How I Took a Vacation to Aruba

Janet at Eagle Beach

Janet at Eagle Beach

It is good to have friends. It is really good to have friends when they invite you to be part of their vacation.  My friend Diane who I have known for years, lives in northern Vermont with her husband Tom. They have had a wicked winter. Like many New Englanders they abandoned ship and went to Aruba for a month. No snow there. Tom could only stay for two weeks so Diane invited me to join her for the last two weeks.

Shortly after Jim died I was told that after about three months all the concerning friends and acquaintances would slowly disappear. I have discovered, for me, this is not true. Many of my friendships have strengthened both with long time friends as well as newer friends. And, I am glad for it. Married or single my friends are willing to include me in their adventures. So, here I am in Aruba.

I like going places I have never been before. So far, this has been a very easy adventure. I don’t think I have ever made it through customs so fast. It was a very easy entrance into a very pretty island.

Cactus & Carribbean Sea

Cactus & Carribbean Sea

Aruba reminds me a bit, ecology wise, of San Diego, my home town, except it is more humid, the wind never stops blowing (tradewinds) and the ocean is warm enough to swim and snorkel in. How then, you may ask does it remind me of San Diego? Well the island is semi-arid. There are cactus and lizards and snakes. Oh my!!!

Here is what I’ve been up to since I have been here.

  • Walking early in the mornings. The trade winds make it very comfortable to exercise despite the heat and humidity.
  • Snorkeling. There are so many pretty fish here. My personal highlights, as of now, are seeing an octopus and a flounder. Cool.
  • Visiting Arikok National Park. This park gives you a very good ecological perspective on the geological history of the island.We hiked, explored caves and watched the body boarders surf at Dos Playas Beach.
  • Snorkeling
  • Eating both at Sunset Beach Studios, where we are staying and eating out at delicious restaurants.
  • Snorkeling
  • Bird watching. A new fun past time for me.
  • Snorkeling.
  • Spending time talking with Diane and catching up since her last trip to San Diego. One thing I love about my friends is that we never seem to run out of things to discuss.
  • Snorkeling.
  • Reading good summer fiction. If you are into light science fiction about magic and such try Lev Grossman’s triology The Magician. It is a very captivating read and I am almost sorry that I just finished the third book of the Trilogy. I hope he writes more.
  • Oh, Have I mentioned snorkeling?
Body Boarder at Dos Playas

Body Boarder at Dos Playas



In one of the caves at Arikok National Park

Janet & Diane in one of the caves at Arikok National Park

I am here for another week and despite the fact that everyone asks me why I am here, since I live in San Diego, I am having a wonderful and relaxing time. I am so glad Diane thought to invite me on her vacation. Would I come back? I don’t know. There are a lot of other islands here to explore. If Diane invited me back to Aruba again, would I come? In an instant.

Birding in Patagonia….Arizona

Have you ever been to Patagonia??? Arizona??? I just returned from a week in southern Arizona visiting my friend Cat. Remember her…she was biking across the United States with her two dogs. She got as far as east of Tucson and had to change her goals once again.

Cat's home

Cat’s home

Cat’s doctors informed her that the “Bike across America” would need to go on an indefinite hold. She was without a home and wasn’t sure what to do. Cat fell in love with my small Roadtrek RV. Thinking that an RV would give her a home anywhere she wanted to be…she bought a 5th wheel (much bigger than mine) and moved in.

For the foreseeable future Cat is making Patagonia home. I decided that seeing her new RV was worth the drive and the visit. It was a great re-connection. When I arrived Dory the dog, came running out and up to the door of my RV and waited for it to magically open. She really likes me and my home on wheels. You might remember a previous post where I met up with Cat and the pups in Yuma.

What a fun 5 days that was. I have learned that people go to Patagonia to bird watch. I mean these are serious birders, folks. For a 5 day stretch I became a birder too, and, it was fun. There are a lot of birds there, of all kinds. We hiked the Nature Conservancy Reserve with  binoculars in hand. We went back to the Paton House, managed by the Audubon Society three times while I was there. For five days my binoculars were around my neck and my camera was close at hand.It was so relaxing and fun.


Violet Crowned Humming Bird


Gambles Quail



Yellow Rumped Warbler

When I was young I was in the 4-H. One of my projects was bird watching. I remember it as a time when I had a close connection to my mom, as she helped me with this project. I have never lost the interest in wild life. I have found that since Jim’s death, I have become interested in birds again. There is something soothing about watching birds. And…they  are such pretty colors. Being outside also is another bonus for me. It is a challenge to photograph them.

Cat & Janet at Paton's

Cat & Janet at Paton’s

Spending time  with Cat was also special. She and I mutually inspire each other. Our friendship is new so we are still learning about each other. I love our conversations. They are so easy and natural. Her sense of adventure exceeds mine, although I could be right behind her. She is an example of taking one day, one hour, one minute at a time and never, ever giving up. This is a reminder to me as I age, gracefully, I hope, to be willing to accept the changes that occur in life and if need be, change course. I don’t need to stop just change course.

Friendships are important. Each one is of such great value to me. I would have been very alone without my friends to support me and helping me to keep looking forward. Mostly I am happy they are more than willing to come along with me and have fun and explore our world. Each trip I take reminds me again of the value of good friends. And…I am thankful.

Cat & Janet

Cat & Janet

For those of you who are reading my blog you will notice something new. On the left side bar is now a button that says Go Fund Me. This is something new I have started at the suggestion of friends to help raise money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. This is a scholarship honoring my husband’s dedication to education. It is a quick and easy way to donate anything from $1 on up.