23 December 2011

A Time to Reflect

Well, another year is almost done and I am still happily living in my personal paradise in Panama. It has been almost 5 years since I first came to visit the Volcan area in western Panama, near Costa Rica. The picture above, with text and drawings, shows my new, giant wire antenna for ham radio. It allows me to talk more easily to friends in Japan, Europe and Australia - New Zealand than before.

In the past five years I have met many wonderful people (and a few stinkers, just like anywhere else). I have lived in a rented house in the city and walked, or taken a bus or taxi everywhere that I wanted or needed to go. I have lived in the city and driven almost everywhere, and now I live in the country about 3.5 miles from Volcan. I have a pickup but there is also bus and taxi service out here. Everything, including building my house for several months has been a positive experience.

There have been challenges and disappointments, however probably less so than in the U.S. I am quite happy talking on amateur (ham) radio almost every day and I am still doing some photography in the mountains, valleys, and beaches of Panama.

In early September I rode the bus to Panama City to visit with friends who were visiting from Florida. We had a good dinner and a great visit before I came home the following day.

Sadly, I lost one of my 3 dogs in early November (see article below). The other 2 dogs are great company and do a great job of protecting the place. They also take me for a walk 3 times a day.

I enjoyed Thanksgiving with a small group of Gringo friends in Volcan and will join them again for Christmas dinner. In January I will have a party at my house for 25 to 40 Gringo and local friends to celebrate my 71st birthday. We'll have a picnic with hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad. Several people will also bring deserts. This will be 3rd annual gathering here.

This is also the time of year when I miss my family the most. My daughter, her husband and the triplet grandchildren are still in Nashville. I hope to visit them sometime during 2012.

Happy Holidays to all from Panama!

20 October 2011

"Jailbreak" Rosie - R.I.P.

This is a picture of Rosie. She was an escape artist to rival Harry Houdini! Even when she lost the use of her rear legs she still managed 3 "jailbreaks", ending up out of the fence and at the main road 150 feet away on two occasions.

Rosie was a "street dog". She lived most of her 13 plus years on the streets of Volcan in Chiriqui Province, western Panama. She had countless litters of puppies, some of whom have grown to be much larger than she was. She was able to escape from almost anywhere and so lived an independent life, even while claiming residence with me and my other two dogs.

Blue, my Red Heeler, and I took Rosie in about 3 years ago. Some wonderful folks had "rescued" her from a life of promiscuity and almost constant pregnancy. She became so possessive of them that she became a problem. She was a sweet dog but somewhat reserved until she got to know you...maybe 2 or 3 months. She was also very vocal and consistent about guarding "her home".

Rosie spent most of her life outdoors and that continued with me. My dogs have a "doggie door" so that they can go into the fenced back yard at anytime. Rosie took advantage of that fact quite often to slide her 22 inch high shoulders sideways under the chain-link fence to join me in the front yard, or to simply go on what the Aussies call a "Walkabout". She did this on a regular basis for the 2 years since we moved to our new house in the countryside.

She suddenly came down in pain and could not stand on her back legs on October 15. The pain went away in a couple of hours and we gave her intensive, around-the-clock care. She fought hard to recover, but she lost the battle 19 days later when we had to end her suffering.

She was the sweetest, most interesting, independent and loving dog that I have ever known. She will be sorely missed by myself, Andrea, Blue and Athena.

21 April 2011

Easter and Some Things Finished

It's almost Easter and I am happy to report that a couple of major tasks have been completed since I last updated this blog.

First, all of the ceilings are complete in the house. It is much more comfortable as well as more pleasing to look at. By the way, the 3 dogs don't seem to care as long as their dogie door works properly.

And, more importantly, the mobile crane came two weeks ago and lifted over 1,000 pounds of steel into an upright position to complete my 65 foot radio tower. I have included a montage of images. Pictures are: tower ready, truck ready, still ready, diesel problems, top 40 ft. going up, rigger bolting together, rigger at center of tower, house roof below truck bed, waiting for SteppIR beam, and 3 amigos on watch.

Take care, be well and be happy!