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!

Great Neighborhood Project!

Except for Atenas Central, there are few sidewalks (like Donelson-Hermitage)
So in the neighborhood between Roca Verde and Atenas Central, the neighbors
got together and decided to build their own, since government isn’t doing it.

Today it was young adult volunteers mixing & pouring cement, other times
have had some older adult men doing it, at least a quarter mile finished now!
The orange roofs on hill at top of photo is a part of Roca Verde.

Today’s young men shoveling cement into the forms. Great!
I gave them a thumb’s up and said “Muchas Gracias” as I walked by.
Again you can see one Roca Verde hill in distance.
This is an earlier photo I took going down the hill toward our gate.
I feel much safer walking on a sidewalk than in narrow streets or very
rough shoulders if any! The closer to Central Park, the more sidewalks.
First shift leaving high school.
Almost all students walk to school here. 

It is interesting to watch how many people still walk in the street, possibly from years of habit, I would guess half. Of course further up you have no choice and that includes walking by the high school where there are no sidewalks. Gangs of teens leaving or arriving just fill the streets and cars wait (photo below or at right).

But it was sad to see in Tico Times recently that Pedestrian Deaths Outnumber Drunk Driving Deaths in Costa Rica.  Speeding and irresponsible lane-changing are the top two causes of road deaths here.

Maybe this one more sidewalk will save another life or two. Everything is not perfect in Costa Rica! Infrastructure is still lacking in many areas.

Front Drive & Back Neighbors

Front Drive from My Balcony – Fountain by Manager’s House & Pool

Today I stayed home and did laundry except for a training meeting for volunteers at the Atenas Chili Fiesta tomorrow. It started as a small chili cookoff by expats here in Atenas 8 years ago to raise money for Hogar de Vida, a Christian children’s home (orphanage) for abandoned and abused children just one block from our apartments. How neat!

Because I don’t speak Spanish well enough to work booths requiring communication, I was put on the Security Team. We will be posted around the perimeter of the Sabana Larga (bull fight arena and fair grounds facility). The only ones who showed up for the “training” was me and 5 teen boys from the New Summit Academy which is located directly behind our apartments. I hear their music and chatter some evenings but always before their 10 PM quiet time. I have often wanted to meet them or find out more about the school. I did today! 
It is a great special needs high school for just 30 students, all from the states, and I’m sure at a significant price for the parents. It is kind of a follow up school for wilderness programs like Outward Bound (as it was called in my day) and they are quite involved in the local community by volunteering like this and at places like Hogar de Vida. Those who know my relationship with special need schools know that I am excited to live next door to another really good one. Me and the boys will have fun being security together for tomorrow’s fiesta. Here’s the view of New Summit Academy from my back balcony or kitchen window and bedroom window. Now I’ve met these neighbors! And I already like them! 
Some Roofs of New Summit Academy behind My Apartment
seen through our Bamboo Forest & Where I Photograph Birds!

Another good day in Atenas, Costa Rica, where I keep finding good things happening in the land of Pura Vida! Pure Life!

Dos Toucans, Uno Parrot!

Raphael, my driver from the airport Wednesday.

I’m still not well and the nearest clinic I found today was not open, but my neighbors swear that if I take a gin and lemon juice tonight it will make me well overnight. Not sure I’m brave enough to try, but Jean Pierre said he would make it for me. (Note next morning – I declined their gin treatment and will stay in and rest today and go to clinic Monday.)

Jean Pierre & Elizabeth live next door and are from Switzerland. They speak good English. Then above me (I’m in a 1st floor apartment.) is Ivan & Eloise from Quebec. French is their language, but they do a little English. They let me share a cab to town this morning for them to get some stuff at a health food store and for me to get my cell phone activated at the ICE store, but alas, ICE was closed. It is Christmas week Saturday. Ivan cannot walk well using a crutch, so they go everywhere in taxis. It cost about a $1.80 (800 colonnes). They invited me to join them in a cab tonight to eat at Carreta’s, a popular expat hangout cafe, if it is open!

The apartment is fine, needing some maintenance which they are working on little by little. The setting is beautiful and while drinking tea on my veranda this morning I saw two toucans fly into the the trees down by the river and one green parrot fly into a tree next to the apartment building, plus many other small birds. Just not been up to trying to photograph birds yet.