Brilliant! The Book

Because it was a special week, I’m doing a second book on Xandari where I celebrated my birthday last week. It was such a colorful week, I titled it “Brilliant!” Follow the link to a free online preview of the book showing 82 of my photos. Or click this smaller image of the book cover below:

Brilliant Book cover
Click cover to Preview the book online.

Also see the 2019 Trip Gallery for this week. 

Or the older 2018 Xandari Trip Gallery

And my photo book for that year’s visit titled Xandari Enchanted by Nature

A truly amazing place!

Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!

Floating Free of Time

The following statement about hummingbirds was included as an insert in a Papyrus Birthday Card I received from my sister Bonnie who said the card reminded her of me “getting the most out of life!”  (Thank you Bonnie!) And the above photo is a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird photographed this past week at Xandari Nature Resort, Costa Rica, “floating” above a flower just outside my room.

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying out hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.     ~Papyrus

The card itself continued the theme with . . .







Enjoy every extraordinary moment! Happy Birthday!     ~Papyrus

And so the hummingbird inspires us to get the most out of life! I hope that is what you are doing! Enjoy life!    🙂

And here is another hummingbird that seems to be “floating” a little more than the above one. He is a Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird female at Dave & Dave’s Nature Center of Sarapiquí, La Virgen, Costa Rica shot on my 2016 Trip to Selva Verde Sarapiqui.

Have another great day!

Charlie — Retired in Costa Rica

And see more hummingbirds in my BIRDS photo gallery.

¡Pura Vida!


Xandari Birthday Cake!

The staff had already done so much for me to make my birthday special, but I couldn’t finish dinner without them bringing out a birthday cake and a rendition of Feliz Cumpleaños sung more by another guest than by the waiters. Fun! And now it is finally over! One more birthday! The 79th! Not sure how I can top this for the big 8 – 0! Got a year to decide!

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

~Madeleine L’Engle

For a very special birthday I say THANK YOU to

Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!

Birthday Color!

Last night before dinner we were treated with a double rainbow! This morning the maids brought me a new bouquet of flowers with a “Feliz Cumpleaños!” greeting. And I have already enjoyed 4 fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate for my birthday! Plus the staff sang Happy Birthday in English to me at breakfast!

AND . . . this was my guided bird-hike morning with the most interesting birds being the mother & juvenile Crested Caracara (rare find) who landed in the same tree as the Yellow-headed Caracara did the other day!    🙂

Rainbow  —  el arco iris
Tropical Flowers from the Hotel Gardens in my room
Crested Caracara adult & juvenile, Xandari Nature Resort, Costa Rica

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” 
― William Shakespeare


Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!

The Birthday that Won’t Go Away!

My friend Jason Quesada now works in Jaco and is only in Atenas on weekends. Well, he was back this weekend and showed up at my house this afternoon with a friend and a birthday cake. We had a great time visiting and I enjoyed meeting a new local friend, Christopher, who is about as far along with his English as I am with my Spanish. Language learning! Wow!

It has been a nice week. Friday I had my teeth cleaned by a local Spanish-only dentist and Monday I go to a Spanish-speaking dermatologist.  Then next Saturday I’m checking out a new exotic lodge called Xandri. Never a dull moment!   ¡Pura Vida!

Tengo 78 Años Hoy

That is how we say it in Costa Rica español,  Tengo 78 años hoy, translated “I have 78 years today” on July 4, 2018. No particular celebration today, I will wait until the big 80! 🙂 Then a big party!

Super Hamburguesa & My Kindle! Before the Pecan Pie Alamode dessert!

This morning I bought a pecan pie (possibly my favorite dessert) at my favorite bakery, Crema y Nada, and vanilla ice cream at my favorite supermercado. That will serve as my birthday cake after eating my favorite hamburger to go from Donde Bocha this afternoon. Then I will post this with photos of both treats.

And yes, it has been a great birthday! Thanks for the kind messages of feliz cumpleaños!  (happy birthday!) from people here and in the states! It was a wonderful, relaxed day! I have a friend visiting this weekend and otherwise I keep slowly building the new website as I find time. So much information to add!

Hogar de Vida 23rd Birthday Today

And I can’t show children’s faces online which is the most beautiful part, but here’s the event!

We sang happy birthday to Hogar – in Spanish of course! 

New shirts for special occasions!

The back of the shirts. The toddlers had orange shirts with animals on them, but no good photo without faces. 

I think I’m safe on the faces here! 

Helen arranged everything AND served the cake! 

This is a very special place and I am now on the board of directors thought they call it something else.
And will be volunteering on the grounds occasionally when not traveling!  🙂 

It is very easy to make a donation to Hogar de Vida home for abused and neglected children, simply go to this website and make either a one-time donation or schedule a monthly gift:

And you can select the Costa Rica or the Guatemala home as you prefer. 
¡Pura Vida!

Last Day at Hogar de Vida

Letty “cutting in” along the floor as we continued painting the Baby House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Finally a photo not showing children’s faces as we again played with the Toddler House.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Our “last supper” as a mission team to
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

Then we celebrated Larry’s birthday with a Passion Fruit, Pineapple & Coconut Cake
inscribed with “Feliz Cumpleaños Larry” Happy Birthday in Spanish.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

The Gnuse family. Matt is missionary director of the home.
Hogar de Vida, Atenas, Costa Rica

You will hear more about this fantastic children’s home, what we did there and future mission trips to Hogar de Vida.     Or see their Facebook Page. 

A Fantastic Place!

A Happy Birthday in Atenas!

One portion of the sidewalk I cleaned off. A community project, not the city!

I decided a few days ago I wanted to start a new tradition for each birthday: Do a good deed, service project, or something that helps other people. One I have been wanting to do is contribute to the neighborhood community-built sidewalk on the road leading to my subdivision. So this morning after breakfast I spent an hour and a half, before getting too hot, shoveling gravel and dirt and sweeping parts of the sidewalk. In short, someone left a pile of gravel for the concrete on top of the sidewalk so all of us who use it have to walk around it into the street. So the first thing I did was use my very small garden shovel to move the pile of gravel off the sidewalk onto the shoulder of the road. Hard work! Then another longer section of the sidewalk has a dirt wall along side it that is crumbling onto the sidewalk with each rain or bump of anything into the wall. I started shoveling a drainage ditch between the walk and wall and putting the dirt in the street which will be removed when they come to repave and widen the street. Then I swept the sidewalk and parts of the street. By 8:30 it was very hot with no clouds and I had to quit. But I plan to go back and finish the job! Lots of women and children and old people use this sidewalk and I want to help make it safe and usable!


Birthday Present  to myself is two handmade wooden rocking chairs.
That’s sillas mecedoras in Spanish
Sometimes you just don’t want to sit at the table!
Now I’m looking for a matching small table to sit drinks, etc. on.
That will be mesa pequeña in Spanish. No luck yesterday.


For weeks now I’ve been eating most all my meals at home which are generally better, healthier, but also more work! Today I went for a late lunch to La Carreta Restaurant and had a Casado with a new meat for me, a shredded beef called “Carne Mechada” which is Venezuelan in origin. His English translation of “Meat Loaf” on menu is not a good translation! It was very good and I recommend it! Also walked by the office supply store across from the Central Market to get a printer ink cartridge. 

David & Corrina with their full-time assistant at Su Espacio plus helpers Jason and Roni walked to my house at about 6:35 PM and they later found in my baby book that I was born at 6:35 PM – spooky huh? They are all young and full of life and brought everything for my feliz Cumpleaños party. It was a blast! And Jason even brought a gift, a Pura Vida coffee mug! My Tico friends are my best friends here and I will always remember this birthday party!

And tomorrow morning my neighbor Anthony is taking me to Kay’s Gringo Postres for and American Style Breakfast after we walk over the big hill here at Roca Verde! So you see I am getting plenty of attention on my birthday! And being 75 doesn’t feel any different from being 74! Pura Vida! Really now, how can life get any better? A simply great 75th birthday!