Miss Panama 2018

For the first time an indigenous woman, Rosa Montezuma, has been chosen to represent Panama in the Miss Universe competition. This is significant because she grew up in the Comarca (indigenous territory) and life there is really tough, especially for girls and women.

A welcome home by her people after winning the crown.

Check out this Wikipedia article especially the second half that talks about daily life in the Comarca. They live by subsistence farming without running water or electricity, or many other things we consider necessities. Poverty and malnutrition are very real problems. Many places aren’t accessible for parts of the year, and transportation is by foot or horse. This makes access to health care and education almost impossible for many. They speak their native languages and many of the men and even more of the women don’t speak Spanish. Rosa, however, against these great odds went to school, then high school, and then to Panama City for a university education.

Read more about her story in her own words HERE.

Rosa Montezuma

When you grow up in a culture, in a way of life and that’s all you have experienced it’s hard to imagine becoming something different, and even harder to actually do it. This young woman deserves a whole lot of credit, as does her family who encouraged her. She wants to be an inspiration to others, especially the women and girls, that you can rise above your circumstances and change your life.

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Fun in the Neighborhood

Tuesday morning, last week, we woke up to this –

That is our front gate

They are putting in sewer lines. Word is, this is part of a 2-3 year project to put sewer in the entire city,  build a treatment plant, and then hook up all the houses. I was also told that many of the power lines will also be put underground to make the city look nicer.

It’s been an interesting and fun week talking with the guys, watching them work, and watching their progress. I feel like we have been treated very well. People have been around twice to talk with residents and hand out information. Another guy came around after work started to answer any questions and give us the phone number to call for any problems or questions. There is a sign put out every night with all the pertinent and emergency phone numbers. At the end of the day the street is leveled out and smoothed so everyone can get in and out with their cars.

So, day 1, they did the section in front of our house.

They were very particular about the work. The bottom of the trench was perfectly flat and smooth, strings were run, things that looked like survey equipment were brought out, and only then did they put the pipe in the hole. They covered the dirt with plastic until they were ready to put it back in, and when they were done the dirt was put back and the road carefully smoothed over. They guy with the big backhoe machine is a real artist! It’s like the machine is an extension of his hands and it’s very cool to watch.

Day 2, Wednesday. They started on the next section of road, and dug side trenches to connect house hookups to the pipe laid yesterday.

The workers called me over to explain the hookup for our house and show me the pipe that was being connected. They left it with the capped off pipe at ground level, easy to find and available for later. I also found out that the cement disk is the bottom of a manhole that will be in front of our house.

They again left the street flat and smooth except for the man hole. That had an orange fence around it, a sign and warning cone, and another sign farther up the street.

Work continued in a similar fashion for the rest of the week, digging for the next section of pipe, and for the connections to the houses. The man hole, however turned out to be quite a thing!

Day 3, Thursday, work continues on the base of the man hole.

Day 4, Friday, work continues on the manhole. But, now there is banging in the hole all morning as they chip away at the cement. By now I’ve had a couple really nice conversations with the head engineer so we know each other. He said they had the wrong size main part. It was meant for the man hole at the end of the street. This one is smaller so they are having to make the base smaller. To further complicate things, this crew hasn’t done this before so they are learning as they go.

Day 5, Saturday. Yes, a 6 day work week is quite normal here. And, this is heavy work in the hot sun or whatever Mother Nature wants to give them.

The saga of the man hole continues, and does the chipping away.

Those poor guys! I don’t know how many times they lifted that thing in and out of the hole. Hopefully it doesn’t go like this again because there are a lot more man hole locations marked on the streets in just our neighborhood alone.

This is probably enough of the story for the moment, and it was the end of the week for them. They again left the orange fence around the man hole and put up the signs and warnings, so it must not be ready to cover yet.

More later….

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Terrible Business Practices

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, not sure if I want to post it. I try to keep complaining and negativity to a minimum but if this helps any of you avoid a bad situation, I’ll be glad I shared it.

There are reasons to avoid shopping at certain places, reasons to avoid supporting certain businesses. Walmart was at the forefront of this article. I have heard their employees aren’t paid well, and neither are their suppliers which allows them to keep prices low enough to squeeze out local businesses, and keeps their employees and suppliers barely surviving. But this?! I read this article a few days ago and I’m still angry.

I am reposting the article from the New York Times in its entirety here. Be very careful where and how you shop, and don’t use those self checkout lines! I don’t know how this is allowed to go on except the victims don’t tend to have the money to hire lawyers and fight back, and they feel powerless against a business that feels big enough to crush them.

They’re Falsely Accused of Shoplifting, but Retailers Demand Penalties

Walmart and other companies are using aggressive legal tactics to get the money back, demanding payments even when people haven’t been convicted of wrongdoing.

by Michael Corkery

MOBILE, Ala. — Crystal Thompson was at home watching the Rose Bowl parade when a county sheriff came to arrest her for shoplifting from the local Walmart.

Ms. Thompson, 43, was baffled and scared. An agoraphobic, she had not shopped at a Walmart in more than a year. She was taken to a Mobile jail, searched, held in a small room and required to remove her false teeth, something she didn’t even do in front of her husband.

Four days after she returned home, the letters from Walmart’s lawyer started to arrive. The lawyer demanded that Ms. Thompson pay the company $200 or face a possible lawsuit. She received three letters over two months in early 2016.

Shoplifting is an intractable problem for retailers, costing stores more than $17 billion a year, according to an industry estimate. To get the money back, many companies employ aggressive legal tactics and take advantage of loosely written state laws, pushing for restitution even when people have not been convicted of wrongdoing.

Many of the laws were established so retailers could pursue shoplifters without clogging up the courts. Retailers, though, often move on both fronts, pressing criminal charges against suspects, while demanding that they pay up before cases are resolved.

In many states, retailers do not have to return the money they collect if the cases are ultimately dismissed or the people are cleared. A Walmart executive, in a court deposition, acknowledged that the company did not follow up to check on whether people it sought money from had been convicted of shoplifting.

A letter sent to Ms. Thompson by the Palmer Reifler law firm demanding payment. She received three letters over two months.

Walmart and other companies have created well-oiled operations, hiring law firms to send tens of thousands of letters a year. Walmart set a collection goal of about $6 million in 2016 for one of its go-to firms, Palmer Reifler & Associates, according to a court paper filed as part of a lawsuit Ms. Thompson brought against the retailer. The firm also pointed out to Walmart that minors tended to pay off more frequently, the filing said.

“It is my word against this company,” said Ms. Thompson, whose criminal case was dismissed after no one from Walmart appeared at a hearing to testify against her. “I’m nobody special. I didn’t feel like I had a prayer.”

Walmart declined to comment on individual cases, citing continuing litigation.

“While there are multiple steps that our associates follow before initiating a civil claim against a customer, people can make mistakes,” the company said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry when that happens. We continually evaluate the effectiveness and benefit of our programs.”

Starting decades ago, the retail industry lobbied state legislatures for legal recourse to pursue shoplifters with fines. Retailers argued that the penalties would go a long way toward deterring future theft, and that rampant shoplifting ate into already thin profit margins, potentially raising prices for consumers.

In some states, companies have been able to collect more than the value of the allegedly stolen items, up to $1,000 in some instances. Despite numerous lawsuits against retailers and news reports about collection tactics, the laws have remained largely intact.

Maryland is one of the few states to revise its shoplifting statutes. In 2016, the state began requiring retailers to report the number of collection letters they send. To date, no retailer has complied with the new requirements, according to state records.

“The most powerful company in the world called me a thief and threatened to sue me,” Yatarra McQueen of Montgomery, Ala., said in a court document. “I was terrified.” The criminal shoplifting case against her was dismissed.
Credit William Widmer for The New York Times

In Illinois, a 2015 proposal to reduce the penalties that retailers can demand from shoplifting suspects died in the legislature. One of the bill’s sponsors said an industry lobbyist had warned him that the issue was a “third rail” among retailers with deep political influence in the state.

“There is no evidence that these laws have decreased shoplifting or decriminalized petty crime at all,” said Ryan Sullivan, an assistant professor at the Nebraska College of Law who studies the impact of shoplifting laws.

Yatarra McQueen got ensnared in the system after she exchanged an inflatable mattress for a grill at a Walmart in Montgomery, Ala.

Store employees suspected that she had stolen the mattress. But they let her make the exchange and leave the store.

A few days later, Ms. McQueen found an arrest warrant in her mailbox. She drove to a detention center, where she was searched and made to wear a blue jump suit.

At the same time, Walmart forwarded her name to Palmer Reifler. The firm sent her two letters demanding that she pay $200 or face a potential lawsuit on top of the criminal charge, according to a suit she later filed against Walmart. Ms. McQueen said she was scared of being sued, but she did not have the money to pay.


A monthly log of suspected shoplifting from the Walmart in Semmes, Ala. 

“The most powerful company in the world called me a thief,” Ms. McQueen said in a court document. “I was terrified.”

No one from Walmart showed up at her criminal trial, and the case was dismissed. While she was awaiting trial, Ms. McQueen said, her temporary nursing license was put on hold for nearly six months.

“This is an unpopular constituency,” said Christian Schreiber, a lawyer who filed a lawsuit in California state court against Home Depot over the practice. The suit resulted in a settlement for about 3,500 people who received demand letters from Palmer Reifler. “These are people accused of theft, so there is not a big interest in their rights.”

In Burlington, N.C., Anna Marie Martin said two police officers “threw” her on a couch, handcuffed her and took her to jail, according to a lawsuit she filed against Walmart. Her alleged crime: stealing a Bryan Adams CD and two others, totaling $25.62, then hitting a car in the Walmart parking lot and driving away.

Palmer Reifler sent her two letters demanding that she pay $150 within 20 days. “You may be held civilly liable” for as much as $1,000, the letters said.

Both letters were sent before the authorities determined that Ms. Martin had been “mistakenly charged” and dropped the criminal case, according to her suit. A Walmart employee had told the police that she was “80 percent sure” that Ms. Martin was the thief.

Lesleigh Nurse with her husband, Ed, in Semmes. She was was accused of stealing groceries from a self-checkout line while she shopped with her husband and two children at a Walmart. Her criminal case was eventually dismissed, but “I can’t erase what people think of me in the back of their mind,” Ms. Nurse said.
Credit  William Widmer for The New York Times

Ms. Martin recently settled her suit with Walmart for an undisclosed sum.

For many, a mere charge of shoplifting can do damage.

Lesleigh Nurse was accused of stealing groceries from a self-checkout line at a Walmart outside Mobile while she shopped with her husband and two children. She said that Walmart refused to show her video surveillance footage of the alleged crime. In the weeks after her arrest, Ms. Nurse said she got at least two letters from Palmer Reifler demanding $200, but she was advised by her lawyer not to pay.

Ms. Nurse appeared in court three times. No witnesses from Walmart ever showed up, she said, and her case was eventually dismissed. The letters stopped coming to Ms. Nurse once her case was dropped.

But Ms. Nurse has still had to repair her reputation. The day after she reported to jail, an internet police blotter posted her mug shot on a popular Facebook feed. Her husband said he had to pay more than $100 to the site’s operator to take down her photo.

“I can’t erase what people think of me in the back of their mind,’’ she said in an interview.

In a deposition this year in Ms. Thompson’s civil case, a senior Walmart manager at the time, said Walmart did not audit whether the people who received the demand letters had committed a crime.

He said such due diligence was the responsibility of Walmart’s outside law firms, which had “expertise” in the area.

Video footage of Ms. Thompson’s daughters at the Walmart in Semmes, showing their attempts to scan groceries in the self-checkout area.

“What investigations do you expect the law firms to conduct to determine whether these allegations are true?” Ms. Thompson’s lawyer David McDonald asked the executive in a deposition.

The executive replied: “We do not get involved in their processes because they are an independent contractor.”

In Alabama, Palmer Reifler hired a lawyer who had not practiced law in 27 years to sign letters sent to shoplifting suspects. The lawyer said he was employed part time at a funeral home while also working for Palmer Reifler. In a deposition, he said he was typically paid a retainer of $200 a month to sign collection letters.

The law firm did not return calls seeking comment.

In Ms. Thompson’s suit, a Walmart employee acknowledged in a deposition that he mistakenly accused her of shoplifting in December 2015.

He said it had appeared that one of Ms. Thompson’s daughters failed to scan about $70 worth of groceries at the self-checkout line.

The employee followed Ms. Thompson’s daughter out to the parking lot and wrote down the license plate of her car, which was registered to her mother. Based in part on the license plate, Walmart sought a criminal complaint against Ms. Thompson.

Mr. McDonald said that if Ms. Thompson’s daughter took the groceries without scanning them properly, it was by mistake. Video surveillance, reviewed by The New York Times, shows her daughter trying to scan and rescan groceries at the checkout machine for about 17 minutes.

Walmart has not filed shoplifting charges against Ms. Thompson’s daughter.

“They are playing games with people’s future,” Ms. Thompson said.

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Special on Panama Relocation Tours

Many people have found a Panama Relocation Tour a good option for exploring Panama. I wrote about them a few months ago HERE. I recently got an email from them about some special rates for December. They are offering a nice 10% discount, but if you are thinking of doing a tour you need to sign up asap. The rate is good until September 15th or until the tour sells out. The tours before December are already sold out which tells you they are quite popular.

Use this link HERE to find more information on their website. I’m an affiliate so if you use my link it helps support my blogging efforts (but doesn’t affect your cost at all). Thanks!

I thought I’d pass this info along to all you good folks just in case 🙂  Just sign up normally and the discount will be automatically applied to your tour.

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Learning English

Many of us know the challenges of learning another language. For me, it’s Spanish because I live in a Spanish speaking country. But, many people here have learned, or are in the process of learning English. The country as a whole wants to be bilingual, I imagine because of all the international business here. English is required in school, and even my special ed teacher friend a year from retirement was required to take a 6 week English class.

English is difficult! There are so many thing that make no sense. Read this sentence out loud with all then”ough” words.  Though I coughed roughly and hiccoughed throughout the lecture, I still thought I could plough through the rest of it. Google “English makes no sense” and you’ll find many more examples of things that must be really hard for an English student.

This video which starts with the sentence example above made me laugh out loud!

I’m so glad English is my native language! Spanish, which does make sense, has been challenging enough but it’s been so worth it. My life here is richer and more interesting, and my most cherished friends here are Panamanian. They say learning a language is good for your brain too, so maybe I’ve decreased my chances of getting CRS (can’t remember sh…). 😁

On other subjects, yes we had an earthquake last night and some after shocks since. All is well and everyone is fine. I heard it took down some utility poles in Costa Rica and Puerta Jiminez was without power for a while, and that was the worst of it. We were in the car on the way to a gig and didn’t feel anything. The gig was amazing. We played for four hours to dancing gringos and enthusiastic Panamanians! I still don’t have my feet quite back on the ground.

I’ll leave you all with a photo of a beautiful little gold bug that visited me one day.

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What is Going on in Chiriqui?

We live in David which is in Chiriqui province. I think Chiriqui is the most beautiful province but I’m sure I have bias because I’m so happy living here.

Chiriqui is in the southwestern part of Panama and borders Costa Rica to the west. We have Volcan Baru, an active (but thankfully sleeping) volcano and the highest point in the country, and we also have some beautiful and barely used beaches. Here is my friend Eduardo at Las Lajas where he appears to have the entire beach almost to himself, which is not unusual.

Panama is a relatively small country but even just in Chiriqui there are a lot of choices from mountain living at whatever elevation works for you (cool vs warm), to sand beaches or tropical islands. There is the bustling city of David, numerous smaller towns, or very rural living where you can barely see a neighbor.

David is the second biggest city and it is exploding with development. A few other places in Chiriqui in no particular order – Puerto Armuelles on the coast near the Costa Rica border, La Concepcion, a traditional feeling town serving many of the needs of the area farmers, Volcan on the west side of Baru, on the way to Cerro Punta and the highlands where most the the produce is grown for the whole country. On the east side of Baru is Boquete, which prompted this post.

Boquete is one of the best known places in the country. It has been heavily promoted by International Living and other publications, and is known for tourist activities and the large expat population. Lately though, the number of tourists and expats has been dropping. Unfortunately there have been a lot of problems with water, electricity, and the streets have been torn up for about two years. They are putting in water and sewer systems but work starts and stops, torn up streets aren’t repaired, and getting around town is a daily headache for the residents. It’s really too bad because the country wants to encourage tourists but this is only driving them away, and I have heard about many businesses that have folded and expats who have moved away. I have heard about these problems from a number of sources and experienced them myself, but the silver lining at the moment – it’s a buyers and renters market. I’m sure things will be put right eventually, so if you want to get a place and wait it out you can probably find a really good deal. And, there still is the amazing beauty of the area and a multitude of expat activities you can join like theater, photography group, hiking group, motorcycle riders, yoga, painting classes, bridge, to name just a few, and there are many restaurants and quite a few venues with live music.

That’s Boquete below

So, don’t give up on Boquete, and definitely remember that there is a lot more to Chiriqui than Boquete! Pretty much anything you want can be found here except snow and hurricanes but who wants those? 😀

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House for Sale in David

There is a very nice house for sale not far from ours. It’s large, 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, and beautifully maintained. It has had many upgrades and the workmanship is excellent. The owner is selling because she is widowed and would like something smaller now and without all the memories.

The house is on the north edge of David and only minutes from El Torrenal shopping area to the south, and Via Boquete to the west. The neighbors are nice, there is no through traffic so it’s quiet, and there are wooded areas and a river nearby so it’s comfortable with a nice breeze. If you don’t want to drive, there is a bus that comes through the neighborhood every hour. Let me take you on a small picture tour of the property.

The house is on a corner lot, and has a beautiful yard with many flowers in front, on the side, and in the back. My favorite part of the house is the terrace where you can relax and enjoy the flowers.

When you come into the house, the hallway to the left leads you to three of the bedrooms.

The master bedroom has a very large closet and comfortable bathroom. I’m glad they are separated because in this hot, humid climate you don’t want humidity from the shower in your clothes. There is a ceiling fan in the closet and the circulating air will keep mold from growing.

If you go to the right from the entrance, first you will see a light, spacious living room and very nice kitchen.

The kitchen is beautifully done with pull out racks in the cabinets for easy storage. It’s light and attractive, and a nice size so everything is within easy reach without feeling cramped. The owner plans to take the refrigerator and microwave but everything else stays.

The house comes with air conditioning, hot water, an alarm system, and ceiling fans throughout. The furniture is not included but the owner is willing to arrange a separate sale of furniture if needed.

Asking price is $240,000. If you want to know more, contact the owner by email – Mirta  mirrob47@gmail.com  She is a lovely lady who speaks Spanish, English, German, French, and Italian. If you want a high quality house and this is in your price range, I recommend it for the location and neighborhood, as well as the light, spacious beauty of the house. Of course photos cannot do the house justice so if you are seriously interested contact Mirta to see it in person.

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What is Weird?

It’s natural that when you move to a different country, there will be things that seem weird. Maybe the language isn’t quite what you learned in your textbook, or the food has unfamiliar ingredients. There are birds and bugs you never saw before, and the locals  go about doing things in ways that make no sense.

But, now that I’ve been here almost six years, I’m find things more and more weird when I go back to the US. I’ve become accustomed to Panama and I’ve never lived in Seattle or northern California, the places I visit now to see family.

There are bike lanes everywhere, clearly marked. There are traffic lights everywhere too, and buttons to push to trigger the pedestrian crossing signals. If there are no signals and you look like you want to cross, any car that comes along will come to a complete stop. That always startles me! I wouldn’t mind bike lanes here, but drivers are generally considerate so riding with traffic and crossing streets on foot works out fine. I think we could use a lot more traffic lights though.

I also notice how neat and orderly everything is. It must look like a mess here in comparison. We have weeds by the road, potholes, dogs and chickens running loose, and sometimes larger animals. I’ve written about this not too long ago. It’s very much a “don’t sweat the small stuff “ feeling which may not look as pretty but I find easier to live with.

I play bass and often practice with YouTube videos. In the US there is an ad before almost every video. Sometimes you have to wait for the “skip this ad” thing to come up, or sometimes the ad is short and you just wait it out. I can never tell which it is without glasses, so I’m always missing a start of the song because I’m pulling off my glasses. *sigh* When you spend hours playing and replaying videos it adds up.

There are hundreds of channels on the TV, but very little that’s interesting to watch. And the ads, they are relentless! There are so many for prescription medications. Do people go to their doctors “I want that from the TV!” It must happen or they wouldn’t keep running the ads. I can’t compare US TV to Panama though because we don’t have ours hooked up here.

Shopping still feels easier in the US. I feel like I have everything I need here, but sometimes you have to hunt and things are found in places you wouldn’t expect. In the US every Safeway is pretty much the same, and every Target, Walmart, and CVS, and displays are always attractive and orderly. I notice it especially in the produce department. Everything looks perfect and there are little thunderstorms with sprayers to keep the produce moist. There is a huge variety of choices! Here we have carrots, and sometimes they are funny shaped or have other oddities even though they taste great. In the US, there are carrots, all perfect in bags, or individually, or would you like the little bitty ones for snacks, or a variety of orange, white, and purple ones, full size or snack size, organic or not? Would you like cow milk, skim, low fat, whole, or soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, pea milk? I’m not kidding, there was pea milk! I always see new products I’ve never known about before.

There is also on line shopping. You can buy anything you can imagine and in a couple days it will be at your door. Or, you can even get Amazon items hand delivered in a few hours. Here in Panama, shipping costs and takes time. It really makes you think before you order something which may not be such a bad thing.

Speaking of shopping, I did quite a bit for things to bring back, and for family dinners and odds and ends. I used a credit card and never once was I asked for a signature or ID. Here we are always asked to sign, and we often need to show ID. It felt weird in the US, like I could be anybody with anyone’s credit card and go shopping all day long.

I’m still always bothered by the sense of isolation though. I went walking most days and the only people who talked with me or even made eye contact were the homeless people. (There are a lot of homeless, a subject for another day). If I greeted someone the reaction usually told me that they thought I was strange and intrusive.  Unfortunately I think the political climate in the US now is only making this worse and we are less inclined to talk to “strangers”, especially if they look different from us.

And planes…. there always seem to be planes in the sky. Here in Chiriqui  a contrail is so unusual that one sparked a huge discussion on Facebook!

Either place though, life goes on and things get done. I just find it interesting to think back on what caught my attention this time.

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Back in Panama

I returned to Panama last week after an extended visit to the US. I’ve had thoughts swirling around in my head but haven’t been motivated enough to put anything into words. I also have a slew of photos which I may get around to sharing. Some days you are excited about doing things, and other days not so much. So it goes with the blog lately.

I’m glad to be home! It’s always good to be home, especially when home is where we are so happy. It was a good visit though. I wrote a bit about it in my last post, especially being able to be there with my family when the new baby girl arrived. I left Seattle feeling good. They are experienced parents now and had everything well under control. I spent a week in California with my other daughter and had a great time with the other grandkids. They are more and more fun as they grow and we can do more things together.

I also got my eye checked! (remember https://blog.thepanamaadventure.com/2018/05/19/the-misbehaving-eye/?) My son-in-law works for a group of highly respected eye doctors, and since he counts me as family he brought me in the day I arrived for some tests. It turns out I have a very unusual condition. Your eye is filled with a gel like substance that decreases in volume as you age, and pulls away from the retina in the back of the eye (normal and harmless). In my case though, one bit got stuck to the retina and as it tried to pull away, it pulled on the retina close to the macula (the center part responsible for sharp center vision) kind of like pulling a thread in fabric. This caused the macula to become distorted, swollen, and inflamed. Since my condition has been stable for weeks, we are just going to let it be and see what happens. The thread pulling on the retina may come loose, or stay the same, but if there are any additional symptoms or decrease in vision I will see a retina specialist in Panama City. The California office has already identified them and sent records. While in California though, I started to see something like hair or spider webs in my eye, and I think my vision is slowly starting to improve. I have a feeling the thread came loose and my macula is starting to heal itself. I have less distortion, and don’t reach for my glasses quite as quickly when trying to see something close.

I’m sure that’s way more than you ever wanted to know about my eye situation! 😀 If you really want more info, check this link. https://maculacenter.com/eye-disease/vitreomacular-traction/  I feel comfortable with the wait and see approach, and I can easily check my vision on the lines of the drop ceiling when I wake up in the morning. I am so very very thankful for my son-in-law and the eye doctor who saw me! They usually have a 6 month wait to get in, and I don’t even want to think what that all would have cost.

And I thought I had nothing to say… ha! I have a bit more but I think this is enough for one post. Hasta pronto (until soon)

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Recent News and Catching Up

I’m in the US and the days have been flying by. The main purpose of this trip was to be here for my daughter who was expecting her second child.

We succeeded in getting me here before the baby, but my daughter looked like she should have had the baby already so she wouldn’t burst! But, she didn’t burst, and day after day went by until waiting seemed like normal life and maybe the baby would never come. But then, in the middle of the night her husband woke me to tell me her water broke! The baby was born that afternoon.

Mom is recovering and doing well, dad is there every step of the way, and big sister is taking the whole situation in stride very well. The baby is super chill and rarely cries, and mom and dad have actually been getting some sleep, not a lot but for having a newborn it’s going well.

This has been a really special time for me. For various reasons I was not there when my other grandchildren were born, but this time I have been here for the whole thing including the exciting “time to go to the hospital” moment, and the special coming home with the new baby time. While they were gone it was just my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and I. We had many days to get to know each other but it’s different when it’s just the two of you. She was great and we had a wonderful time, and this was also very special to me.

I have had a lot of thoughts going around in my head, but writing them down has been a different matter. Family time is precious. Downtime has been spent walking/exercising to the shopping center and practicing some bass. The rest of the time is spent helping out, playing, and just chillin together.

The weather has been just gorgeous! Yesterday a small rainstorm came through and afterward my daughter spotted the rainbow that is in the header photo. It’s been nice for playing outside or just hanging out in the deck.

Oh, and baby was 8 pounds 14 ounces and her name is Penelope (Penny) Jane. It will be interesting to get to know her as she grows. Now she is mostly just a sleeping little angel.


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