The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Friday, September 29, 2006

Big brave dog...

Well, draining Miller's ear from the fluid filled sack didn't work. He ended up having to have it drained twice and the vet said it would continue to fill. So he had surgery today to sew up the sack inside his ear. Poor guy! It really wasn't the best day. The vet told Courtney he'd be there by 7:30 today so I switched some Spanish times around in case I would be late and took him to the vet. Good thing I did because the vet showed up at 7:55. When we got in the vet couldn't find Miller's record. He did however know what he would be doing to him. Good thing! I signed the consent form for the anesthesia and left. First I went home to feed Winston (Miller had to be cut off at 7:00 last night so Winston was too!) and lock up the house good & tight because there have apparently been 3 burglaries in our neighborhood this week. Oh yeah, real comforting! Winston was LOST without Miller...looking for him everywhere, crying, following me around. I went to school and had my prep period. Got done with prep and was going down our spiral staircase from the lounge, lost my footing and fell down the stairs. I know, just call me Grace! Anyway, the rest of the day went without any issues and then Courtney picked up Miller. Poor dog...the vet doesn't believe in the cone collars which is good because Miller can slip one (trust me, he has before). He tried to leave the ear alone without bandaging but every time M shakes his head the stitches would bleed. Did I mention he shaved Miller's entire ear?! So they bandaged it, Miller shook, the bandage came off and he bled again. They ended up having to bandage his ear and then bandage the ear to his head! When Courtney pulled up with him it looked like they had taken his ear! He's really struggling with it because it's uncomfortable. He's still shaking, scratching at it, you name he's doing it! Anyway, I just had to tell you about our big brave one-ear dog.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Comforts of home?!

Okay so this isn't very comforting but it makes for an interesting story. If you recall, the first gift I ever bought Courtney when we were dating was a tarantula named Dimentia. She passed away a couple of years ago which means we had her for about 10 years. Last night Courtney was sitting outside with our neighbor, Clate, when they saw something crawling across the ground. They thought it was a big spider so Courtney turned on the outside light to further investigate and he disovered a tarantula!!! He caught it under a dog bowl and then we put it in a glass jar. We brought it to our Science teacher today and yep, it's a tarantula. Okay, I knew about the monkeys, centipedes, and lizards running around PR but not tarantulas! I used to walk around outside barefoot...don't think I'll continue to do that! Here is a picture of our creature. I guess it's safe to say that my hubby is no longer just the "Lizard King" but he's also the "Tarantula Hunter"! *The pictures isn't that great because I was scared to get too close. BIG difference between a tarantula that is sweet and stays in a cage (Dimentia) and one running loose on my patio! JOY: Do you want to come back to visit now?!*

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Old San Juan & Miller news

I took a few pictures of Old San Juan to share with you. This is the main place where cruise ships that come to PR dock. Right now is the off season so we didn't really see any big ships. A storm was getting ready to move in so the sky looked very cool.

Curtis, these goats are for you!! We saw these statues when we parked our car to go to El Morro. As soon as we saw them we knew we had to get pictures just for you.

And last, there's no picture to add just some news about Miller. Courtney has decided that you are not a true wrestler until you & your dog have cauliflower ear. Courtney has a very mild case of it and you can't really see it. Last week we felt Miller's right ear and it was puffy. We watched it for a few days and the puffy spot grew. We took him to the vet on Friday and they had to drain his ear. He had fluid and blood filling a sack in his ear. We went ahead and drained it but if it keeps happening he could have to have surgery. If we ignore it he'll have dog cauliflower ear. We, of course, weren't too happy about having to get his ear poked with a needle but Courtney did kind of think it made for a cool story! Miller is now on 2 kinds of medications and we're not sure but we think it may be filling up again already. We'll keep an eye on it and see what happens.

El Morro

After San Cristóbal we drove about a mile down the road (it looks like a lot longer!) to El Morro, another historic fort in Old San Juan. The earliest piece of this fort built was a round tower made of stone that resembled a chess piece called a “rook” or “castle”. It was built from 1539-1540 and was the only defensive structure protecting the entrance to the San Juan harbor. The rest of the fort was built around the tower. In 1898 the U.S. Navy bombarded San Juan and a shell penetrated El Morro and lodged in the tower. You can still see fragments of the shell in the tower today. We went into the tower and looked for the shell fragments but we weren’t sure what we were looking for! There have been 3 lighthouses at El Morro. One built in 1846, the second in 1876, and the third built from 1899-1900. The third was hit during the Spanish-American War but they salvaged the brick foundation and used it to put the lighthouse there today. They still use the lighthouse to help ships enter the San Juan harbor, which is one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean. To walk to El Morro from the street is ¼ of a mile. Once we got there we climbed up and down the stairs to go to the different levels. It was very interesting. There is a wall that goes from San Cristóbal to El Morro. After the forts we were hungry so we drove & found Senor Frogs. Courtney & I had never been to one but Brent & Katie both went in Mexico. It sounds a lot more interesting at night but it was still a fun place. We got free shots & souvenirs. After that we walked around a little and looked at some vendors and then drove home. It was very hot yesterday and we walked ALOT so we just hung out once we got back to Guayama. We can't wait for visitors to come so we can take them to Old San Juan!

San Cristobal

Well, we survived yet another week at school. This week ended with a schoolwide puppet show. The kids LOVED it! It was pretty funny, except for I couldn't understand most of what was being said. This is a picture I took outside our front door on Friday night. I just thought the sky looked pretty.

Yesterday morning we got up early and traveled to San Juan with our neighbors, the Dills. Katie needed to get her passport so we did that first thing and then drove to Old San Juan. There is so much we did not see so we'll definitely be planning another trip up there. We spent most of the day exploring 2 of the old forts, San Cristóbal and El Morro. Our first stop was Fort San Cristóbal. It was built from 1634 to 1678 and is the biggest fort built by the Spaniards on the island. It is located nearly 150 feet above sea level and is located at the northeast edge of Old San Juan. The job of Fort San Cristóbal was to protect San Juan from land approaches and attacks from the east. In 1898, Spanish troops fired the first shot of the Spanish-American War in Puerto Rico from one of the gun batteries at San Cristóbal. Here are some pictures of San Cristóbal.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Best Friends

I think it's safe to say that Miller & Winston are enjoying their time in Puerto Rico and enjoying their new buddy, Lola. They are so cute. When Lola hears us walk past her door she runs to the door waiting to get outside. Sometimes when she first sees M & W outside she is so excited she won't stop jumping to go potty. She just piddles all over! This morning I finally got some cute shots of the boys (& girl!) all together. We've decided that from now on we just have to keep a camera with us outside in case they do something cute. I would say Miller is the cutest with his new friend. He will lay down and let her crawl on him, jump over him, jump on him, etc. He'll even open his mouth as she tries to stick her head inside. He hasn't tried to chomp down on her...yet! She still gets a little anxious when Winston comes around and starts, well, being Winston. We think Winston might be a little jealous of Lola. She tries to play with both of them but Winston sometimes refuses. If anyone is petting Lola he'll come over and get in between them, bark, growl, whatever. It's nice when she goes over to play with him and he actully let's her. We are already talking about what it will be like when they're not around each other. I'm sure they'll be confused! We will be leaving the boys here at Christmas because of the expense. One of the other American teachers will stay here for Christmas so she'll watch them. Unless you come down here you won't see them for 2 years!!

Feelin' hot, hot, hot!

It was another crazy week at Guamaní Private School. Last weekend when we went to Tequilla's we were told there was a hot springs in the same town. So, Courtney decided we should all go Friday after school to relax. Well, yesterday after school we did just that. We drove back to Santa Isabel to the Coamo Hot Springs. There is a hotel and a private natural hot springs for guests only but if you walk back a little there is a public bath. What nice way to relax!

A sign to welcome you and tell you this is one of the oldest natural hot springs in the Americas.

A sign to inform you of what chemicals are found in this particular natural hot nice!

The public hot springs. The bath up top was much hotter than the one on the bottom. There was a little pool to put your feet in, the big one up top that I couldn't stay in long and then the one on bottom that felt like a nice hot bath.

That's Courtney, Katie, and me in the bottom bath.

If you've been following our blog you know that there are mountains everywhere down here. That's one of the beautiful views from the springs.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...continued

FYI: I'm not crazy. After a few pictures it starts to get really slow and won't let you put up pictures on the 1st try. So I've decided that instead of spending 20 minutes trying to put up one picture I would rather start a new post and put them up quickly...anyway!

Here's a picture of the Marshes on the beach...yes, Courtney was still on the phone!

Our other housemate, Clate, was ususally either in the water or running along the beach so he wasn't around much to photograph. Here's one of him laying in the sand.

I know it seems like we do the same things over and over again so you see the same pictures alot. Here are some scenes from the beach that I thought were nice this time. We will be doing some more interesting things I promise!

We spent the entire day at the beach but decided we weren't done. We drove about 30 minutes to a town called Santa Isabel and found a Mexican bar & grill called Tequilla's. We had a great meal and then came home to take care of our sunburned husbands and go to bed. Today we're just waiting for our football games to begin. What a great football weekend! I get to watch the Cowboys today and Courtney gets to see his team, the Redskins, play Katie's team, the Vikings, on Monday night football! Ya can't beat a weekend like this in Puerto Rico!!

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming

Katie & I had a great time swimming in the Caribbean Sea. We were amazed at how far out in the water we could get and still be touching. We wanted pictures taken of us but our husbands aren't big into taking pictures. They did, however, videotape us out in the water so you'll have to come see us at Christmas when we're home to catch the footage. Brent spent most of the day trying to collect coconuts. The boys came up with many techniques for getting the coconuts out of the trees which are everywhere! Here are some of their techniques: hit the coconut with another branch; stand on the cooler and shake the tree; try to climb the tree; and, my favorite, throw the football at the coconut. At the end of the day Brent was successful and brought home 4 coconuts. Here's a picture of our triumphant coconut hunter.

Courtney spent quite a bit of his day on the phone with people. He wanted to talk to people back home from the beach so they could hear the waves.

I just thought this was a cool picture of the Dills trying to take a picture of themselves.

Beachin' it up in Puerto Rico

We all needed a day to relax after our week at school so the "Casa Benny 5" as we're calling ourselves loaded up and went to Maunabo to the "Lighthouse Beach" or Punta Tuna. Courtney & I drove our Rodeo (with the air conditioning now running thanks to Courtney & his dad!) with ALL of our stuff including Miller & Winston. The Dills took their car fully loaded complete with our 5th housemate, Clate. The beach we were at is basically secluded and there are no stray dogs around which is unusual for around here. That meant that we could let the boys run around without leashes which was really nice for them. We were so pleased with how they did. We never had to chase them down and we only had to yell their names a few times to find out where they were. We found an open area back in the trees for some shade, put a hook in a tree to hang things, opened the beach chairs and the cooler and spent the day relaxed. We made sandwiches that were in the cooler and brought plenty of drinks to keep us hydrated...well Katie, Clate, & I drank plenty of things to keep us hydrated. Brent & Courtney took a different approach and stuck to their beer. Here's a picture of where we were "camped out".

The picture is not deceiving...the water really was that blue. I was behind our chairs where Miller & Winston were laying...

They were so tired after playing and running all day. Courtney went to Wal-Mart before we left and bought a football and frisby and much of the day was spent keeping the football away from Winston. We had a great time just throwing the ball around...preparing for the Cowboys game today!!!

We learned a few things during our friendly football playing: 1) I can't throw but I can catch; 2) Katie can't catch but she can throw; 3) It's hard to run in the sand...wet or dry; 4) Footballs are hard to throw when they are wet...or covered in sunscreen.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Johnson girls together again!

We had a great time together last weekend! Thank you Joy-Joy for being our first guest!!Courtney & I were so glad to see a familiar face. We explored and found more interesting things on our little island paradise so we've got more places to take people. We are so proud of what we are doing down here and how we are doing down here. It really is a great place to be at this point in our lives. We hope everyone else can come see us soon!!

Punta Tuna...sounds delightful!

We drove on down the road to a little town called Arroyo (where we bought our hammock) and found a beach. We decided while we were there that we would go back this coming Saturday with the dogs because it was pretty secluded. We were happy with that idea but decided to drive a little farther to find the mysterious Punta Tuna. If you recall from a previous post, we tried to find this beach on Courtney's birthday but couldn't. Well...we found it my friends! I don't know what Frommer was smokin' when he said it was miles of white sand beaches because...well, it's not....but it is pretty nice. We drove even farther and found an open space and a small road to the beach. We are now going back there on Saturday with the dogs, beach chairs, our friends (the Dill's and our neighbor Clayt), and the coolers. We're pretty excited! Here are some shots of where we'll be this Saturday...come on down and go with us!

More crabs! This time they were hanging out inside some rocks.

"The" Van and Brandemar

We actually saw this van on Saturday at the beach but I forgot about the picture until now. Courtney was in awe of the lovely machine!! We saw the people inside at their sink (yes, you hear me!) washing dishes! Notice the window air conditioner sticking out the side. Maybe we should get one for our Rodeo now...hmmm...

We got home Sunday evening and took it easy that night. We relaxed, ate dinner and went to bed pretty early. We got up Monday morning and went to the city's plaza (see previous post on Guayama) and then went to lunch. We ate at a hotel & restaurant about 10 minutes from our home. It's called the Brandemar. Just a short walk from the restaurant is a beach. It's actually the first beach we discovered when we moved here. Here's a picture of the view from the restaurant.

We decided we wanted to explore the Brandemar beach a little so we went walking on the dock made of rock (I'm a poet!). We saw so many crabs walking around. We actually had a good time checking them out...until the all came up on one rock at the same time. We think they were telling us they wanted us to leave! Here's a picture of one that would let me get close and a pic of Joy & Courtney "crab hunting".

I think Joy wanted to hop in but we decided to go to a few more places before our day was done!

Driving along in my automobile...

We left Rincón on Sunday morning and took a drive along the coast. We were planning on stopping at a beach, I believe in Aguadilla, and took the scenic route to get there. Here's a picture we captured on our way...

We finally arrived at our destination, a lovely beach called Crashboat. No, we didn't see any boats crashed however we did almost get hit by a few jetskis. Joy, Katie, & I were swimming along and you can see the jetskis going by. They drive along looking for people who want a ride, etc. Well, when they don't have any takers they just leave their jetskis floating in the water. You had to pay attention to where you were going so you didn't run into an abandoned jetski. We thought about taking one but we're good girls so we didn't! Here's a picture of Joy at Crashboat!

We did have Miss Lola along with us for the weekend. Since Courtney & Brent apparently aren't waterboys they stayed on the shore with her. She really was a good little girl for the trip...until the Corona came out! favorite!

While we were driving home Sunday we came across a field. When we drove up we saw a little boy out taking a picture which we thought was of a horse. All of a sudden Lisa & Harry pulled over and got out. I really thought maybe the horse was giving birth or something crazy like that. Nope...there were more than a dozen monkeys running loose! I kid you not! Apparently about 2 years ago they were doing some experimenting on some monkeys in a laboratory down here. Well, experiments don't make monkeys happy and they escaped! They haven't been able to capture them and they've been reproducing. The picture's not the best but if you look in the left upper corner you can see 2 of them. I also got it on video tape...yes, I was freaking out!! Courtney thought I was going to jump out and get hit by traffic but I kept my cool...sort of. Courtney was more excited about the traffic that pulled over behind us so that's what that picture is about.