The Indignity of a Robbery

For the second time in 4 years living in Costa Rica I am enduring the disgrace of a robbery that simple precautions could have prevented. You may remember that the first one was during my first year here and I went with the local community band to photograph them marching in the Puntarenas Carnival Parade leaving my camera bag by my chair in a sidewalk cafe afterwards to experience its disappearance! Someone said that I paid my “Gringo Tax” by not protecting my bag in a very crowded place. Well, I’m paying it a second time this week.

1. I always leave my phone & Kindle on kitchen counter when home (or did)

It is the center of my house and I can hear the phone ring from there while anywhere else in my little house. And the Kindle is always there for me to put on the meal tray and take out on the terrace to eat every meal, my main dining companion! So a very convenient location. PROBLEM: In the center of the house those popular electronics can be seen by anyone “casing” my house from any of the windows except my bedroom and the bathroom. So a thief looking for an easy grab has found it with a quick glance into my house from driveway or anywhere else. So I will no longer leave them there.

In the photo I was in the office in that desk chair within 10 to 12 feet of the kitchen counter when items were lifted, plus my sunglasses are on that hall shelf near the door

2. I have not been locking my doors, seeing no reason.

About 8 pm I got up from my desk and went to the bathroom which is next to my outside door. I found the outside door was standing open and was puzzled with no wind yet to blow it open and I was sure I had closed it well. As I go back by the kitchen counter I discover the two electronic items missing and now know that I have been robbed silently within 10 feet of where I was sitting with my computer. At least my cameras were in that room with me and not touched nor the laptop computer! The door stays locked now!

3. Later I discover my “cool” reflective sunglasses missing also

Well, they make me feel younger if not look younger and they work and are cheap at only one mil, about $1.75. The photo is of the replacement pair I got yesterday after replacing my cell phone. And as soon as I discovered these missing, I knew it was a young man who walked in and took the 3 items quietly while I worked on my computer enriching my photo gallery with some 1998 Kenya Safari photos!  🙂  These are the kind of sunglasses young men in Costa Rica love to wear! Hope he enjoys them!

4. Further indignity – he/they tossed my Kindle!

Yep! the next morning my neighbor Jorge was out walking before me and he found my Kindle tossed in the drainage ditch near our gate. They evidently decided they could not get much if any money for a very worn, 5 year old small Kindle that can be purchased new for $49 and as leaving our property they just tossed it in the ditch. Glad it did not rain that night which would have ruined it for sure. But I was ready to replace it anyway. They say the battery lasts 3 to 5 years and you don’t get new batteries but just a new Kindle, so at 5 years it is about gone anyway. But still! Stealing it and then throwing it away!? My baby!  I’m incensed!   🙂

5. I reported and learned it was 3 young men who hit another house also that night and got away when discovered

I reported the theft to my landlord and the Roca Verde Homeowners Association and front gate guards who reported it to the police. And like some Americans, some of the Ticos here immediately blamed it on Nicaraguans (foreigners) rather than admit there is evil in all of us.

And life goes on despite the indignities we somehow must put up with occasionally! I am actually looking forward to a new Kindle that will be a little bit larger (1 inch) for my old eyes!  🙂  And I’m healthier now because I forgave whoever stole my phone and pray that they will be relieved of their poverty soon! Poverty is the real evil we need to focus on!   ¡Pura Vida!

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

~Matthew 6:14-15

Trying out my new cell phone camera on my vista. Hope it is as good as the old one. Hard to tell here.




Just finished this book. Very good!

There are usually 2 or more books on my Kindle that I am working on, more if you count some I have started and will probably never finish. I have to “enjoy” or “get something out of” a book to continue reading it to the finish.

My favorite “little” books that I enjoy reading for pure fun are Agatha Christie mysteries. I’m now focused on finishing all the Hercule Poirot series in the recommended order of happening which is important only because some of the stories refer back to earlier stories that even figure into the details of the mystery. Then I will finish all the Miss Marple books not already read. I like her books because she is a very good storyteller with very entertaining stories that often have the element of surprise. Plus they are shorter than most “classic” books with shorter chapters, making them easier to read. Next up from her is Lord Edgware Dies. 

In addition I am trying to continue adding more of the “classics” which sometimes bore me or they are just too long, but often are the best writing. I currently have volume 1 of The Charles Dickens Collection which is just 3 books, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. I am currently almost bogged down in Oliver Twist which is a longer/bigger book than I realized, having seen at least 2 of the 4 movies made from it. And as usual a lot is left out of the movies! I remember the 2005 and 1968 movies and so decided to try the B&W 1948 movie online. I quit after 40 minutes. It is just not as complete a story or as good as reading the book, though a slow read. I intend to finish reading the real story and then may retry one or both of the more modern movie versions. We will see. I have already interrupted Oliver with one Poirot story and may do so again before finishing. Dickens is an excellent descriptive writer, almost too descriptive so that I get bogged down or bored with too much detail. But still better than that ’48 movie!  🙂

I used to read a lot of inspirational books but have found the last few I tried not so inspirational and not something I need as much now. Plus the politics of so many Christian writers now has turned me off reading anything they say. I now stick with reading the Bible every day and a few writers like C.S. Lewis or Richard Foster whom I know I can trust.

Most of my “real” or paper books are reference books on birds and other nature subjects and of course a collection of my own travel photos in little books. They are on my coffee table and something visitors can thumb through if bored.

Somehow I have not seen my reading as something to write about in the blog and that may be good because it could get bogged down in mystery plots and minutia. But reading is what I do instead of watching TV at night plus I can also read a chapter on the bus ride to Alajuela or while eating a meal, so Kindle is a travel and dining companion of sorts!  🙂  And of course I will never get through all the classics! After Dickens I may go back for more of Hemingway. I love his writing.

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
–Stephen King
Charlie Doggett
Retired (and reading) in Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

“Real” & Electronic Books

“Real” Book
Trees of Panama & Costa Rica
Electronic Book
Hercule Poirot: The
Complete Short Stories
I don’t buy many “real” or paper books any more with my Kindle Fire and the easy access to so many books electronically. And as an Agatha Christie fan, the Kindle has been a great joy for me with basically no storage space needed! And the best deal yet has been my current reading of The Complete Short Stories of Hercule Poirot. The cover says “More than 50” which of course means 51 stories, almost like 51 little books. I’ve loved every one as I’m now on the last 12 which are sort of related in their connections to the Roman mythology of Hercules, Hercule Poirot’s namesake! (Note that Hercules Roman mythology is similar to the Heracles Greek mythology.) And equally interesting is that this last series of 12 stories were all written in the year of my birth, 1940, and first published in magazines in both England and the U.S. Cool!
But nature reference guides are mostly easier to use in paper format, so my new “real” book on the trees of Costa Rica will hopefully help me identify more of the trees I see and photograph here. Experts know the names of around 3,400 trees here (more than all of U.S. & Canada combined and they still have not identified them all here. This particular book includes Panama which has a lot of overlap with Costa Rica and is produced by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Isla Barro Colorado in the middle of Lake Gatun, Panama which I visited Dec. 2013, making me confident this is the most authoritative resource available for now. And though I haven’t gotten into photographing trees like I do birds and other animals, the importance of trees ranks near the top as ecology indicators and value to us humans.
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” 
 Kahlil Gibran


Illustrated by my photo at Tambor Bay last Christmas:
If a tree dies, plant another in its place.   -Carolus Linnaeus

What I am Reading

If you are a member of Goodreads, the reading/sharing book club affiliated with Amazon and/or Kindle, then you know what I am reading. The Kindle Fire was the absolute best thing I purchased before leaving the states and is my primary entertainment. I have lost track of how many books I’ve read on it since moving to Costa Rica.

I have two versions of the Bible on Kindle and read from both each day (THE MESSAGE and HCSB). I have read several devotional books of varying value. I reread the entire Chronicles of Narnia series and the entire Hobbit-Lord of the Rings series, more traditionally I have read John Grisham, Agatha Christie, and Louis L’Amour books, plus some children’s books (still a child at heart), Costa Rica books, nature, birding and travel books, a pair of science fiction books that were pretty good: From Time to Time and Time and Again, both by Jack Finney. I read a book on simple living which I’m not following real close, the lengthy and sometime boring Don Quiote and the latest biography of Jimmy Carter, A Full Life, which is very good. I read three books by Catherine Ryan Hyde which were all good and totally different, though really into everyday life problems and emotions from a wide range of people and situations. Pay It Forward is her best and was made into a movie I understand but can’t find on Netflix. Electric God  was not what I expected but was very good and I recommend. And I just finished When You Were Older, which was particularly interesting to me because of the special needs child becoming an adult and reminded me of Juli in many ways. I am now reading a World War II novel about two children, one in France and one in Germany and how the war is affecting both of them in both similar and different ways. It is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Even as a war story it is lighter reading than the last book which became emotionally heavy for me at times. Most Children’s stories are good! Not sure what will be next.

I also read National Geographic digital, Christianity Today digital, and Washington Post digital on my Kindle along with a locally made Costa Rica Bird App to identify birds including their songs (On my phone too! A guy in our birding club developed it.). So this little gadget has been a world of information and entertainment! AND I have the Kindle App on my Galaxy 4 Android Phone so that when on the bus to Alajuela or in a restaurant, I can read on my latest book or play solitaire. On the Kindle at home I also have a jigsaw puzzle app. Wow! I don’t watch TV though I probably should some just for the Spanish. And I’m using my Bose CD player for a CD-based extra Spanish class which is good for the actual talking and pronunciation. Never bored! Pura Vida!

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.

–Vera Nazarian

My Library

My library recharges at night, Kindle Fire & Samsung Cellphone (Kindle App).

One of the smartest things I did before the move south was get a Kindle Fire and then add the Kindle App to my cellphone! I read everything from the Bible to novels, National Geographic and occasionally the news, all electronically on my Kindle. When riding a bus or eating in a restaurant I read on my phone. As a quote I used yesterday in the butterfly post says,

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”  
-Marcus Tullius Cicero
FYI, I’m currently reading the latest English version of Don Quixote and it is too early for me to have a judgement on it yet (but a little weird so far).  A couple of days ago I finished reading Pay It Forward, one of the best books I’ve ever read! It is by Catherine Ryan Hyde whom I discovered by accident from a little 99 cent Kindle book by her titled Electric God which was very good and pointed me to Pay It Forward which was also made into a movie. Sorry that Netflix is not streaming it, just on DVD which I can’t get here. It is about how a little boy’s school project to “change the world” actually did! Of course the movies are never as good as the books!  🙂

Locally made bookcase with doors
to protect from dry season dust. It
is between book boxes & guest
room wardrobe.

After arriving I started by reading all of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit,  and all the books in Lord of the Rings series. Great ways to escape the American culture! Those lengthy readings were broken up by two John Grisham mysteries, Agatha Christie, Louis L’Amour, three books on Costa Rica, two science fiction books, and The Psalmist (a mystery) by James Lillieford, a new and interesting writer for me. I’ll try him again.

Because I did bring two hard copy Bibles, my photo books, a couple of books on simple life, and my bird, butterfly, plants and other Central America nature & travel guides, I got a little bookcase (Pequeña Biblioteca), with doors to help with the dry season dust. It is simple, handmade locally, and serves my purpose well. I will also be keeping a few of the genealogy books as I go through them, but all my scrapbooks are going to be photographed and become electronic files as most of genealogy stuff will.

Mostly, my library now is my Kindle Fire! Best library yet!

Nature is my theme, so here’s one nature photo:     🙂

Rainy Day Green! Even with dull, overcast sky, greens seem brighter in rain!
Another view from my balcony in Atenas, Costa Rica!

And for those of you who know Reagan Frazier, he just scheduled a visit with me for two weeks in February 2016, just 8 months away!  🙂  But if thinking about it, February is off limits now.

A Testimony of Living in Atenas

A Rural Road Near Atenas, Cost Rica (copied)

I’m guessing she is a 30-something girl who wrote this descriptive testimony of living in Atenas where I will live in less than 8 weeks.

Check it out to get a different description than I have shared yet. One of her photos is a road outside of town which I expect to find near my apartment. We’ll see!

This morning’s activity was another “Moving Sale” day in the McKendree Village Treasure Shop. I did fairly well, a little better than last Saturday.

This afternoon I will be doing laundry and culling down my files to what I really need to take with me to Costa Rica. And I saved one of my books from sale or disposal which I thought I might read first, Richard Foster’s Freedom of Simplicity (click for excerpts) then I discovered it is available on my new Kindle Fire which I got to avoid carrying so many heavy books to costa Rica. It was just instantly loaded on my Kindle – how cool this is! I’m going to live in the rainforest while building my new library electronically!   🙂   As usual, I’m as excited as a little kid about all of this!

And as has happened before, my post on His Spirit Blog today relates directly to this, the removal of stress by depending on God and simplifying my life as getting rid of all this stuff is doing already!