I keep reminding myself that it’s ok not to have every little thing on the daily to-do list checked off. Things will still be waiting tomorrow. Guess the former teacher habits are ingrained and return time and time again.
I also have to remember that everyone needs to recharge the batteries, so that canvas will get painted even if it doesn’t happen when expected. The Muses, those crazy girls, get a big kick out of stirring up anxiety from unpredictability.
Of course, even trips to coastal areas for rest and relaxation offer sources of creative inspiration so I am always doing a balancing act between work and play when out of the studio.
This year there have been additional opportunities for visits to Key West and the BVI, in May, and again in November and December. One change that I noticed was the absence of the roosters and baby chicks at places like Blue Heaven. Where were they? I was told by our server that they were on hiatus, that they had temporarily moved to another part of the island, but would return.
So like my feathered friends, I will also, and the timing will be just fine when I do.
Hey! If you have a chance to recharge your batteries, where would be the first place you would go? Why is it your absolute favorite happy place? Add your comments below. Would love to hear about it.
An overview of what I have worked on this year:
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Ah… today was going to be exciting. We had lined up our sail and snorkeling with One Love Charters beginning with the pick up in Cane Garden Bay at 10 a.m. Joe and
Amanda were our guides for the day, and we sailed off to Fallen Jerusalem as a suggestion from Joe for the first destination for snorkeling, followed with lunch at the
Cooper Island Beach Club, and a visit for snorkeling to the Indians, which consist of several large rocks with underwater grottoes. The final anticipated stop was a return
visit to the Norman Islands and the Willie T with a brief stopover at Peter Island. By the time we arrived, we had only an hour or so until our departure, since we needed to
get back to our island home for the last evening in Cane Garden Bay. For two of us, it was agreed that we had located our one particular harbor.
Photos above: shot ski at Willie T, Willie T, and lower left: Lighthouse Villas in Cane Garden Bay
Reluctantly, we said our goodbyes to our hosts, who now were new friends, and returned in time for happy hour again at Quito’s outside bar. Conch fritters
and grilled mahi skewers were served with a delectable coconut lime sauce along with a surprisingly tasty goat soup. After several hours there, we wandered back to our place for
packing for the return flight home tomorrow, goodbyes to Gee Gee and Ms. Bean, and one final night in paradise with visions of returning soon appearing in island slumber.
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Oh. The title above could probably use some explanation. You want to say it like a long, slow Southern drawl: “The I S T Tour”, like you’re ordering a chilled
beverage with lots of ice (remember, slowly, drawn out), why, sweetened, of course. One of the first reminders of the differences between home and the islands:
IST. That stands for “Island Service Time.” If you think you will get fast food while there, you are in for a true awakening. Island time and your time is not
the same. You, as an outsider, must adapt, or you are in for a rough time; thus, the name of this recent tour.
If you have read the previous blog post, ” Heart Notes”, you understand why it has been such a challenge to balance the distractions in this artist’s life.
Luckily, I was able to return to the BVI for the third visit during the Spring for the long awaited vacation from what seemed like the longest ever winter on record.
Cane Garden Bay was still there in her spectacular turquoise and sun stroked beauty, yet with a few changes along the beachfront. Due to the Easter holidays,
we knew that some of the places we had been to before might be closed over the first weekend (they were), and that some of the favorite haunts would be open,
especially on the days that the day trippers from the cruise ships would arrive. Like picnic ants scurrying hurriedly for morsels, the restauranteurs would rush
in their well choreographed island dance to arrange the rows of beach loungers in front of their businesses during the earlier morning hours where the only sounds
were the waves lapping on the shoreline and distant voices of walking tourists.
This time I was armed with my arsenal of aerosol “Gettum No Seeums” sprays, and the only beach annoyance was the fact that I had forgotten to include my towel
clips to prevent the occasional slip and slide of the villa towel on my lounger. With Kindle in hand, life was right out of a color photo in a Frontgate catalog…total bliss.
Drinks at Tony’s Welcome Bar ( with Chris as our smiling gentle bartender ) complimented the first sunsets. Our crew of four were joined by a Steelers couple along with
their captain and friends who we would see often on our week adventure.
We ended our weekend with a grilled steak and broccoli dinner on the poolside patio at our tropical home along with several bottles of wine. Accompanying some patio dancing was
our new friend, Gee Gee, the proprietors’ neighbor’s cat, who would lead us to the bottom of our stairs, then turn and meow good night.
Final day. Coconut Spiked Rum French Toast. What a way to say goodbye to Tortola! The Cane Garden Bay exploration continued with a return visit to Greenvi Studio where we watched a glass blowing session in light rain. A local market offered the usual tourist wares, and as the showers subsided, the beachfront and Dust, a local young man selling rum-filled coconut shells, grabbed our undivided attention. Happy hour appetizers were coconut shrimp skewers and conversation with Lorita and Simone, our friendly servers at Sailor’s Rest, and Mrs. Bean, the owner. Later, the evening ended once again with the sounds of island music along the beachfront and goodbyes to new found friends.
Trip epilogue: Have you ever experienced a serendipitous moment? On the trip, I found out that the captain and his girlfriend were unknown collectors of one of my paintings. They had purchased it during an auction for the local chapter of the ASPCA, and I was invited to their home after our return to see it. During the past month, I have completed the first of the B.V.I. series, ‘Cane Garden Bay’ while listening to island music by Kenny Chesney and The Zac Brown Band. One of the things I love most about the life I live now is the freedom to spend hours of painting subjects that during the weekdays in the studio bring back the memories of good times with good friends.
The group met Lorraine at the Big Banana Cafe for breakfast since Sailor’s Rest was closed for another holiday morning. There is just something about a johnny cake on the menu that makes the day begin with a smile. Maybe it was the fact that this wasn’t a familiar menu item back home, and the cooks were talented in both preparation and presentation. Next, it was back to the boat and on to Jost Van Dyke, the small island that was visible along the horizon. We had heard of the legendary Foxy at Foxy’s Bar, and were told that by arriving earlier in the day, he would be likely to be on the premises. Sure enough, he was seated within the center of the open-air bungalow, smiling from one ear to another, and talking rapidly to anyone who would listen to his bantering. He proceeded to tell us the multiple (now six) characteristics of an island dog, a lazy Black Lab curled up next to this island legend. (We found out later that this discussion has been recorded on YouTube.) One of the phrases I will always remember is the Foxyism “rain is spitting sunshine.” Cool, huh?
The second stop was in White Bay at the Soggy Dollar Bar, famous for its libation, The Painkiller. I wasn’t aware that we would be swimming ashore to get there, nor did I realize that it would be quite difficult to get back the same way, as three of us tried to exit via the rocky coastline after several hours’ visit there and to Seddy’s One Love nearby. The return to Cane Garden Bay led us back to Myett’s, where MargaritaBill sang along with the Candyman, a local musician, to end a pleasurable Monday evening.
Eggs, pancakes, bacon, and assorted fruit was the menu onboard the cat prior to heading out to Cane Garden Bay. Sails went up by 11:00, only there wasn’t enough wind for the entire trip. A stop along the way was made at the West End of Tortola at Soper’s Hole for supplies around 1:40, and we arrived at CGB around 3:30 p.m. Appropriately, lunch was cheeseburgers while listening to a background of Jimmy Buffett music.
A return visit was at Myett’s, where around the bar the crew had happy hour painkillers and attempted to watch the final round of the golf tournament on the TV. The bartender was disagreeable, and ignored our request for a change of channels, so we left to find another venue where we could watch the rest of the game. At The Big Banana, we were totally entertained with our bartender there who from time to time would stop what she was doing and in seeing our excitement, would remark, “Bubba out, Bubba back in” during the player’s advance to the eighteenth hole. The crew ended Happy Hour ecstatic when the underdog was finally declared the winner.
Before ending the evening, the decision was made to visit the beachside Elm Beach Bar, where there was a featured musician who allowed several guests to join him in the evening entertainment. One of our crew joined the band and received a round of applause from the guests who were either dancing or eating the local prepared barbecue. Plans were made for all to meet the next morning again at Sailor’s Rest, then sail on to Jost Van Dyke, which could barely be seen in the distance from the dinghy dock. Two of us would leave the rest and return to our Tortola home base where flushing the toilet did not require a pumping ritual, and the shower and bed was larger than a coffin.