Hurricane Kathy

So, have I ever mentioned how my mom is Hurricane Kathy?

(Right now, she’s reading this post and making a mean face. Stop that – it’ll freeze that way.)

I know I’ve mentioned the Jeffe Sunshine Magic (TM) at least once before. David is terribly amused by it. Wherever we go, people will comment that the the weather was bad before we arrived, then miraculously cleared. It’s quite reliable. The only person who seems to be able to neutralize the JSM is my mother.

Before we went to St. Thomas, she asked me about the forecast for rain everyday. I told her it’s always like that. The rain showers come and go, brief and warm, not a big deal at all.

Yes, I had forgotten about her powers.

Remember a few years back when they had the torrential rains in Kuaui? So bad that part of the highway washed out and some homes were swept into the ocean? My mother was on the island.

The first few days were lovely. We spent a lot of Monday doing things like filling Stepdad Dave’s prescriptions, buying groceries and booze, replacing the watch he dramatically smashed during his fall. (The face crystal was shattered into tiny pieces and the metal band torn apart – grim indicator of just how hard he hit.) We put in some beach time that afternoon and crashed fairly early – still recovering from our emotional hangover.

On Tuesday, we experimented with taking Stepdad Dave out and about. We went to a fun beach place, Iggie’s, for lunch, and did some touring about. Wednesday, he had a doc appointment. Afterwards, we took the ferry to St. John. And boy, did it pour. On both islands.

After this point, you may notice that most of the pics have dramatic clouds in the background. A shopkeeper in St. John told me it was the most rain they’d had all winter and they were grateful.

We should totally rent her out as a rainmaker.

But it was still beautiful.


First Day Disaster

Snapped this pic with my phone on the way to St. Thomas. Sunsets from above can be great, too.

We landed after dark and stayed at a semi-skeezy hotel near the airport, because we couldn’t check into the timeshare until the next afternoon. In the morning, we ate breakfast at a restaurant on the beach, which was lovely and warm. Then we loaded up the car and headed to the timeshare hotel. Stepdad Dave asked for early check-in, but that still wouldn’t be until about 1 or 2. But the hotel stored our bags and we got to walk around and see the premises.

After this pic, my mom took my phone and tried to take one with me in it. Somehow she hit the button to make it into a video. I think it’s so funny to watch – turn on your speakers, too. Sorry it’s so huge. If anyone knows how I can reduce the size (decrease resolution maybe?) with Windows Live Movie Maker, let me know!


So, then we traipse off to find a restaurant David and I ate at when we were on St. Thomas years ago. It was part of this hotel of individual condos, with these great walking trails that switch back and forth down the hillside to the beach. The steps are natural rock and my mom tells Stepdad Dave to watch his footing. He complains that my mother thinks he’s clumsy, but that was one trip to Mexico and it was because his glasses were bad.

We find the place. Have a fun lunch with beers. (I’ve been asked to add that Stepdad Dave wants it known that HE did not have anything to drink – only Diet Coke.)

All is well.

See the happy fun?


So, Stepdad Dave gets a call from the hotel that our rooms are ready. He’s all excited to go check in. We head up the first hill and we’re all kind of dragging rear. I jokingly say that the climb back up is the price we pay for all the beers. We cross the little asphalt road and Stepdad Dave is huffing a bit. He tells us to go ahead. My mom is perkily climbing away. David, behind me, asks Stepdad Dave if he needs to rest. Or, I say, over my shoulder, we can bring the car down to pick him up.

We hear a funny noise.

I look back and Stepdad Dave has fallen off the path, rolled down the hill and is clinging to a root at the edge of the drop-off. David is already running down the path to get to him from below. I’m wondering how the hell we’ll do this, that maybe David can push from below and I can get to him from above.

Then the root breaks and he drops over the side. Of this.

That’s looking up from below.

My mom didn’t see any of this, but she’s coming back down. I yell at her to go slow (very helpful of me, I know) and I’m running down, thinking he could be dead, with his skull cracked open. I’m wondering mainly how I’ll explain to stepsister Hope that I got her dad killed on St. Thomas.

Fortunately, he didn’t die. He came down that embankment, rolled over the retaining wall and landed on the road. The ambulance came to get him. We spent most of the rest of the day at the hospital. The doctor on duty was fortuitously a guy who’d trained in the Los Angeles Trauma Center. After multiple x-rays, it turns out that Stepdad Dave broke his shoulder blade. An amazingly minor injury, all things considered.

No surgery. No vacation cut short. Just an immobilization sling and pain meds.

Here he is a few days later, looking jaunty with the carved walking stick we found for him. We’re hoping he’ll get in the habit of using it, just to stabilize himself. He didn’t get to snorkel, alas, but we had a great time anyway.

Plein Air, Platinum and Teases

We’re back from the Caribbean!

Yes, it was really wonderful. And yes, I’m all tanned and relaxed, full of energy to get back in the swing. Not taking my laptop turned out to be a really smart decision. It was good for me to unplug for those nine days. So many things I forgot to think about.

And boy, do I have stories to tell you! Like how my stepfather fell off a cliff the first day we were there. (And lived, though I think I lost a couple years off of MY life.) I may also have gotten into a shouting match with a drunk, entitled twenty-something guy. Oops. I’ll tell you all that story, too, and you all will learn what it takes to push me over the edge.

The trip back took an extra day because American Airlines had issues. I’d hoped to have a blog up for you all yesterday, but alas.

When I could read my email again, I found out that Carina Press will be publishing PLATINUM, the follow-up to SAPPHIRE. I’m very excited, delighted, giddy and dizzy. And already noodling ideas for a third in this Jewel series. PLATINUM is slated for early 2013 (if the world doesn’t end), so stay tuned for details.

The other best part about coming home – besides being in our pretty house (albeit with far less ocean and tropical flora and fauna), and back with Zip and Isabel, who were delighted to see us – was the gift our house-sitters left behind. David’s sister, the painter Cathy Nicholas, did this en plein air piece of our house. I love so many things about it – especially how she echoed the blues of the door, the rain chain, the rocks and cholla. We will treasure this memento forever. Thank you, Cathy! Cathy and her husband, Tom Nicholas, also a painter, spent the week capturing our high desert landscape. Can’t wait to see what else they came up with!

More stories and pretty pics tomorrow.


Weekend in Vieques

At last, the final wind-up of my week of work in San Juan – and our little weekend side-trip to Vieques.