The ebb & flow of this life has become familiar and I love it!

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Driving around town the other day, (with two smelly tanks of gasoline in the back of my car, yuck!), I was navigating the traffic in the tight little intersection where the gas station is located. As I sat at the stop sign waiting for my turn I was thinking about this little town and about how much I’ve grown accustomed to the rythym of how things work here. We’ve been living in this beautiful little mountain town for nearly three years already! Sheesh! How the heck does time fly by so darn fast? It seems like it wasnt all that long ago when I was writing about feeling a little bit of culture shock living in Panama. I remember feeling sorta outside myself for a little while in the early days of my move. I was in such uncharted territory and feeling out of place.
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I’m 50 Today! Wow!

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Turning 50! A milestone for sure! ….
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This milestone birthday has me thinking about what turning 50 really means to me. Well, first it means , of course the obvious…I’m getting older! But as I reflect about moving into the next decade of my life what else does it mean to me? Aside from seeing lots of changes in my body, a bit more weight, a ton more gray hair, a few more wrinkles around my eyes, and other physical changes that remind me time is going by, this milestone birthday has me thinking about each decade that’s passed and the experiences that have helped to make me the 50 year old woman I am today . Reflecting on such things always adds even more appreciation for each little moment in-between with the knowledge that each new day brings endless opportunities for learning, for growing and for experiencing the fullness of life.
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A Brief Update On Our Insurance Snafu…

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I think it’s only fair for me to publish a post about what has transpired with our insurance agent. On Monday we went to the insurance office and got a corrected proof of insurance. Then we went to David and went through the process of paying for the ticket, then going to the impound lot and getting our car. All told both the ticket and the charges for the impound lot was a total of $285.00. The Agent had the assistant both send me an email and personally call me to make sure I knew that the mistake was completely her fault and not the fault of the agent. She also informed me that the office would be reimbursing me for all the money we had paid as a result of their mistake. Then later that day the agent called to personally apologize for the way we were treated. Im glad that in the end we received payment for money we should not have had to spend as a result of their mistake and that an apology was given for the unprofessional way our situation was dealt with on the telephone.

Music Monday ~ ¡Aquí vuelve Samy y Sandra!

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Fellow Blogger Karen who Lives in Pedasi has given a fun explanation of the story behind this popular singing duo’s latest video. I’ve seen posters on the road between here and David about Sami & Sandra and wondered who they were…now I know! This little video gave me a smile on this Monday morning, I hope it does the same for you!

In Da Campo

I read recently  that the new Samy y Sandra official video for Carnaval 2016 was out on YouTube so I thought I’d share it today.  I’ve watched it a few times, but unless you’re Panamanian or lived here long enough to know a little about the country you won’t get some of the inside jokes or nuances.  You’ll probably just think it’s loud and there’s a lot of shaking going on.  And you’d be correct on both parts.  So to help you out a bit I thought I’d share what little knowledge I have gleaned from my almost four years of living here.

The Azuero Peninsula is large enough for three provinces and is Panama’s southernmost landmass. Herrera province, Panama’s smallest, is to the north; Los Santos to the southeast, and Veraguas, the only province with a Caribbean and a Pacific coast, is on the western side of the Azuero. Samy and…

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Sometimes S?!T Happens…

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I hate that saying! But, unfortunately it’s oh so true. My last post was all rainbows and unicorns. Reflections on a delightful moment that filled my heart with joy. This post however will not be so joyful. Because like the title of this post S#$T happened last night. Here’s what happened… We drove into town to meet friends for dinner and then we were going to stroll through the Flower & Coffee Fair, well our evening out went terribly wrong at a police checkpoint. What we thought would be ‘no big deal’ because we had every piece of paperwork we needed to assure a random checkpoint goes smoothly ended with us standing on the side of the road with a hefty fine and waiting for our car to be towed away!

For those of you who don’t live here let me explain the random police checkpoints we often see here. They are ‘random’ and the police often ask to see your registration, insurance and drivers license. All of which we had, but… there was one little problem. Our car insurance paperwork, which was a recently renewed policy,( just updated in November), had an expiration date of the day I renewed the policy! So, it was invalid in the eyes of the friendly Police officer. Ugh! As I go on with my rant I must say, I’m extremely disappointed in our Insurance Agent. But, here in Panama one must tread gently when saying negative or possibly ‘slanderous’ things about people in public, so I won’t be mentioning any names or businesses. If any of my friends here want more specific information feel free to contact me privately.

So, The insurance agent is one who was highly recommend when we first moved to Boquete. And I remember feeling like we were in such good hands when we got our first policy with this person. The Agent walked us to our car as we left the office and shook our hands, smiling and telling us not to EVER hesitate to call if we needed anything at all, day or night. Wow! I thought, “Never before had an insurance agent said that to me”. We drove away feeling like this person would have our backs in an emergency and we felt good. Well fast forward to now, when we actually needed help, the agent most certainly did NOT have our backs! Just the opposite, the agent actually turned on us as though we were the enemy. In our minds we would call the agent, explain the error on our paperwork and all would be well. Nope! The agent actually yelled at me on the phone, bringing me to tears as I tried to explain what was clearly a typo on the paperwork the agents assistant had given me. It was horrible. To be standing on the side of the road, knowing we had done nothing wrong , and we were about to receive a hefty fine and have our car towed away!

I should not have been so shocked. We had been warned by others who have been in emergency situations with this same agent and had gotten less than professional service when they needed help the most. But, until your faced with this type of careless, unprofessional, uncaring even mean treatment by someone you trust, it just does not seem possible. To be yelled at by a professional who promised to care and to be there for you if you needed any help is shocking to say the least. As I began to crumble in tears while this person berated me and accused me of having the wrong paperwork, Scott took the phone from me and in his very calm, patient manner, after arguing about what was the agents responsibility he was finally able to get the agent to agree that IF the agent got into the office the next day to find it was indeed the assistant who made an error, then the agent will pay for the fine and the towing. Sheesh! IF??? IF??? Ridiculous! Can anyone please tell me how a brand new policy with a brand new insurance company that I just got in November could actually have expired the very month that I paid for it? And, how is that not the agents responsibility?

So, s!$t happens. And there’s lessons to be learned here. First, I’ll always check dates on paperwork from now on! Second, I’ll listen to friends who have bad experiences with professionals. Also, once again we have great friends here. Our friends who we were having dinner with were so supportive and kind when we finally made it to the restaurant. They cheered us up and it was great to spend the evening talking and enjoying the company of the healing energy of people who care about us. After dinner our plan had been to walk over to the fair and enjoy an evening exploring but we were really just not in the mood after all the drama. Since there was not a taxi to be found we called our neighbors Kat & Alan, they didn’t even bat an eye when I texted and said, “Can you come get us?”…They simply got in their car at 8:30 at night and drove down the hill to bring us home. We felt like two sad little kids who had had a bad day. hah! By this time I had enjoyed some wine with dinner and had thoroughly talked through our S#@tty experience with our friends so I was on my way to feeling much better about what had happened. The Agent is dead to me, but aside from that, all would be well.

In the end we’ll chalk this up to yet another new experience on this adventure! So many worse things could have happened, aside from me shedding a few tears (which, lets face it… isnt too hard to get me to do, I’m such a cry baby!) no permanent damage has been done. We learned that its time to search for a new insurance agent, good to know before we actually needed the agent for something that was an even worse emergency, only to be treated like the enemy. And, I forgot to say, the police office who pulled us over was so nice and before we walked away with our little bag of the few valuables from the car he was about to have towed away, we shook his hand. He was very nice and was only doing his job. The paperwork was wrong, and he had no choice but to do what was his job to do. We shook hands and he smiled and seemed kinda sad for us, and not a little surprised by our understanding. He even said he was sorry, and we said, “your just doing your job”. It’s too bad our insurance agent was not so professional. Isnt it amazing that the police officer offered us more kindness and consideration than someone who had professed that they would be there to help if ever we needed it?

On to the next part of this new adventure, trying to get our car out of impound. First we have to go to the agents office to try to get the correct paperwork. Then to the office in David to pay the ticket. Then to find the impound lot! Ugh! In case your wondering, my hummers are still delighting me and looking out my window Its an incredibly beautiful day, blue skies and wait….I think I see a unicorn…right over there…next to the rainbow….Life is still good, some people kinda suck but all in all most don’t!

Reflections of a day…

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This morning as I sit on my terrace I’m reflecting about this moment in time. In this very moment I’m feeling so happy and grateful to be right here. Sitting right here, in this chair overlooking this beautiful place and soaking up all that is this life, I feel as though my heart is nearly bursting with a peaceful sense just simple pleasure in the moment. Scruffy is sitting on the floor at my feet watching with adoring eyes as I type. I hear the sounds of saws, hammering and the laughter of the guys up at the house working with Scott to build our new house. As the day tumbles by it seems that the banter of the guys becomes more and more boisterous, they always sound like they’re having so much fun harassing each other as they work. Although I know my gardener doesn’t exactly appreciate the good natured teasing he gets from them. He’s a new gardener and doesn’t quite get the jokes, I’m pretty sure he’s offended by being teased and has expressed this to Scott, asking him to make them leave him alone. Hah! Scott told him that if he talked to them about it, its very likely the teasing would only become worse! I shake my head in disbelief and good humor at “my Guys”….I love the ongoing joking and lighthearted jests that are full of childish good fun. The sounds I can hear this morning make me smile…

"Love me!"

“Love me!”


The hummers are swarming the feeders chirping and fighting for a spot to drink. I could sit out here and watch them all day long. Their antics are endlessly entertaining. Dozens of hummers perch in the bushes and trees surrounding the terrace, just waiting for a turn at the feeders. They seemingly dive and tumble into the jungle below, like a bunch of fairies. Their chirping and batting of wings is a constant sound here at our casita. It’s a sound I love and a sound that has become background noise, mixed with the sounds of construction and the wind rustling through the leaves of all the trees and bushes and plants that our little casita is nestled amongst.

Today is cleaning day and Daisy, my housekeeper, has her music from her cell phone playing as she cleans. I like her music. But I especially like how she sings along as she cleans, with a little smile on her adorable face. All these combined sounds, the birds in the surrounding jungle singing away all around me, the dozens of hummers swarming at the feeders, and Daisy’s music and singing mixed with the distant sounds of our guys working on building our home are just a few of the sounds that are giving me great pleasure right in this moment. And, of course mix all of those wonderful sounds with the sight of my sweet dog, who seems to love just being near me and Its no wonder why I’m happy. This morning as I’m soaking up so many small pleasures of this new day I’m also smiling as I enjoy a few text messages of friends from afar. Debbie, in California has news of her sons engagement. Her joy is seeping through her words to me right through my computer screen and I can’t help but smile. Luana is in Barcelona, ready for an afternoon nap after exploring the city and she and I agree that it’s time for her to come home to Boquete. Then, my little sister in California Skypes me….sigh…its nice to see her smiling face and to hear her talk about her life. My friend and neighbor Kat has returned from her four month visit to the states and having her back, right next door somehow makes me feel like everything is nearly as it should be…I say ‘nearly’, because Bond & Luana are still in Spain, so until they are back on Panama soil things aren’t quite as they should be…close, but just not quite! hah!

Daisy...

Daisy…


As I start this new day soaking up all the things that bring a smile to my face I stop to embrace it and take a deep breath. It’s nice to have the time to really appreciate so many little things and to feel grateful in the moment. But now…its about time to get this day going… My Chores for the day include tending to my seedlings in my little greenhouse, driving into town to do my grocery shopping, stopping by the Corregidor (sorta like the sheriff of our little area) to get a special pass for our cars to get over the bridge to our home while the flower and coffee festival is going on (Jan 14-24th). Town is really hopping! With this next big festival there will be tons of Panamanian tourists in town and it feels as if they’ve already arrived for the big party. I saw the huge mobile Discos being built which means the music will be booming soon! And they’ve been busy repainting the bridge and doing some general “spiffing-up”. While in town I stopped by the new municipal mercado. They have been working on the construction of this market since we’ve lived here and town is just abuzz with excitement now that it’s finally open. This new market is really nice! With beautiful grass courtyards, fresh new stalls, lots of parking and its just all fancy and new. Everyones favorite vender, Benjamin, has a lovely spot and he seems really pleased with his new digs! Its so nice to have all the fresh fruit and vegetable venders all gathered in one spot instead of spread out all over town.

It’s the end of the day and the workers will be running down the hill soon. I can always tell when Its time for me to drive them into town. Those crazy guys always race down to my car, trying to be the first one to get the front seat with the Jeffa! Seems like the days fly by so fast. I wonder if all my hummingbirds feel the same way. They never stop frantically buzzing those feeders gobbling up the sugar water like its the last meal they’ll have! Scott’s done working for the day and he’s been snoozing in his recliner with his laptop precariously balanced on his lap (don’t tell him I told you that! hah!). The dog knows its time to nap as well as the cat…hey…what about me! Nah…I’m happy sitting here writing and sipping on my ice tea. As we’ve settled into this new Adventure, which is not really NEW anymore, but still and Adventure, I find myself constantly feeling so grateful for deciding so long ago to make this move to Panama. To step away from a life that had stopped being what we wanted and to embrace something new. To begin again has been good for us. While many have said, “I could Never do that!” or “I wish I were brave enough to do that” and “Why on earth would you move there?” I have to smile. This type of move is surely not for everyone. For us, and for all the friends who are now like family to us here in this little town, its what works for us all. I can’t imagine how much we would have missed out on had we just stayed put. Today, as I type this post I think my mind has been focused on embracing the little moments and as my day comes to a close, I’m still smiling…Life is good!

my tired guy...shhhhhh...dont tell him you saw this !!!

my tired guy…shhhhhh…dont tell him you saw this !!!

The Gift Of Giving…

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Having the opportunity to give without expectation of reciprocation is something I’m enjoying tremendously. Another part of giving I enjoy is giving without any feelings of obligation. To give someone a gift that they didn’t expect is so much fun. Living here in Panama I’m finding that I have unending opportunities to do just that. To give without expecting anything in return is gratifying on so many levels and makes my holiday great. Although, while I may not receive anything in return in the material sense I receive so much more that feeds my soul than any material possession could ever do! Especially this time of year when I reminisce about Christmas’s of past I feel deeply rewarded by the opportunities I have here to give in simple ways to those who expect nothing.

My experiences of giving to others here in this little town is rewarding in many ways. For one, the small tokens of kindness bestowed to others here are accepted with gratitude expressed in huge smiles. This year I initiated my own little way to give and man has it been fun! . There are endless organizations here to help the needy and to donate to those less fortunate. While I’m glad there are so many who enjoy getting involved in the community in this way, I prefer to find my own quiet ways to make small contributions. Does it really matter how we choose to give? I think not! I think when we have a desire to give and we find a way to do that which feels right , then by all means its never wrong. So, my own little Operation “Random Acts Of Kindness” has been in full force this month.
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This idea came to me after I bought a box of 38 little toy cars from PriceSmart. I like to give my 6 neighbor kids who live down the street a little something for Christmas each year and I bought this box of cars to give to them but then changed my mind. I found other things to give them and decided it would be a good idea to open this box of little toy cars and wrap them all individually, keep them in a bag in my car and see if I find any opportunities to hand them out to random Indigenous kids I see walking or sitting at a bus stop with mom. The first little guy I noticed sitting on his moms lap at a bus stop across the street from a little market I stopped at to buy a Scott more beer (gotta keep him well stocked up!). After making my purchase and putting it in my car, I took my little bag of cars, walked across the street up to this mom and her little boy. I said, “Yo tengo uno regalo para el niño”. They both looked at me in stunned silence as I reached into my bag and handed him two little presents. I simply said, “Feliz Navidad” , turned around and walked away. As I drove away I watched in my rear view mirror as he opened the presents and smiled, looking up at his mother who also had a smile on her face. My heart very nearly burst with joy at this sight. This, my friends, is what the holidays are about and the gift of seeing that little smile was more precious to me than anything that can be bought and placed under a tree.


This idea has been one of pure genius for me! (If I do say so! hah!) I’ve handed out all my little toy cars to random kids I’ve seen on the side of the road. Stopping many times as I drive up the hill back to my house. I put my hazard lights on , roll down my window and say to the mom or dad.. “Venga!” (Come here!) “Tengo regalo para los niños”…”Feliz Navidad!”…and drive away. Sigh….Oh yea! This, for me is giving at its best! It warms my heart to think of the joy that little toy car has given to many little children this Holiday Season. Next year I need to find a little girl toy! I can see I’ve found a way to spread holiday cheer that suits me just right. Who knows, I may randomly do this more often! But, for now I’m feeling very festive when I think about how the faces of the mom’s and dad’s of these children change when they walk up to this strange Gringa’s car. They at first look angry or even a little mean, and then the smile immediately changes their entire face. They say “Gracias” and the smile they give me is a heartwarming gift that I treasure as I drive away

The saying “To give is to receive” is made ever so true to me with my “Operation Random Acts of Kindness”. My heart is happy and I’ve received so much from this simple act of giving. And, the bonus is that I haven’t even racked up any credit card debt! Life is good. I hope your holidays are filled with experiences that warm your heart and make you feel blessed in countless ways. Merry Christmas!

The Life And Time’s Of Us…

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What’s up with us? Well, a lot and not much all at the same time. How can that be? Well, see it seems like most of what I have to write about has to do with the continuation of our construction project. Not much exciting to write about so its hard to write a blog post. Hence the lack of any new posts lately. I find myself sitting down to write something and I figure if I get bored just writing it, who would want to read it, right? But, I do so love writing so I’m going to attempt to keep this post brief…good luck right! I do have a tendency to go on an on an on….I know this about myself…


So, first things first, an update on the construction project. Well, the main house is really coming along good. We’re on track for moving into it by this next March and I am getting really excited about this! We already have all the windows an Scott has had our welder first fabricating and then installing the security bars and the windows will get installed any day now. I have a feeling that last bit of news about ’security bars’ has my friends in Los Altos perking up their ears. I can hear you thinking…”Security Bars!” Yikes! It must be dangerous there if they need bars on their windows! Nah, not really. Having security bars on your windows here is more common than not and after some debate between us about it we decided we’d felt it would be smart to just go ahead and have them, better to not be the only ones without them, right? And the bonus is that with our home being up in the mountains in a fairly isolated area we’ll feel good knowing the house is safe when we’re away. Additionally, one thing we’ve learned about living here in Central America is that one does not depend on anyone else but yourself to provide personal security. It’s just not quite the same here as it is in the states, we don’t have the luxury of a reliable 911 emergency number efficiently sending help in minutes. Its just best to do what you can do to avoid any emergencies all on your own. Thats my brief little explanation on our perspective about providing yourself with personal security here in Panama. And to be honest we almost prefer knowing that its up to us, no need to have blind faith that someone else will take care of us. We got this!

So, where was I? Oh, yes, the house is coming along great! Your maybe wondering if we have electricity yet? Well….ahem…sigh…not quite yet! (Big eye roll!) We’re getting closer and closer but the latest setback has been getting one last piece which was the main cable we need to run up the hill to our house, well we thought it was the last little piece. We got the cable and then the electrician came up to see it and told us we need one MORE little thing, some sort of connector to connect two parts of the cable together…..Ugh! Long story short, after three trips to the electrical material supply place in David (and getting “mañana-ed twice), Scott just ordered this ‘connector thingy” (my word, not his!) online, we paid extra for 2nd day delivery…which means it will get to our Miami address then have to get to us here. So, the electrician had planned to begin installation on Monday but it looks like we may have just a little more waiting….so freakin’ close! But, luckily we are still highjacking power from our neighbors house and they are so incredibly kind and generous about that, which we feel so grateful for. The biggest thing that is really holding us up with not having power is that Scott can not run his tools in his workshop with the amount of power he ran for this temporary set up. He only ran a 30 amp circuit which is fine for the smaller woodworking tools but not the big ones. So, he can’t start doing any cabinet work yet, which is killing him! The wood working part of this project is the part that he’s really dying to dig into.

(Update!) I was just about to publish this post and I see that our electrician is here with his crew to start running the cable! Whoooohooo! But I went out to see what was going on and I found our ten guys with Scott and the electricians four guys all standing around this enormous spool of cable trying to figure out how to lift it over the hole where it needs to start being run down the hill….hah…this should be interesting! They all look a little like deer in headlights! Oh boy…will this saga ever end???
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I could go on and on about building, but …yawn…thats boring…so the next update is that we took a little ten day vacation over Thanksgiving. This was not an exciting adventure trip but a total do-nothing-relaxing trip. We went to The Dominican Republic to an all-inclusive resort which was just the ticket for the type of trip we needed. Plus it turns out that its only a two hour flight from Panama City so the travel day was relatively short and easy. And the other nice part for me was that I have a good friend who lives there and I got to connect with her while we were there! Catching up with friends is one of my favorite things. Margarita used to live in the Bay Area and moved back to her home country about 5 or 6 years ago. She’s the type of friend who it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by, we picked up where we left off and it felt as though it had only been a month or so since we saw one another! She has not changed at all! I sure do wish I had had the time to see her country more, but I think we’ll just have to go another time and explore with her. All in all this little trip gave us some much needed time to re-charge and we got home ready to go again!


One other thing I have to tell you about this little vacation is that we discovered an incredible solution to finding someone to care for our animals while we are away. We discovered a web site called Trusted House sitters .com…Through this web site we met ,( via Skype initially), Duncan & Jane. They are an Australian couple who travel all over the world house sitting for people as an economical way to see different places while living like a local and helping people with the care of their homes and animals. I was so amazed at this concept for retirement and also very impressed with their professionalism and I really enjoyed spending a little time with them and hearing all about their adventures. While we were away they sent me daily email updates , written by Scruffy & Copper, which was so sweet. When we got home both our pets were so attached to Duncan & Jane and my house was cleaner than it was when we left for our trip! I think this is such a fantastic thing, its a win-win for everyone! Free house sitting for us and a free place to stay for them! And, bonus we got to meet an amazing couple who we feel are friends and I’m certain we’ll see them again and follow their adventures through their blog, ( http://www.totraveltoo.com ).

So, construction, vacation, and what else is going on? I’ve hired a house cleaner for the first time while living here. I had someone come clean for me when we rented, but only once and I was not so happy with that. So, Pablo, our neighbor who is living in Kat & Alans house while they’re away, found a gal to clean for him and I decided to give her a try. As I’m seeing our main house come together I’m looking at all that space and realizing that I’m going to need some help keeping it clean. And , although we hope to rent out the casita I’m thinking It would be a good idea to have someone to help keep it clean as well. So I’ve arranged for Daisy to come and clean for me here in the casita one day a week. She is a 19 year old indigenous gal who lives nearby. Finding someone who can get here on her own was something that I really thought was important. I don’t want to have to drive far away to pick up a house keeper. So, the fact that she can walk here is really great.

The only little catch is that ummm, well, she doesn’t really know much about cleaning…hah! Well, the spin I’m putting on that little detail is that this means I can train her, right? She’s very smart and wants to please and I think we may be able to work it out! At least I won’t have to break any bad habits, right? First I had to introduce her to a vacuum cleaner, which she had never seen before, but she thought was a great thing! Then I’ve been sort of showing her how I like her to do things and then kinda hanging around keeping a close eye on her while she cleans. So far she’s only broken one wine glass, no biggy! hah! And, This week I had her clean the inside of the oven for the first time , good thing I was watching her because she grabbed one of Scotts expensive knives and began to use it to scrape off some grime in the oven! Ugh! “No! Nunca usar eso, es muy caro y muy especial!” …Like I said, my Spanish is pathetic but I can make myself understood. In the end the oven was sparkly clean and she was glowing when she stood up and said,”Ohhhhhh! Muy bonita!!!” With a huge smile of achievement on her little face.

I’m pleased to have one more really great way to practice my Spanish with Daisy. She loves to chat with me and I am really enjoying getting to know her. One of her first questions to me was if I love Jesus! hah! Well…..Um…I told her I’m not religious but I believe in God…She was relieved to hear this and gave me a big smile. But, I must say, her usually happy face took on an expression of concern when she began to dust Scotts collection of video games! hah! They’re pretty ugly and violent looking and I think it made her a little nervous! Of course she then asked me if I like to sing…hahahahahaha! I do like to sing, but no one else likes to be around when I decide to bust out a tune! She then proceeded to sing Christmas songs while she cleaned! Some in English, some in Spanish and some in Ngobe, (her native language). Who doesn’t like a singing cleaning lady?

This cleaning job for Daisy is a huge opportunity for her and if it works out will probably provide her with an amazing income. You see Daisy normally works as a coffee worker on a nearby coffee finca (farm). She told me that they pay the coffee laborers per bucket. She can pick two buckets of coffee beans in one day and they pay her $3.00 per bucket. So she is accustomed to making only $6.00 a day doing grueling work in the coffee fields. The going rate for a house keeper here is about $20.00 a day. She starts at 8 and finishes at 3. So, she really really wants this cleaning job to work out. Pablo has her cleaning his house two days a week and when my main house is finished I’ll probably have her clean that house two days a week as well as continuing to clean the casita at least one day a week. If she ends up learning to be a good house keeper she will have an amazing job. I’m rooting for her and really hoping she ‘ll continue to do a good job, I too really want to see her succeed.

I said I’d try to be Brief! (I’m not sure, but I think I may have failed, oops!) so I’ll end this post by telling you one last thing. Lately, I seem to spend a lot of time in quiet reflection about this life I’m living now. And I think about what my life was like before making this move to Panama. I’m still working on adjusting to so many things about what I do with my days. Redefining my definition of what being productive means to me, as well as what it means to be successful. And I find myself seeking out new ways to feed my soul and how to feel as though I’m making some sort of fulfilling contribution to the world around me. When I think back to my former career where I spent 30 wonderful years working and finding unending personal fulfillment, I realize that I don’t remember my young self having spent any time at all putting much consideration into what I really wanted to do. I sorta just ‘fell’ into my career. Boy was I lucky to have fallen into something that was so rewarding to me. Now, as I’m nearing my 50th birthday I feel incredibly blessed to have created a situation for myself where I have the opportunity to put a lot of actual intention into what I will do with this next part of my life. In these ‘post working’ years I’m hoping to enter into things in my day to day life with much more consideration and intention. Now, having said this, I have to tell you, I don’t really have any idea yet, what this means to me! hah! I’m still just putting it out there and letting myself have all the time I need to figure this out. If I know One thing to be true it is that this wonderful place is where I’m supposed to be and Life is Good!

Trying To Hold Onto Friends From Afar…

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Moving away and leaving all my friends was hard ( well…‘hard’ doesn’t even come close to expressing it, but… shrug, I don’t wanna sound too dramatic! Hah) . The fact that It’s hard to leave friends is pretty obvious, I mean, leaving people we care about shouldn’t be an easy thing after all, right? But, now that some time has gone by since I’ve left all my friends, and I’m coming up on my three year anniversary of living here in Panama , I’m noticing more and more that there’s a distance that’s slowly beginning to develop with my friends from California. Not because of anything they’re doing, or not doing and certainly not because of any lack of caring for each other. I believe it’s simply an unavoidable change in the dynamic of a long distance connection that naturally happens when friends move away. Am I surprised by this? No. Why do I write about it now? Well, Its something I’ve been quietly observing as time is going by, relationships that are separated by so much distance are bound to develop a feeling of disconnect eventually. Even though I knew there was no way to avoid it, somehow It still makes me sorta sad and nostalgic for what I’ve walked away from. I’ve had many friends move away in my lifetime, but being the one who has done the leaving is proving to be an entirely different feeling….gulp. Read the rest of this entry

The Holidays are upon us!

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The drummers have begun the drum-drumming away in preparation for the festivities which began this past weekend. El Dia De los Muertos , and Independence from Columbia as well and flag day or colon day were first up and Independence from Spain is up next. There was a parade on the 3rd and the big Disco tech was booming lots ear piercing music until all hours of the early morning. The town has been decked out with streamers and dressed up for the many celebrations. Its fun to see the town Square transformed into a huge party for one and all. It seems like one can almost feel the energy of all the people coming together for their mutual celebrations this month. The town of Boquete is a vacation spot for Panamanian tourists, many from the city. I think its like going to Lake Tahoe for a big holiday. Escaping the big city and enjoying the cool, crisp mountain air. I remember doing just that when we used to visit the beautiful mountains in Tahoe or Yosemite. This little mountain hamlet is very similar to those lovely mountain towns. Read the rest of this entry

La Casa Principal…

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We’re making good progress on the main house and hoping to be able to move into it by March! Mind you, just because we plan to move in to the house , this in now way means that it will be totally finished…no way! Hah! Oh, how I wish that were the case, but alas! I’m doomed to only ever live in a partially completed home…Poor me…:( I know, I can hear the violin playing a sad, sad song…hee!hee! Well, I jest…I’m super excited about how much is happening up there and I just can’t wait to live in that house! Every night, after I drive the guys down the hill I take Scruffy for a walk up to the house and just wonder around imagining what it will be like to live in that house which we’ve worked so hard on. I’m just getting so excited, I can barely stand it.. Read the rest of this entry

Reminiscing….Cuz’ Halloween is Upon us…

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This is the time of year when I find myself quietly reminiscing about Halloweens gone by. As I recall fond memories of my favorite holiday I find myself not so nostalgic of the celebration as the people who joined us for all the preparations and shenanigans. To me Halloween, (or as we liked to call it, Hollyween) was about having FUN, and sharing it with all who cared to join in! Read the rest of this entry

Wet Season And The Battle Against Moisture…

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There’s green stuff growing on my wooden cutting board! When I say, “stuff” I don’t mean trees and flowers and veggies! I mean, mold! Ugh! It’s friggin’ damp up here right now! Here in Boquete there are many different microclimates relatively close in proximity. So, if you don’t like the weather in one area, maybe , lets say, its too windy here, or too rainy there, or just too warm for you there, you can choose to try out a different area. It’s really quite amazing just how different the weather can be in such a reletively small place like Boquete. Of course if you buy a piece of property and spend every waking hour working on building yourself a home, well, then, ahem… it’s a little too late for trying out different areas! hah! Lucky for us we had already gotten a pretty good idea of most of the different microclimates we had to choose from and we just fell in love with the Jaramillo area. What one must do when faced with the reality that its the ‘wet’ season inside and out, is rage a full blown war on the dampness that is invading your house! Or just learn to live with mold and mildew and hope like hell it doesn’t make you sick! Nope…. its war! Read the rest of this entry

What’s Going On?

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Well, actually, lots is going on. Our life is busy and fun and a little frustrating at times and crazy productive with a bit of exhausting thrown in on occasion. So, if your wondering what happened to my regular blog posts that used to keep you updated on a regular basis…well, life gets in the way most everyday. I wish I had the time to sit and write more often, but what with all this work going on up here at our property and Spanish classes three days a week, grocery shopping , laundry, socializing, happy hours, driving down the hill everyday to buy gasoline for two generators, working in the garden, ahem, you get the idea! I keep busy and hardly have time to sit and write , which I really miss. I keep thinking, “One of these days I’ll have more time to write and catch up on my blog”. But, it seems each day just flies by faster than the last. Read the rest of this entry

You can’t make this stuff up!

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My friend Susan has written a blog post about what’s going on at her house. We went over to have dinner with them last night and got a first hand look at the ‘small inconvenience’ they are having at the moment. They had warned us about the road work and told us not to wear good shoes and to be prepared for a bit of a hike to get to their house….hah! We were laughing as we trudged through the mud in the pouring rain! With a shrug and laughs all around we just had to say…”Ohhhhh Panama!” :)

Latitude Adjustment

Let me set the stage here: the house we’re currently renting in the Volcancito Abajo area of Boquete is accessed by a single, bumpy gravel road that leads for about two city blocks to our front gate. For us and our next-door neighbor, it’s the only way in and out. The road is a right-of-way through a large parcel of land surrounding both our houses. Let me also explain that we are at the height of rainy season, when even in the best situations gravel roads tend to turn to muddy soup in places.

New culvert being dug across the entrance to our road. Our house is down on the right, past the white fence pillars. It's further than it looks! New culvert being dug across the entrance to our road. Our house is down on the left, past the white fence pillars. It’s further than it looks!

Early last week, we heard a rumor that the owner of the surrounding property was planning on ripping up our little road to do some drainage/culvert work. Our neighbor heard about…

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Raising the Roof, Panamanian-Style!

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The Recipe For A Good Time In Panama…

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I bet you’ve been wondering what it takes to have fun here in Panama. Well, luckily I’ve got just the recipe! You start with the completion of a brand new Techo, or Roof for my non-Spanish speaking readers. Then after the sparkly new Techo is completed the required fun must commence with a few key ingredients. The first and most important ingredient for a fun time at this traditional celebration is the food. And , specifically the main dish which is called Mondongo. Basically, this is Tripe, or at least similar to it, let me be more specific….Cow intestines. I know….many of you may be saying..”Yuck!” I’ll stick to Non-Cow intestines please! And I would not disagree, but the traditional celebration of a newly completed Techo is aptly named a Mondongata because these fun-loving folks here love it! It’s Party Food! Shrug, I’m pretty sure we very likely have a taste for many things they think is crazy as well, so, let’s just roll with it, k? Read the rest of this entry

Always Learning about how much I don’t know…

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Just when I think I’ve acclimated to living in Central America, and I really got this, I hear myself say something to someone that’s just totally ignorant. Pfffft! And I wanna kick myself! Ya know? Sometimes I have the hardest time with really remembering just what a different world some of my new friends, workers and neighbors live in. Maybe I should give myself a little credit, I shouldn’t say I don’t understand, as much as I just sometimes, somehow, inexplicably sorta forget. As I spend time with Panamanians and feel as though I’m making friends and bonding with our crew of workers I occasionally get a little reminder of how foreign my ways must seem to them. I forget sometimes that we’re from a different culture and that our way is soooooooo not EVERYONES way. I don’t know why or how I could forget such a common sense truth, but, the truth of the matter is, at times, I just do. Humph… As much as I desire to assimilate and to fit in here with respect and admiration of the culture of my new home, I may never quite be able to shake what I’ve grown up with as my ‘normal’. It will always be a part of me in some way. My hope is that one day the many glaring differences may not seem quite so ‘different’ to me, because Its my goal to learn to acclimate to this place I now call home. Maybe someday I’ll have fewer of these ‘foot-in-mouth experiences. For the time being, I just gotta laugh at my faux pas and try to live and learn… Read the rest of this entry

Gardening In Boquete…

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Before I moved to Boquete, Panama I really enjoyed my garden in Los Altos. I always found it to be endlessly therapeutic spending a day with my hands in the dirt. Weeding, planting, trimming, creating a garden that pleased my eyes was something I could easily loose myself in. Entire afternoons could slip away as I made my way through the yard. I had so many little areas of my yard to work in and each area seemed to have its own personality. I don’t consider myself an extremely knowledgable gardener but I loved to learn by trial and error, all I could about my little plot of dirt in Los Altos. Through the years I learned a lot about my yard, I learned that the soil was a little different in each area of the yard. Different sides of the house had differing amounts of sun and shade which provided a mix of suitable climates for many different plants and flowers. As I worked my way around my garden it was as if I were traveling through tiny little micro climates where I slowly began to learn what plants thrived where. Some areas needed more water than others. Some area’s needed more weeding and others needed more fertilizer. But after time I grew to understand how to best tend and care for the specific areas and what plants belonged where in my yard. Gardening was a pastime that really fed my soul and made me feel happy. Read the rest of this entry

Finding A Balance That Feeds My Soul…Or, Figuring out how to be content with the moment…

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Before making this life changing move to Panama my focus was mostly on the ‘getting here’ part of the move. Preparing to exit, leaving my salon, selling things, saying sooooo many heart wrenching goodbyes, Sigh…and, making decisions on how and when to make the move happen. I didn’t have any way of knowing just what it would be like to live my life without the things I was leaving. How could I possibly even expect to know what this new life would be like? Although, to be honest, the ‘not knowing’ part of this life change was part of the Adventure. I was really looking forward to the experience of everything being new and different! And, boy…I have not been disappointed in that respect! hah! You know what they say about being careful what you wish for? Well… I wished for ‘different’ and this new life, living as an expat in Panama, is all I wanted and much much more! (Big Smile!) But still, even as I enjoy soaking up all this ’newness’, the significance of not having a career and all that goes with it, (and what effect that would have on my psyche) is something that’s been kinda hard for me at times. It might have been much easier had I left a career and a life that wasn’t rewarding or if I’d ran from a life that I was trying to escape from. But I loved my career, my friends, my home, and the place I lived. Naturally making my transition at times bittersweet. Read the rest of this entry

A Little Update…

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Our life right now…
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Life’s just cruzin’ right along! Of course we’ve been keeping incredibly busy, as I’m sure you could guess. Between building our third and final building and creating a garden in the jungle, getting a new dog, enjoying spending time with friends, doing regular household chores and errands and learning Spanish, I have a really hard time finding moments to just sit and write. Which I regret. I really love writing and sharing our story and I know I’ve become a very bad blogger. So, here’s a little peak into what’s going on in our world… Read the rest of this entry

Our Family Has Grown!

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We did it! We adopted a dog! And not just any ol’ dog (not that there is such a thing!) but we think she’s pretty special. Her name is Ruffy, which is short for “Lady Rufina”. I know what your thinking..”I thought she said there was a ‘heart to heart’ about this and they decided the timing was all wrong for a puppy?” And, well, Ahem…you would not be wrong about that recollection. But, shrug, ya know sometimes life just happens. Although, we didn’t get a puppy, we got a very well trained five year old dog who is just right for us and fits into our life like she’s always been here. Read the rest of this entry

A very Rude Dog…

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Today was a first for me. I went for a walk with my friend Kat this morning and I was bitten by a dog! Sheesh! I’m still in shock as I write this. In all my life I’ve never been bitten by a dog! I just cant even believe how fast it happened. Ouch! I’m okay, don’t worry. As soon as I got home I washed it really good with soap and water then I sanitized it with peroxide and slathered it with Neosporin. So I feel pretty good about it not getting infected, although I will keep a close eye on it and go see a doctor if it shows any signs of infection. I just had to tell someone cuz’ sheesh Its a crazy thing to have a strange dog just come from nowhere and bite like that! So, maybe there’s a good reason almost every Panamanian I’ve met has a healthy fear of strange dogs. I’ve never felt afraid of dogs. I mean, I don’t make a habit of just walking up to any ol’ dog and petting them, but not because I was fearful, only respectful of animals in general.
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This ‘n’ That…

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Here’s a bit of what’s on my mind. Our Adventure living here in Panama is feeling less and less like such a huge adventure and more like , just ‘Life’. As the newness of this expat life has begun to fade its really hard to think of things to write about that seem interesting or share worthy, Hah! I know all my friends and family back in California like to keep up on our happenings and I really like the feeling of continued connectivity my blog seems to provide. Its always so great to hear from people and to know that we haven’t been forgotten about. Here are just a few things we’ve been up to and things that just came to me as I typed. Nothing especially earth shattering, but just a bit of this n that! Read the rest of this entry

Where have I been!

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Oooooop! Sorry, I´ve really been slacking in my writing. First I went on vacation for three weeks then I just seem to get so caught up in my days that I dont stop to take the time to write.  So, let me get you caught up on what´s happening here.  Well, I´ll begin with our project, the never ending house project!  So, we have two new workers that we hired, bringing our total crew to 9 guys now.  The main house has all the  walls finished and now the roof is just getting started.  It should take maybe a month or a little more to complete.  Its really fun to see it all come together and to wander around imagining what it will be like to live in it.  I´m really excited about how much I like the design and floorplan that we worked so hard to design together.  We really put a lot of focus on outdoor living space because living here makes it so easy to spend a lot of time outdoors.  Our terrace alone which wraps around the entire back side of the house facing the amazing view is about 900 square feet in size.  It will be completly roofed and protected from the elements.  It will be like a room without walls!    We plan to have our dining room out on the terrace  on one side and a living room area on the other end, with an outdoor sofa and some chairs.  In the outdoor living room we are planning to have a gas fire pit.  There will also be a big wood burning fireplace out on the corner of the terrace.  Scott has an outdoor kitchen as well which will be about 200 square feet.  The total size of the house, not including the terrace and outdoor kitchen is about 2400 square feet.  We will have two bedrooms, a living room a laundry room, the kitchen and a recreation room for our pool table.  One aspect that I´m sure I´ve writen about which I´m really excited about is the outdoor shower off the master bedroom.  This will be a treat since we can use it pretty much all year around living here.  The guest bedroom will have an indoor shower so if its especially rainy or chilly we can use that.   Read the rest of this entry

Our Two Year Anniversary Living In Panama!

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20140707-112852-41332107.jpgTwo Year Anniversary…

What? How the heck did two years buzz by so fast?? Sheesh! Tomorrow , May 29th it’ll be two years ago that we got on that plane with four bags and two unhappy cats headed to a new life in Panama. I just cant believe we’ve been living here in Boquete for two years already. Its funny, in some ways it feels as though we’ve always been here and then in other ways it seems like we just got here!

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Back to work…Oh, I know I thought we were retired, but, shrug, there’s work to be done!

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And the construction continues at the Carter propiedad! Before our vacation we liquidated all our workers. Which means that we paid them all the required vacation and decimo pay and basically laid them all off. Scott let them know that they could resume work on the first Monday of our return if they wanted to. But, we didn’t know for sure if they would still want to come back to work for us because we couldn’t assume that they wouldn’t go find different work for the three weeks we were gone. So I drove down to pick them up at our regular meeting spot at 7:15 on Monday moring (right at the end of the bridge in town) and….Gulp, no one came! I was sad, I kinda thought in my head that they all really, really liked working for us and that “of course” they’d all be back! The two indigenous guys , Federico and Arquiles both showed up at the job site ready to resume work but no one else on Monday. So Scott very calmly said to me, “No problem, Shrug, we’ll just move on to Plan B”….Gotta love a guy who is calm and adaptable! That vacation really renewed his “Tranquilo”! hah! So Plan B in his mind meant that we would just let the main house sit on the back burner until the next dry season and for now if none of our crew aside from the two guys showed back up we would refocus on finishing up all the details on the casita. There’s still quite a bit to finish up like cabinetry, soffits, all the outside hardscaping, walkways , steps, exterior painting, stone work on retaining walls, just to name a few things. Read the rest of this entry

Vacation…It felt so different in so many ways, all good!

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Coming home from vacation felt entirely different to me this time! This is our first big vacation away from our new home here in the highlands of Panama and I must admit, after nearly three weeks away, I was looking forward to getting back to my little casita in the mountains. We’ve taken several pretty long vacations in our past and normally we’re never really ready to go home. We love to travel and see the world and seldom have we looked forward to returning to the grind that was our life in California.
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Our Peruvian Adventure…

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Eighteen days, Six cities, Planes, Trains, taxis, boats, busses and hiking around more ancient Incan ruins than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means!)….. Luana and I both agree that the Peruvians have no lack of huge old rocks in this country, that’s for sure! hah! But, that being said, we’re all just totally “Awestruck” by Machu Picchu… how could anyone not be? It’s simply magnificent! And Lake Titicaca blew us away as well….I was stunned by the floating reed islands and the life they live there! We all loved the town of Ollantaytambo, our first stop on this adventure. Its one of the few places where the people are still living in an original Incan city! The narrow cobbled streets, walls and many of the houses are original and we marveled at the history that was still alive there. This Foursome feels as though we’ve really “SEEN” Peru! Read the rest of this entry

Day 7…Writing 101

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Day Seven: Give and Take

Today’s Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

compare and contrast….

Dreaming of doing something totally unexpected and freeing or continuing on down the same path your on. Getting up everyday and doing the same thing for years on end. Coming up with an idea, a crazy, wild idea and working towards making that idea a reality. This is a comparison I’ve made in my head many times. I often wonder if, had I not come up with my crazy idea to expatriate and begin an adventure in a different country, would my routine have become so unbearable to me? Or would I have eventually come to feel exactly as I was feeling about the sameness of my days by the time I was prepared to leave? Did the dream of doing something different slowly make my current existence feel unsatisfying? Up until I began dreaming of living in another country and changing my life completely, I was perfectly satisfied with my life and the routine I had created for myself. I often wonder if I would have eventually begun to slowly sink into that feeling of monotony. Read the rest of this entry

Day 6..Writing 101…

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Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us). Read the rest of this entry

A dog banned, A first bribe, and other happenings…

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Poor little Chumbo, the neighborhood doggy who wanders up to our house for love…and food. (I suspect mostly food, but oh well) Yesterday we had to hang chicken wire all around our terrace to keep Chumbo off the terrace. Aww, Poor guy. That may sound mean to you but it had to be done. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop him from peeing on everything! Ugh! I know! Gross! He peed on the BBQ, on the chairs, on my plants in the pots on the terrace and on the pillars too…He really wanted to be sure any other dogs in the neighborhood were well aware of who’s territory our terrace is. And well, he was not aware that it’s not actually his territory at all….it’s Scott’s! Yep…Scott couldn’t enjoy his hammock time with the fumes of Chumbos markings all around him. Now Chumbo has been banned from visiting our porch. He’s more than welcome to visit our yard, I moved his food and water bowl out to the front of the house, so no need to worry about him getting nourishment! I really love dogs and I’ve been looking forward to the day that we can get our own, so I thought I would love having Chumbo up here , and I do, but I must agree dog pee isn’t a pleasant fragrance. He’s such a sweet dog and If he were mine I’d train him not to do such an uncivilized thing, but he’s not mine so I’ll just have to live with the ban on his terrace time visits. Darn it. Read the rest of this entry

Day 5…Writing 101

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Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible….yeah, right…eye roll! hah!

What’s that? It looks like a white envelope. Right over there, under that tree where the Resplendent Quetzal is peeking out of it’s nest. My what bright, beautiful colors that Quetzal has…strange, it seems to be looking right at me… Read the rest of this entry

Writing 101 Day 4….

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Writing 101, Day 4…

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Traffic, working 12 hour days, PG &E, AT&T, Los Altos Garbage co, State Farm, Blue Cross, A Huge Mortgage, Property Taxes, State Taxes, These are just a few things that used to be in my life but aren’t in my life anymore. This small list just off the top of my head are just a few of the things that made my life stressful, and for the majority of my days , not fun , and I’ve said, “Audios” to them forever. Oh what a glorious day it was when I had the pleasure of spending an entire afternoon with all my bills in front of me calling each one to request that they cancel my account. Read the rest of this entry

Day 3..Writing 101…

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Day Three: Writing 101…

“Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Nailing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5 on your alto sax. Making perfect pulled pork tacos. Drawing what you see. Or, writing a novel. Each requires that you make practice a habit.

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.” Read the rest of this entry

Day 2…Writing 101…

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A Room With A View…
Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

If I could zoom through time and space to anyplace at all I would go to the house in Morgan Hill where I grew up. I would be sitting at the top of our staircase with my little sister by my side. It would be the wee hours of the morning, not yet light, but not totally pitch black. It’s Christmas morning and our Father’s favorite time of the year. He’s been preparing for this morning all month long, he loves nothing more than surprises and seeing us all happy. And this is the moment he looks forward to most! It’s also one of the few memories I have of a time when my little sister and I clung together as one in solidarity. Sitting close together, excitedly huddled at the top most step, in the wee early, dark of Christmas morning… Read the rest of this entry

Day 1…Writing 101….

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I hope this doesn’t bore you too much…I have decided to participate in a writing exercise hosted by Word Press, the hosting site that I use to publish my blog. I Really love writing but I’m not a ‘Writer’, per-say… This post is my first attempt at participating in this four week long writing exercise. Word Press will be emailing a prompt daily for the next four weeks, so please be patient with me as I attempt this daily writing challange. Today is the first of these writing prompts and for the very first one I’m supposed to just write anything at all that comes to mind for twenty minutes! Yikes! So I thought it would be a good way to explain why I may be writing a bit more than I normally do. I’ll try my best to stay within the topic of my blog, but who knows what they may throw at me! Read the rest of this entry

Update on Casa Principal…

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Here’s a little update on the current progress on the main house. It’s well underway and I went up to take a few photos of the action. As you can see in the photos there are walls going up already! whoohoo!! They are still backfilling the terrace and the master bedroom and will be pouring the floors in those areas as soon as they have it all filled in with dirt. The water and gas has been run through the floor and the septic is in as well. They are framing up the corners and soon will begin to pour concrete for the begining of all the outer walls. It will still be a couple of weeks until the floor is done. After the floors then comes the walls and then the roof begins. We finally got the approval for our electrical run. We emailed the electrician today and hope to see the work on that begining soon. Scott and I have been doing a lot of work on the computer for the electrical plan inside the new house. Deciding where all the light switches and plugs will go. We have all the light fixture locations planned out as well as the kitchen design and the plumbing design. It feels like we’re pretty well orgainized at this point. Next week we will be going down to Elemec, the plumbing and tile store, to pick out and purchase all those materials. The woman who always helps us there, Dinah, called today to let us know that they’re having a big sale on April 12. So we’ll get it all picked out and she will let us actually place our order after the sale begins. And, one bit of good news….the little dump truck that could, is back again!!! We’re so happy that its risen from the dead and bringing material up here once more! yeah! Can you hear the angels singing again??? I can!! hah! Here’s a few pics from today…

Hiking, Birdwatching, Orchid Festival and our first house guest…

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We’re enjoying our first house guest here in our little casita.  Emma is on her spring break from teaching in Panama City.  She flew into David on Sunday morning and I drove down to pick her up.  This is the first time we’ve hosted anyone in our new casita.  I’m glad its Emma because she’s so low maintenance and doesn’t mind that we’re still kinda roughing it up here.   We don’t’ have a guest room in the casita so it’s the air mattress on the living room floor for her.  And we also don’t have any interior doors yet which means you must actually say the word, “SLAM!” when you shut the shower curtain that we have as our bathroom door! hah!  And then there’s the no electricity thing…well, we have electricity but its coming from that good ol’ generator still. So, Scott has to go out at night and turn it off and then he has to get out there in the morning to start it up again. And heaven forbid the generator should run out of gas in the middle of watching a movie or cooking dinner…ugh! All this hasn’t seemed to faze our first houseguest. She’s lived in Panama for nearly four years so she’s been thoroughly desensitized to things being ‘not-quite-right’ all the time. Read the rest of this entry

An Adventure…

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Adventure!

Today (Monday) I shared on my Facebook page, a little adventure I had with one of our workers Martin. He came to talk to Scott this morning (Monday morning) as our crew was just getting started. Apparently he needed help getting his young wife to the hospital because she was in labor. Yikes! This conversation with Scott took place on my terrace right in front of the open kitchen window where I was washing dishes. I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my keys. I could understand enough of the conversation to get that Scott told Martin I would drive them to the hospital. So I happily grabbed my purse and my keys, Martin and I got into my car and he directed me to where they live. Martin is only about 21 years old, he’s been working with us on our construction project for about 6 months now. He and his wife are a very young indigenous couple and he speaks very broken Spanish she speaks no spanish or english. Their native language is the Ngobe language and he seems to have about as much Spanish as me, maybe even less! So his ability to direct me to where he lives was a comedy of errors, but I got there eventually. Read the rest of this entry

A Buen Dia! (I know its not correct but its how they say it here, humph!

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To Have A “Buen Dia”….

What does it mean to you to have a good day, or as they say here..”Buen Dia”? To smile. To see my friends, To laugh with my friends, this makes every day good. A day is good when I know the people I love and care about are well. When I know my daughter, my mother, my sister, my friends, my sweet hubby are all well, this alone can make my day a good one.
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Here’s what I’ve learned about learning Spanish…

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I’ve been living here in Panama for nearly two years. Before this move I had never in my life tried to learn any other language. As a matter of fact,I don’t even recall having ever spent much time learning my own language! Boy, nothing like learning how much you dont know about your own native tongue while trying to learn another language! I’ve had to re-learn English in order to learn Spanish! Seriously! I enjoy writing, and I also love talking, but when I write, I do my best but I’m sure all you Grammar junkies out there must cringe at my many naive errors. Run on sentences, horrible paragraphs, spelling errors, misuse of commas, wayyyyyyy too many exclamation marks!!!!! Grammatical boo boos that I can’t even begin to even realize I’ve made. As a matter of fact I’m pretty sure my spell check is about ready to throw in the towel! hah! Read the rest of this entry

Things are really coming together…

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This place is really beginning to feel more and more like a home! Even without having electricity its feeling so cozy and homey. The generator works just fine for providing power, who needs electricity! hah! I have to keep our gasoline tanks full, but I don’t mind. Even though Scott may be getting a little tired of going outside at night before we go to bed and in the morning when we get up to start the generator, we’re not feeling like we’re missing out on much not having electricity. Eventually we’ll have power, our architect has told us that our electrical plans are at Union Fenosa (the electric company), for approval for our permit. He had already gotten the permit but it was not for the correct amount of amps. So he had to amend it. As soon as we have the permit we’ll be ready to have the electrician pull the wire through the conduit which Scott already put in the ground . Although….we still need to buy the wire and we had to special order the two transformers which have not yet arrived. So, who knows how long that whole process will take…and as long as I have my handy little generator all is well in my mind.
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I Wish You Were Here…

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Sigh…this is what my daughter said to me in a text last night, “I wish you were here.”.  Gulp.  Those are hard words for mom to hear from so far away.  Especially when I know she’s having a particularly difficult day and really just wants to connect with her mom.  Its times like this when I wonder, “Am I a terrible mom for moving so far away?”…Most of the time my daughters life is so fast paced and busy she doesn’t have time to think about me or miss me much, which is as it should be.  This dynamic between the two of us was the same when we lived nearby, so its not completely a function of my living in Central America.  When we lived near each other I wouldn’t hear from her for weeks on end and I’d be sad that we didn’t spend more time together.  Kids grow up and go their own way, which is what’s supposed to happen.  But the hardest thing is not having the ability to spontaneously drop by to get a hug every once in a blue moon when we need it. Read the rest of this entry

An Update On This Crazy Adventure…

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Boy, oh , boy, so much has been going on in our Adventure but nothing seems especially exciting. Our adventure has begun to sorta resemble, I don’t know… Our Life. While it’s still pretty exciting to be living here in Panama, and still so much of this relocation to Panama is new, my days seem to be flying by without time to sit and write about it. It’s funny, we called this ‘retirement’, but , ahem….I don’t really think we actually ‘retired’ per-say. I think we actually just left a place where we were working to ‘support’ a lifestyle, and traded it for a life where we happily work to ‘create’ a lifestyle of our choosing. Together we’re building a new life of our own personal design. We’re no longer living to work. One of the many things that Im enjoying about this new life we’re building here in Boquete is the fact that we’re able to work together to create something that will be a reflection of us as a team. This entire new life is all about living it the way we’ve chosen to live it, not how we just sort of feel like we are expected to live our life. We no longer feel driven to work in order to pay a mortgage or, work to pay taxes and credit card debt and car payments and health insurance and more taxes…nowadays we’re working hard, but we’re working hard for our own enjoyment and our own pleasure. Read the rest of this entry

A Surprise Day Of Relaxing…

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We’ve been living in our new casita since January 8th. We actually began working up here February of 2014. The first project that Scott tackled was to build retaining walls and drains. With the crazy rains that we get here we realized that the first thing we needed to address was drainage and so that was the very first step in our project. So here we are, a year into our project and boy, when I look around at all the work that’s been done up here It is really quite remarkable. In only a year we’ve already put in most of the infrastructure, water, gas, electricity is nearly done, built two structures and are starting the final one, the main house. Read the rest of this entry

No hay conexión! (That´s, I have no connection!)

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I have no internet and now no 3G!!! Ugh! Is this what this day is gonna be like? Well, that’s just rude! I was ready to enjoy a day of perusing the internet and chatting with my mom, but it looks like I’m going to figure out how to entertain myself with just me. No problema! I got this… let’s see… I’m on “Bombero” watch duty. Someone has to man the house just in case they actually show up to do our final (hopefully final) inspection for our gas permit. This morning Scott has to meet one of our neighbors to go for a hike up to our main water source again. They need to check again what’s going on up there. Read the rest of this entry

Have you ever had one of “Those” days?

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I think we’re having one! This morning started out with me standing at the BBQ with my freshly made batch of home made pancake batter and my griddle ready to go with a little dollop of butter ready to melt. The kettle of water was just about to boil to get that delicious pot of Boquete coffee brewing. I turned the nob of the BBQ to fire up my burners and ….sputter, sputter, sputter went the last little bit of propane! Ugh! Nooooooo! Empty! Pfffft! Not to worry, I know we have a full tank somewhere around here. Scott hears my dilemma and puts on his Teva’s and his headlamp, because it’s still dark outside, and heads up the hill to his workshop. I wonder why the heck the extra tank isn’t here close to the BBQ, but now’s not the time to question his bad planning. Crisis diverted when he gets me hooked up and fires up my grill so I can cook some pancakes and finish boiling the water for that much needed coffee. Ahhhhhhh….let the day begin. Read the rest of this entry

Water Problems…

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We often hear of water problems that some areas in Boquete experience, especially during the dry season. But we’ve never really been affected by any lack of water in any of the places we’ve lived so far. Until now. We live in an area called Jaramillo Centro and although we have heard of some brief water outages it really never sounded as though the water problems were especially bad, so I never really thought much about it. Again, until now. We have an Aqueduct that provides water to all the homes up here in Jaramillo Centro. Its up to each property owner to maintain the pipes that supply water to their homes. Some people have large water storage tanks and some just use what water comes directly to their house without bothering to store any. I can not say that I know all the in’s and out’s of how all this water stuff works, I have a very limited amount of knowledge of what we have set up for our property and what our neighbors and good friends right next door have at their house. We have built a water room on one end of Scott’s workshop. In this water room we have four huge storage tanks. This is also where we have our filtration and UV light to create potable water for drinking and so forth. We have planned to collect rain water from our gutters and from our showers and sinks to use for agricultural water, things like watering plants. The agricultural water will fill one of the huge tanks and we have a smaller tank to provide the water that will get pumped down to the casita. At the moment, since its the dry season, we have not yet gotten to collect any rainwater and only have one big tank filled from the aqueduct that we are using for the casita. Read the rest of this entry