Summer and Other Stories

Summer has returned! We had a week and a half of rainy season weather with some very big downpours. This is very strange in March. It’s supposed to be really hot and dry with no rain, but I appreciated the rain to cool things down and make all the plants green and happy. But, if you are working outdoors it would complicate your afternoon and my friend brought up another good point. If you are counting on summer weather patterns to know when to plant things on your farm, this could cause problems. But, the rainy weather has passed. Yesterday and today we have blue skies, strong sun, wind, and no rain is predicted all week. The mani (perennial peanut) in my backyard looks green and happy though.

green and happy mani (perennial peasut)

When you want to get things done here it isn’t always as straightforward as you would think. I have an internet data plan on my phone which I find very handy, so we decided to upgrade Joel to a similar plan from his pay-as-you-go thing he was doing before. I must have gone through this before and forgotten it, or I thought since Joel already had a phone number it wouldn’t be so complicated. ha!

There was a big form to fill out with all the information you could imagine, including three people as references. They guy wasn’t experienced with this so he had to ask questions of another guy who was in the back office. But, you can’t just pop into the back office. You have to knock and wait for someone to open the door. It finally ended up that they had to start over with a new form and do it together to get it completed correctly. Then there was also another form, and another. Then, there were pictures of his cedula (ID card) alone, the form alone, both of them together. His signature wasn’t exactly like the one on the cedula so that was a problem but they finally let that pass. Then they had to take a picture of him (pretend) signing the form. Then they gave him a new SIM card since he’s forgotten to bring his old one, and we were done! It was very nice that there were some young workers hanging out in the office playing disco music on their phones while we were all waiting around, memories of my younger days in NYC. The kid says his mother listens to that so that is how he came to like the music too. We had to wait for a phone call which came a couple hours later to tell us the plan was now activated. We put in the new SIM card and everything was working properly. Yay! Whew

The dog started scratching herself all the time. We have been using anti flea and tick medicine and we couldn’t find anything on her, so we have no idea what that was all about. I called the vet but couldn’t get an answer, so one day I rode my bike down there. They were in the office and said maybe they were just busy when I was calling. The doctor was on vacation until the following week, but they sold me some antihistamines which turned out to be generic Claritin. It seemed to help quite a bit, so after 5 days I stopped giving her the pills and she continued to do well. So, who knows what that was all about, but I’m glad she isn’t itching any more. This is Avionetta living her difficult life. I usually practice in my room in the afternoons and she loves to lie on her back behind the door.

Other than that, life is pretty routine at the moment. We continue our band gigs in Boquete on Sunday evenings. A couple weeks ago we were set up and waiting for our start time, and a big gust of wind came along and blew one of our speakers over the railing and on to the sidewalk below. On the way it took my plastic bin with it that I use for cords and other equipment. I had put my iPad in there instead of on my microphone stand so it wouldn’t risk being blown over in the wind. Believe it or not though, that was the only thing damaged. The speaker still works, the light on top of the speaker is fine, and nothing in my bin was hurt, just scattered all over the place. My iPad though.. 😢 thankfully it’s fairly old and I had already gotten another as a backup because I knew its days were limited. It’s surprising how much we have come to rely on technology and our devices. My poor iPad..

Speaking of equipment, there’s another story. Joel really wanted a Marshall speaker cabinet for his guitar. He found a place in Germany that would sell him one and ship it to Panama for way less than it would cost in the USA without shipping. So he buys it and a while later we hear from customs here in Panama. They give us the price of the import taxes, but you can only pay by credit card in Panama City. We had to go to their bank, make the deposit into their account, and send them a picture of the receipt. After they verified that the money was there, they put the cabinet on a truck and sent it to David. Two guys showed up in the afternoon after contacting us to expect them. They said they left Panama City that morning with a full truck and were making deliveries all day. Once they explained what was needed the whole process went like clockwork and it was all done with WhatsApp text messages! Technology again.

I think that’s about it for the moment. I have gone on quite enough for now. I have some pretty clouds and sunset pictures, and some interesting bugs, but I’ll save them for another day. I hope you all are doing well out there!

Posted in Panama | 4 Comments

It’s March? Already?

There were the holidays. Then it was January. Somehow February flew by. How does this happen?

It’s OK with me if March flies by also. We are in the height of summer right now. I like warm weather but daily afternoons in the mid to upper 90’s are a bit much, there hasn’t been a drop of rain for weeks, and everything is drying out and burning up in the intense sun. Water is a problem when there isn’t any rain, so the water has been off during the day every day. I think they are trying to conserve water but as more and more people get reserve tanks, they use their usual amounts of water so nothing is really saved. I’m very thankful for our tank but I still try to be mindful of how much water we use. In Florida, water was very expensive so that trained us.

We’ve also had days of strong trade winds. I’ve seen reports of 50-60 mph winds! Thankfully, knock on wood, so far, we haven’t seen many fires. People want to clear their land and/or dispose of trash with minimal cost and effort, so they set it on fire. When everything is bone dry and the wind is blowing, you can imagine how easy it is for this to get out of control. We still have about six weeks before the rains return so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that there aren’t more fires coming. But, on the positive side, we get flowers and fruits that we usually don’t have the rest of the year. The bougainvillea are especially spectacular, and mangoes are coming soon.

The band continues to play in Boquete and it’s an entirely different world up there, only 40 minutes away! It’s still windy but evenings are in the 60’s and often damp if not downright wet. The mist comes rolling through like clouds descending, but it makes for some spectacular rainbows! The sun is getting low in the sky behind us when we are setting up for the evening, so the rainbows appear right in front of us beside our venue.

We’re happy with how things have been going with the band. We video our gigs so we can watch later and find areas to improve, and this has been very helpful. Some friends are stuck in the US at the moment, so I’ve been putting more videos on my channel so they can still come to the gigs in spirit. Hmm, I’m not sure if that link works. Maybe this is better, a link to the last video and you can click on my name there to find others

That’s about all at the moment. I’m also looking forward to March flying by because we have plans in April. We’re going to see kids, grandkids, and my new sisters! We’re also going to see Muse in concert in California. They are just beginning their US tour and videos are starting to appear on YouTube. It looks like it’s going to be awesome.

You all have probably heard more than enough of me complaining about the heat when so many of you are suffering through winter weather and getting hit by storm after storm. I hope the time marches quickly towards spring for you all, and without tornadoes or other weather-related problems. You all take good care of yourselves!

Posted in Panama | 4 Comments

Internet, Wind, Carnavales

It’s been one of those weeks with something going on every day. We took the cars for maintenance and minor repairs. Since he’s in San Pablo we may as well stop at Pricesmart on the way (our version of Costco). We’ve tried other mechanics but this guy treats us better than anyone, we’ve known him for 10+ years, so we’re staying with him.

Our internet (with Tigo, formerly CableOnda) started going out intermittently. Our internet has been quite reliable so we were starting to wonder if there were problems somewhere, but nobody in the neighborhood chat was saying anything about similar problems. Wednesday we had no internet whatsoever. I contacted them by WhatsApp on Thursday morning and they sent someone out that very afternoon. He said our signal was good, the modem was good, so it had to be the router. It’s really old so we figured he was right and we bought a new one. Good move. The internet was back on and much faster than before. But, that night it went out again. Back to WhatsApp in the morning, and they sent another guy out in the afternoon. Of course, right before he came the internet came back on but I still wanted things checked out. He determined that the problem was in the line coming into the house, so they scheduled someone to come out Saturday morning between 8 and 12. 8:00 on the dot my phone rang. They were in the neighborhood and needed directions to the house. They replaced all the cable from the pole to the modem, and we’ve had no problems ever since, except for a few minutes ago. Now the power is out.

But, we’ve been really happy to have the internet back. You don’t think about how much you use it until it’s not there. And, even more frustrating, my devices will connect with my phone but not do anything, so I was stuck doing everything on my little iPhone. I’m very thankful I decided to get a data plan on my phone though so I could use it when I’m out and about, and at least I had some connection through all these problems. And I was very thankful that Tigo was very pleasant to work with, and very fast sending someone out to help us get back online. We’ve been with them for 10+ years and this is the first time we’ve needed help, so I would say they have done very well by us.

About the wind… it’s summer here so we expect to get blown around by the trade winds but yesterday and today they have been crazy! People in the area are reporting 40, and even 50+ mph winds. Trees are down, and our remaining banana tree is definitely leaning. People who have been here for years are saying these are the strongest winds they have experienced.

And, it’s Carnavales time, a huge country wide celebration of parades, street parties, floats, colorful costumes, water trucks hosing down the crowds, and general mayhem and festivities. Most businesses are closed until Thursday, and travel around the country could be complicated. If you want to know more check this link,queen%20followed%20by%20outdoor%20dancing%20%28evening%20and%20night%29. We’re old folks so we don’t plan to participate but it’s fun to know what’s going on. Panamanians definitely love to celebrate and have good times. And, this is the first one since COVID so it’s really special and important! The most we’ve experienced so far is the loud music from the bar across the river. We heard it last night, and it started again about 9 this morning. We can hear it clearly but it’s far enough away that it doesn’t bother us. There aren’t Carnavales celebrations in Boquete so we’re not sure what to expect when we go up there to play this evening. Will it be quiet, or full of people avoiding the celebrations? Either way we’ll play the music and hope we don’t get blown into the street. ha!

The power can back on fairly quickly so it’s back inside to run through the rest of the songs for tonight. Hasta lluego.

Posted in Panama | 4 Comments


My new word of the day, garrapatas (ticks) 🙄 I know fleas and ticks are a problem here. Our dog was covered with fleas when we got her.(a bit of her story here Her fur is so thick that I had no luck with flea baths, so I ended up getting her a pill which worked. When I took her to be spayed (when she was still living on the street) they said she had tick fever, so I gave her antibiotics every day for a month. Neighbors have also had ticks and have mentioned treatments for tick fever.

Avionetta came to live with us in June, 2017. Once we got all her issues cleared up we have had almost no fleas and ticks. I brought back some of that medicine that you apply to the back of the neck and I think I’ve only used it once. She stays in our yard and doesn’t roam the neighborhood, and our only neighbors with a common boundary are in the house next door with two chihuahuas who don’t spend much time outdoors.

We had some really heavy rains at the end of the rainy season, and we lost part of the wall supporting the fence on the northeast side of the yard. Last week I discovered that Avionetta had figured out that she could go through an opening in the wall and make her way down into the woods. I have a feeling that she got the ticks down there. Joel discovered one on her back, and when we examined her closely we found dozens of the little devils, especially in her armpits behind her front legs. Of course I gave her a dose of the medicine, and we found some more ticks the next day. Today, four days later, we found maybe 5 ticks and they barely move, like they are half dead (which is good, hopefully an indication that the medicine is helping). Before, if you put a tick on the table it would immediately run off.

Researching how to remove ticks and then practicing the skill over and over, this was not in my plans this week. I am very thankful that she is a super good dog and cooperated fully with all our fussing. I am thankful that she is a super good dog in general and she has been a wonderful member of the family. And from now on I’m going to treat her monthly, routinely, so we don’t have any further problems!

in the living room

So, that’s some of the news of the week. Other than that, it’s definitely summer and day after day has been super windy. We have three tall banana trees. One was tipping over into another, so Joel cut those two down. Now we have one tall banana and various pups coming up. Bananas are cool but when they fruit, they make a ton of fruit and we’re forever cleaning off dead leaves because I don’t like the way they look. Maybe at this stage of life, less bananas is a good thing.

The power was out all morning. I’m not surprised in all this wind. This doesn’t happen very often and they always get it going again in a few hours. The water, however, seems to be out almost every day (thankfully it comes back at night). I’m very thankful that we have a tank. Outages seem to be common especially in summer when supplies are low because there is very little rain. I’m also thankful that the power and the water weren’t out at the same time because we need the pump to use the water in the tank. Living here is a lesson in not taking things for granted. Electricity and clean water are luxuries in much of the world.

Now it’s 11PM and the winds have finally calmed. It’s about 72 degrees, very light breeze, and a beautiful time to be outside on the terrace. Many people say David is way too hot. The afternoon sun is definitely intense but the nights are gorgeous! Hopefully next week will bring new words that are more fun than garapatas, but any new words I can learn are always useful. I hope you all have a good weekend free of garapatas, pulgas (fleas), and all other annoying pests!

Posted in Panama | 6 Comments

Panama Coffee

First, before I forget, thank you to whomever used my link ( to buy spots on a Panama Relocation Tour. I’m an affiliate and the payment came at the perfect time to pay for my website hosting. The PRT business has been around for many years and has a well deserved, excellent reputation. If you want to know more, read this post and all the comments

Today though, coffee is on my mind since my plant bloomed, and we just had a big fair in Boquete. Wonderful coffee is grown in the mountains right above us. The climate and growing conditions are good so there are many coffee farms here. A number of them also give coffee tours which are very interesting. The plants are beautiful with glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant flowers, or when the time is right, red berries that contain the coffee beans. I even have my own coffee plant! I don’t expect to be harvesting coffee but it’s interesting and very pretty.

Geisha coffee is also grown here. It is the most unique and expensive coffee in the world! This article here explains it much better than I can. The geisha plants are slow growing, don’t produce much, and are fussy about their growing conditions but the coffee they produce is unlike any other coffee.

Geisha coffee price set a record a couple years ago, $2560/pound! Can you imagine how you would feel if you grew and sold this coffee!

Here are a couple YouTubers I follow discussing Geisha coffee

Coffee is a big deal here in the Chiriqui highlands! They have a big fair every year to celebrate. This year’s fair just ended on Sunday and there were tons of visitors, loud music well into the night, and many happy people. And, of course, it’s a huge economic boost to the town. Our band played in Boquete on Sunday night. There were big busses from all over the country parked everywhere, lots of cars, many people on foot, and a wonderful, enthusiastic crowd at our gig so we had a blast.

We are into the tourist season now, so hopefully we’ll have more fun band nights ahead. When the holidays are over and it’s cold up north, people come down to enjoy the warm weather. Boquete is a tourist and expat destination so you’re likely to meet people from all over the world. We prefer to live at a lower, warmer elevation but we’re happy to be close enough to Boquete to enjoy times up there.

Posted in Panama | 7 Comments

Summer Flowers

it’s summer here with hot days, cooler nights, and minimal rain. You can see the change of season in the trees and plants. This mango tree looks like it’s covered with fur, but those are actually clusters of little mango flowers. You can see the clusters better on the tree in the second picture. A few trees are starting to have fruit, and by April and May there should be many varieties of mangoes ready to enjoy.

The bougainvillea are really beautiful in the summer. We’re already seeing some of them busting out with flowers. They come in a variety of colors, and these are just a couple I passed on my way home.

We also have cashews here. They are just beginning to flower, and with any luck cashew apples will follow, each with a cashew nut on the end. There has been some kind of sickness the last couple years so there have been no cashews. The trees are looking better so hopefully they are recovered. The flowers and good looking leaves look like a good sign.

There is a surprising amount and variety of citrus here. Oranges are plentiful and inexpensive. I bought 16 big ones from our veggie guy for $2, or you can buy bags of 50 smaller ones for I think, $6-8? I don’t buy them because it’s more than we can use. Grapefruit are really good right now too. Our chicken guy has a tree and too much fruit so he brings me a sack full when he comes. Our veggie guy usually has some for, if I remember, 6/$1. I never knew there was such a variety of lemons either. Our tree is loaded with green lemons with beige patches and orange insides. They have a lot of juice and I really like them. The neighbor behind has a tree of the little key limes. This tree is on a vacant lot in the neighborhood. The fruit looks like grapefruit but they are actually lemons with edible skin, and a flavor very much like the lemons we are used to buying in the USA.

I rode past this pretty spot the other day. That is Volcan Baru in the background, our volcano and highest spot in Panama. The vine climbing up the tree covered with purple flowers, I’ve seen a field nearby totally covered with these flowers. Maybe it will happen again this year.

Something I really love in summer is the guayacan trees. When they are in full bloom they are spectacular! They come in yellow, pink, and white. The yellow ones seem to be the most prevalent and are just starting to bloom now. In the first picture one is just starting to bloom behind a mango tree. The reddish color is new leaves.

Last but not least, a couple horses decided to wander the neighborhood.

So this is a bit of what we are seeing around here these days. Keep in mind that we are at sea level. The climate is different in the mountains so they tend to have different things growing and a bit more rain. Up there the flowers are even more spectacular. We live in such a beautiful country.

Posted in Panama | 10 Comments

It’s a New Year

What is it going to be? What is it going to bring?

Hopefully COVID is mostly in the rear-view mirror, though of course it’s still a concern along with flu and the other usual illnesses. Economic concerns are still very much a thing as the fed tries to control inflation, the housing market reels from interest rate changes, investments are shrinking, etc. etc. And these are concerns for people who actually have houses and investments. As prices continue to rise, just the basics of food and shelter get farther out of reach for many.

I know, there have always been problems and challenges and somehow, we get through them. But for me, now, I enjoy being farther away. There are many days I don’t even want to flip through the news headlines. Then there are other days when I realize that there is so much to be done, so much need, and I’m sitting here on my behind watching the bananas grow when I could be much more useful.

My head is in a weird place at the moment. I’m thrilled to see the beautiful new baby next door, a perfect little boy being welcomed into a family who loves him very much. I love calling his happy grandma abuela (grandma) and watching her big smile. The occasional baby cries remind me of this new life who is our future.

On the other hand, I’m really sad to learn that two Florida friends died on New Year’s Eve. The one I have known for decades lost a long and painful battle with cancer. His wife is a close friend and I hate to think how hard this has been and is now for her. I definitely didn’t feel in a celebratory mood this New Year’s Eve.

I must be getting to that age that you hear about, when you start losing friends. My friends from my New York days have all passed on. I’ve lost some of my Florida friends, and almost all of the others who are still here have had significant health challenges. Here in Panama it’s more of the same. Some expats have left the area, which is to be expected as needs and desires change. But, a number of others have died, including a couple young, strong Panamanian men which has left their families devastated. It’s a weird feeling to have lost so many friends and acquaintances. Am I next?

But, on the very bright side, I have gained three sisters and I’m working on getting to know a large extended family of husbands, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many grandkids. It’s been a dream for a long time, but the reality has exceeded all expectations as I have been welcomed with open arms and open hearts.

And, most important, both of us here are healthy. We don’t have the stamina and resilience we had in our younger years, but we are still able to do pretty much everything we wish. We’re healthy, we have wonderful family and friends, and we live in a place where we are really happy. There is difinitely a lot to celebrate as we go into this new year.

That’s enough deep thinking for one day! Going forward, we’re expecting just our usual lives, except maybe the weather. It’s dry season now but we have had a couple good rains in the last week, and it’s raining lightly right now. I don’t enjoy summer when everything gets brown and crispy so if it wants to rain now and then, this is fine with me. Rumors are that because of climate change, this could happen more often this summer.

It will be interesting to see what this year brings. “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near” (Roadhouse Blues, the Doors) As a nurse I definitely learned this lesson. Live today, do it now, pay attention to your people, don’t put things off for a better time because you just never know. As always, take care of yourselves and each other.

Posted in Panama | 12 Comments

Not Much

Not much is going on around here, which is a good thing. We read about terrible weather in the USA, travelers stranded everywhere, and some personal friends are having a very difficult holiday season. We count our blessings every day that there isn’t much going on here.

Volcan Baru is the highest point in Panama. I believe it’s considered an active volcano but thankfully, nothing has happened for 400+ years and there are no signs of trouble coming. I went out on my bike on Christmas eve and this was the view from down the street from our neighborhood.

I think I mentioned in the past that my avocado tree was flowering, but I didn’t think it made any fruit. I said that I am considering cutting it down if it doesn’t fruit this year. It must have been listening. My neighbor spotted this one solitary avocado high up in the tree! Maybe the flowers that are on the tree currently will result in more fruit in a few months. We will see.

Also, in the trees beside our house, I heard a laughing falcon. It seems like you can hear them calling to each other from miles away because they are so loud! I caught a picture of this one sitting on a branch just before he flew away. I also spotted a squirrel on a tree. Look for the black patch in the middle of the photo. Our squirrels are fairly large and black, though this one seems to have a lighter patch on his shoulders. When I first arrived, I bought them some peanuts which were totally ignored. These squirrels eat any fruit they can find. The birds are similar and ignored the birdseed I bought them. But give them papayas and other fruit and you’ll have many very happy birds.

It’s a dog’s life. ha! She used to be a street dog, but I think she prefers to being a family dog. When I go to my room to practice my bass, she’s either behind the door like this or in the closet.

Last, but definitely not least, I’ve never seen this, baby clothes drying on the other side of our fence! My neighbor has been really really excited to become a grandmother. Yesterday morning, as soon as I emerged from the house, she called me over to tell me the baby arrived in the early morning and to show me pictures of him on her phone. The excitement is contagious! I’ve been anxiously waiting for news also. It won’t be long before we’ll hear a baby in the house, and later on there will be a little boy running around. What a blessing for a baby to arrive in a family where he will be so loved and well cared for.

So, that’s the life of a couple old, boring gringos in Panama in the summer. I hope you all are doing ok out there and are having a good holiday season, as much as possible in whatever circumstances you find yourselves in. Take care of yourselves and each other!

Posted in Panama | 6 Comments

Christmas Festivities in Boquete

The band has a standing date to play every Sunday evening at the Boquete Brewing Company. When we arrived last Sunday, we didn’t realize there was a Christmas parade planned for that evening. We were told to go ahead and play. The 6pm (also our start time) parade wasn’t expected to start on time and sure enough, we played for over an hour before the first of the parade passed by.

The brewery is on the main street, and we play on the terrace. My spot is by the outside railing next to the street, so it was a perfect place to watch the parade. I took some videos and planned to stich them together, but you can no longer do that on YouTube. I downloaded iMovie where I managed to make that happen, but I didn’t have enough space to save it. So, I deleted videos thinking I could easily download them again from YouTube. You need a paid subscription to do that… 🙄 So long story short I have these clips to share and if you want to see more, the other clips are on my YouTube channel.

Find your headphones and turn up your sound if you want anything close to the full effect. Those bass drums are loud, and they drum with much enthusiasm. It was really fun to see the whole parade. There were floats, lights, music, bubbles, candy being tossed into the crowd, and lots of people out enjoying the evening.

Then, after the parade was finished, we went back to playing. There were still many people in the street, the brewery was full, people were in a party mood, and it was a fantastic evening. You can hear people singing along and cheering between songs. I wish I had a different video setup so you could see the crowd but since I’m busy playing, an iPad on a stand next to me is about as fancy as it gets. This is our second set after the parade. If you want to hear more, there are more videos on my channel.

Sometimes you don’t know when a really good time is right around the corner! Christmas in general is fun here. It’s warm summer weather without rain, so people are free to go out in the evenings without getting wet. There are lots of beautiful light displays, and shopping is a big thing so don’t go to the stores in December if you can avoid it. The height of the celebration is Christmas eve. People gather for parties, music, happiness, and lots and lots of fireworks climaxing at midnight. Then, people go indoors for a dinner of traditional food, presents, and greetings by phone for anyone not present. Christmas day is quiet because everyone is recovering from all the partying the night before. New Years is very much the same with festivities climaxing at midnight.

Since Christmas and New Years fall on Sunday this year, the brewery is closed and we are on break. We’ll relax and do things at home, and there’s always a list of new songs we want to learn.

If you are local, there is a big benefit event coming up on Saturday, January 7th. Come out and enjoy music, food, friends, and help support the foundation that cares for needy dogs and cats in the area. (we are the opening band, and start at 2pm)

Then, starting Sunday January 8th we’ll be back to our usual Sunday evening gigs.

Happy Holidays, and good luck to you all in the USA. Your weather predictions sound really bad. Stay warm and safe!!

Posted in Panama | 11 Comments

Family Visits in the USA

We were gone for a while visiting family and it was wonderful! I feel so fortunate that I can go back 3-4 times a year and with video chats between visits, we stay in close touch. I’ve had many ask if my family visits here. They work full time, the kids are young, and it’s a two day trip each way so it’s much more sensible for us to travel to them. And, we also get a reality check about life in the US.

Connections never seem to work out so there is usually a night in Panama City on either end. The Riande is familiar and comfortable with nice people, beautiful grounds, on site restaurant, and comfortable rooms so we haven’t been motivated to explore other options. Well… we used to stay in the Hotel Express Inn near the airport but no more of that. At my age I’ll spend a bit more money to be comfortable.

First stop was Seattle. The granddaughters change so much in even a few months, and it’s exciting to see them grow and learn and do new things. I feel like that after every visit I come home saying the was the best visit yet. It was cold so we didn’t go out as much as some other visits, but we did get out of the house a few times. (Everyone thought “the Panamanians” were pretty funny the way we bundled up). The fall colors were really beautiful as you can see from the picture out their back door and another in front of a neighbor’s house. We narrowly escaped the snow that came a few days later, enough to shut down school one day.

On Thanksgiving Day we all flew down to Santa Rosa to see my other daughter. It was SO awesome to see everyone together! This was the first time since before COVID, but the kids jumped right in to having fun like they’d never been apart. We all played in the house, in the playgrounds in the park across the street, and in the yard. The California in-laws had us all for dinner at their house and also visited my daughter’s house several times. It was like a big extended weekend of playtime for all of us! I looked at those four beautiful children, all of my grandchildren together and about melted into a puddle. We were too busy playing to take many more pictures on the rest of the trip.

We stayed in CA for a few more days and then, it was off to Tulsa. My family has grown considerably since finding my sisters! I’m still a bit overwhelmed by the kindness and love they have shown me. Joel was with me this time so they all got to meet each other. And, my cousin Kim also came for a few days! I’ve known her the longest and we have talked quite a bit, so it was awesome to finally meet in person.

My objective this time was to learn about all my nieces and nephews. My oldest sister has 3 sons, two married with kids, the third just finishing college. My middle sister has 3 sons also, all married with kids. And my youngest sister has a son and a daughter, and I got to meet both of them, his wife, and her three grandkids which was awesome. Three sisters, eight nieces and nephews, and many grandkids, yes my family has definitely become considerable larger! We haven’t even started to learn about the grandkids, or the spouses, or other relatives who may be out there. But little by little I’ll learn more on each visit, and hopefully meet more of my extended family. Of course, the best was time with my mother, sisters, and my cousin! Now that we have known each other for a while, we are more comfortable and I’d enjoy their company even if we weren’t related. It’s still somewhat overwhelming though, all these people I’m connected with. I’ve never had nieces and nephews until my sister’s grandson was born a few months ago, and I’ve never had cousins.

We were sure tired when we got back! We were up at 4:30 AM both Tuesday and Wednesday to make our flights, and we ran all over the Panama City airport. The new terminal is open so now there is Terminal 1, and Terminal 2 with baggage claim and immigration in each. We landed in Terminal 1 so we started there, but the sign at the top of the stairs going to baggage claim and immigration said no baggage there. It’s all in Terminal 2. So, we walk all the way over there to find guy at the top of the stairs who said that was only for Copa flights (we arrived on United). He scanned our baggage tags and located them back in Terminal 1. Sure enough, at the bottom of the stairs was a sign saying Copa baggage was in Terminal 2. So, do not believe the sign at the top of the stairs. 🙄

But anyhow, we got our luggage, got on the Riande van and settled in at the hotel for another nice evening. The early mornings though, the stress of travel, the running around, and I’m not good at sleeping on planes where you are packed in like sardines, yeah we were dead tired and happy we didn’t have to do anything for a few days at home.

We left in the rainy season. We were getting so much rain that it hard to do anything at all outside and the yard was becoming terribly overgrown. We returned in the dry season, which I was told arrived abruptly two days before. Days were totally dry, sunny, and breezy with maybe some cloud cover but not a drop of rain. It did allow me to start tackling the yard though. The band was also getting back to work on our usually Sunday evening gig, and we were both super happy to find we hadn’t forgotten how to play. Usually I notice that after a break, I come back refreshed and better than before. I hadn’t even forgotten how to play on my new 5-string bass. It’s now Monday and last night went very well, and it was a pleasure to load in and out in dry weather.

It always feels strange to spend time in one world, and then after some travel time land in a different world. The USA had all the usual differences that I notice. It’s expensive, it’s organized and manicured, people keep their distance and don’t greet others. There are tons of stores, restaurants, and endless stuff to buy. It’s convenient to know where to buy things in the well-stocked, predictable stores but good heavens, there’s just so many stores and so much stuff! It’s cold and thermal underwear is a great goodness. Between the low humidity outside and heating in the house, even with lotion and lip balm, I felt like I had alligator skin by the time we got back. But all that fades in importance when I can be with my people!

Now we are back to our usual life in Panama minus the rain. It’s now Wednesday. You wouldn’t think it takes a week to write a blog post. I don’t know what happens but I keep busy and the days fly by. I have plenty of things to keep me occupied and life now is lived at a much slower pace than it was when I was working, so it’s pretty darn nice.

Posted in Panama | 2 Comments