling and refueling, flying overhead all day long. Hopefully the winds will die down and let these guys get a handle on all of this.

On the home front, we have kept busy remodeling the bathroom. I hope to have it all finished by next week, but it depends on the bath tub we pick out and if it is in stock at the time. I am at a stand still until we get the tub because I still need to do all the plumbing work to fit the new tub and fixtures before the drywall and cement board can go up. It is amazing what you find when you tear down walls and see how half ass the original construction was done. It's sure not the way I would build a house. So some of my work is fixing the original construction so that the walls and fixtures are plumb and ready to go when I am.

We went back to the LA County fair to pick up the mirror we had ordered the last time and to enjoy another day at the fair with friends. This time we went with our friends, Steve and Kerree, who had not been to the fair in years. And again, it was about the food and beer, oh, and a few exhibits. They have a wonderful minature train exhibit that sits on a quarter acre and, pardon the pun, has all the bells and whistles. The displays and all the trains are amazing. A lot of detail went into this exhibit.

Again, more food and beer, and for the girls it's margaritas. And what would the fair be without all the bizarre fried foods and goodies.

Then after the feast, it's another beer to wash down the fried food and for the girls it's time to switch from margie's to wine. Of course it has to be at the wine tasting building. So many wines, so little time. Hundreds of wines to chose from. Mmmm.

After that we wander around the fair grounds and check out the Budweiser Clydesdales. If you have never seen these beautiful animals up close, they are really a large and magnificent horse. And talk about being pampered, these guys (and gals) have it made. Only the best grains, grooming twice daily, private stalls, they have it all.

More walking around the fair grounds, then it's over to the exhibit buildings (really more like an indoor swap meet) to buy things we don't really need but gotta have. There are at least ten of these buildings and a couple of thousand vendors selling just about everything under the sun.

As our day at the fair comes to an end, we've all had a wonderful time. Is there room for dessert? How about a deep fried Snickers bar or a deep fried Reese's to help harden the arteries.

It would be fun to stay for one of the concerts they have in the evening, but tonight there's no band and we still have couple of hour drive to get home.

This maybe the last time we visit the LA fair for a few years so I'm glad we had a chance to visit it twice. And as always, it was lots of fun.