Getting Social at Dinner

Some of you know that I prefer traveling solo; maybe it’s selfish or maybe it’s the results of 20 years of marriage. 🙂 I also enjoy eating solo, reading my Kindle or just observing what surrounds me. Occasionally in the informal lodges people invite me to join them at their table and never wanting to offend, I often accept. This group from Florida asked me to join them on the second night and I think I told them I would, but for dinner only, since I liked to read at breakfast and lunch. They have also invited others to their table like this couple from St. Thomas with a teen son. It’s been interesting as long as I ignore political statements! 🙂 Our waitress made this image on a couple of our cellphones for us last night.

Like pretty much everywhere in Costa Rica (except San Jose) all our meals here are open air, just under a roof because of mucho rain! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

What’s a Texas Smile?

A lot of you asked that question, and the answer is sort of a “figure of speech” or a euphemism for an asymmetrical smile or lopsided smile or even a sneer or smirk. 🙂 Possibly the name “Texas smile” came from one of those old cowboy movies my doctor saw, who knows? But that’s what my Costa Rican surgeon called it when, because of the cut nerve, I cannot lift the left side of my lips when I smile. But I’m not sneering! 🙂 Just not functioning normally and hopefully with some exercise we can call up some other nerves to help left that side a little more than now, but no promises. Same hope for blinking and closing my left eye which is burning most of the time now because I cannot blink or close it. In fact that is even more important to me! At night I now use an eye patch and put an ointment in my eye. My two big challenges before we even find out if the tumor was a cancer. Hopefully I will not permanently be “the sneering, one-eyed Charlie!” But if so, I’ll make the best of it! 🙂

The scabs on my lip are where the dermatologist removed growths earlier and they are just slow to heal. And of course I can’t shave on my left side with cheek and neck swollen and sore, so I’m an ugly mess! Like an old house or old car, everything breaking down at once! 🙂

Drainage Tube Removed Tomorrow

At least I have that to look forward to! Tomorrow afternoon the doctor sees me again and says he will remove the drainage tube which is a real bother. Then I think I will have one other post-op visit in another week when I will learn if cancer or not and what else we need to do. So seemingly always something else, but we are getting there – step by step.

Dinner Delivered to My House Every Afternoon

The ladies of Roca Verde have been wonderful! Delivering a “soft” food dinner each evening that will continue into next week. I’m really getting the “royal treatment” from my neighbors! And its looking like enough leftovers for more extra meals than I will likely need. This is the life of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”

Plus Prayers from Around the World!

I’m so thankful to have so many friends and family around the world who believe in prayer and have assured me they are praying for no cancer and a quick and complete recovery. Wow! I’m a fortunate person in so many ways! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Thanksgiving Dinner at Neighbor’s

At Margaret & Dario’s house on top of one of the Roca Verde hills with the assistance of Susan and Fred, 26 of us had a huge American-style Thanksgiving dinner with Turkey, Ham and Beef Brisket along with more vegetables and salads than I can list after gourmet appetizers and Champagne, followed by a course of exotic cheeses and then deserts. Each of us brought a dish of something and a bottle of wine. It was a feast fit for a king and even though I only ate breakfast beforehand, I feel stuffed (Thursday night after dinner) while I write this.

Thanksgiving is not a Tico holiday, but the Ticos who came sure enjoyed it!  🙂  Margaret and Susan are the high-energy, highly organized leaders of the Roca Verde neighborhood and put this together.

SORRY MY CELLPHONE PHOTOS ARE NOT GOOD which I will blame on the lighting and I didn’t even try to get the group photo by the pool because it was dark, raining and the light worse. But we had a lot of fun with a great meal and I have two new couples-friends!

Margaret’s Group Photo on Facebook.


“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

~Psalm 9:1

¡Pura Vida!

Potluck Supper Last Night

You guys considering a move to Costa Rica might be interested to know that it is common for neighborhoods to get together for potluck dinners occasionally. We did when in the apartments and we have in Roca Verde as last night. I’m on the RV Social Committee and we are now planning on 3 or 4 potluck suppers a year to get to know your neighbors better. And another fun part is how international it is in most neighborhoods with Costa Ricans, Europeans from multiple countries, and of course persons from the U.S. and Canada. Great food too!   🙂   Plus I got an invite for an American Thanksgiving Day Feast at one of the homes!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Sorry I did not get any photos last night but I have other social and fiesta photos in my photo gallery!    🙂

Madrigal Renaissance Christmas Banquet

About 30 of us expat retirees in Atenas went north of here by charter bus to San Ramon (hour drive) where we were fed and entertained by a group of expat retirees in San Ramon. We had a very interesting experience of a 14th Century Madrigal Christmas Banquet with all our hosts in period costumes and a wide variety of entertainment with the excellent meal! There was chamber music while we ate plus afterwards period ceremony, stories, singing by our hosts and group singing of Christmas Carols (in English & Spanish!) by all making it a very special Christmas Dinner. THANKS TO THE EXPATS OF SAN RAMON! And to Tony & Rose Mary for putting it together! Gracias!   🙂

Madrigal Dinner Slideshow

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Or to see each of the photos individually and larger, go to my 2018 Madrigal Banquet Photo Gallery where you can also download photos if you wish.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Christmas Eve Dinner Around the Pool

Christmas Dinner with New Friends in Tambor 

Tambor, Costa Rica

Horderves, wine, soup or salad, baked turkey & dressing or mahi mahi, scalloped potatoes, green vegetable medley, pecan pie alamode. A wonderful meal and great company! The pecan pie was made with Karo Syrup just like my Mama’s by the owner’s wife. Delicious!

The lady at front right is my birding guide Ruth (today & Tuesday) and her husband Larry at front left is our driver. Jimmy is back center and Ruth’s daughter Ellie (Elizabeth) just graduated from high school and is going to the university to study medicine and eventually become a neurologist. There are a lot of ambitious young people like her in Costa Rica, even in small towns like Tambor (much smaller than Atenas!) Great people everywhere I go! Even most of the Americans!  🙂


All of my meals here are outside around the pool 
Tambor Tropical Resort
Tambor, Costa Rica

from Tambor Tropical Resort

My trip gallery for this trip: 2017 Christmas Week Tambor Bay 

Farm Fresh Food at Rancho Naturalista

Farm fresh food at every meal from
 the on-property farm!
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

All meat and dairy products from their own farm, even the cheese!
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

Low Season means Fewer Guests
These 2 birders from states there my 1st two days only
 Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

My 77th Birthday Cake! I was not expecting! (Mercedes told them.)
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

Just one piece!
 Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

And their website: Rancho Naturalista

“The only time to eat diet food is 
while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” 

More Birds on My Tree & Little Theater Experience

See also my other posts of tree birds:  Animales Fantasticos,  Arbolitos de Pajaros and still one more coming!

For you guys back in the states who think I just live with the birds and have no social outlets, you couldn’t be more wrong! Sometimes I have too much going on to live the slow, simple life I’m here for. One group I belong to is expats that take charter bus trips to San Jose for cultural activities plus some local recreational activities. Last week we went to the San Jose Little Theatre Group for a very interesting little play titled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It was about a teen boy with Asperger’s syndrome that was a little emotional to me since that was one of Juli’s problems. But I enjoyed it and our group of 40 filled the theater which we had to ourselves. It was a late afternoon private performance and then we went to an Argentina Steak House for a very good dinner before returning to Atenas. Thanks to Tony Phillips who puts these trips together!

No Official “Thanksgiving” BUT “Black Friday” Everywhere!

Thanksgiving Day is a unique American Holiday only, not here, so the banks are open here today and there are no parades or football games! BUT, tomorrow is a huge day here as Black Friday or Viernes Negro as possibly the biggest shopping day of the year here too! The malls are so crowded I wouldn’t think of going tomorrow! Even for the big sales! Not even for Star Wars which I will see next week. 🙂

We have a neighborhood chef now who prepares very good dinners to be picked up at his house Monday to Friday and today he prepared a traditional turkey & dressing dinner which I enjoyed with my neighbor Anthony along with a cranberry salad and pumpkin pie Anthony had prepared. I’m stuffed and ready to take a nap!

Our Thanksgiving turkey dinners came in decorated bags,
here on plates at Anthony’s house ready for us to eat. 

And at my Spanish Class this morning we joined with another class for coffee and homemade goodies, language games, and each of us presented what we are thankful for, en español of course! Here is my paragraph as presented this morning: 

Gracias a Dios
Doy gracias por una vida lenta y tranquila en Costa Rica. ¡También para una casa muy agradable y propietario excelente! Y para la gente amable de Atenas y muchos buenos amigos. Y muchos hermosos pájaros y mariposas.

¡Y oh sí! ¡Para el mejor clima del mundo!  
Cuando me mudé aquí, yo era el único en Atenas que lo creía.
The second paragraph is kind of a joke about the slogan Atenas uses everywhere, saying “Atenas – The best weather in the world” which most locals don’t believe and often joke about. But I still sorta believe it! And definitely thankful for the weather here!
And oh yes, Hurricane Otto passed north of us with only a little more rain this morning and no major winds, so that “best weather” town of Atenas still is!  🙂 We had no flooding, power loss, trees down, evacuations, or anythingf else that was going on in the path. Fortunate again! ¡Gracias a Dios!
Read about it in La Nacion. 
¡Pura Vida!