Radiation – The Next Adventure

For the last few days or so everything has been a “moving target” for me with an initial consultation with the radiation doctor explaining everything medically and checking me out and now we are putting a plan together with her staff and on the calendar, plus I’ve arranged to pay for it. And oh yes, this doctor is a specialist in radiation to the head and neck! 🙂 Hopefully my surgery neck swelling will soon be gone and the tender scars on my left face and neck healed better than they are now. I’m still sore and sensitive with only minor internal pain that I treat with Ibuprofen. They prefer these surgery “irritations” gone before they create new ones with radiation! 🙂

Below is their 3-step plan AND

“My Plan to Make it Fun.” 🙂

Continue reading “Radiation – The Next Adventure”

A Map of My CR Travels Thus Far

Click to see a little larger and thus easier to read. It may be that only people who live here or travel in Costa Rica a lot can appreciate the broad variety of places I have visited in 3 years and this is only the big name places like National Parks. There are so many little towns and places I have visited like Zarcero, Sarchi, Pura Vida Gardens, La Paz Gardens, Zoo Ave, waterfalls, fiestas, farm tours, etc. that simply won’t fit on this little map! Continuous adventure!

I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful natural place with so much to see and photograph! I love it here! And I enjoy every moment of every day whether traveling, sitting in my garden, or waiting in some long, slow government line. ¡Pura Vida!  

I earlier listed some of the places scheduled for my visits the next few months and now I have extended the list for one trip every month through next February 2019. So if any of you guys in the states want to visit, you will have to work around my trips or join me on one of them!  🙂   I have a trip-a-month for May through February with reservations for places that will help fill in the white spaces on the above map with 4 repeats: 

It promises to be my best “bucket list” year yet here in Costa Rica and I’m doing exactly what I planned to do when I made the decision to move here in retirement for these final “golden years” of life! (The “decision process” was documented earlier on this blog, starting with my first post, June 26, 2014.) Wonderful decision! (Not fully made until September that year.) As my friend Bill Peters at LifeWay used to say: “Every day’s a holiday and every week’s a vacation!” (In jest about working at LifeWay) But when you retire in Costa Rica that is almost true! ☺  

Copied from a blog of an expat living in Jaco, Costa Rica.    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Next 4 Months of Trips Planned – Retired in Costa Rica!

One of the many reasons I moved to Costa Rica was so I could afford to travel, by traveling locally to innumerable nature places in Costa Rica, year around! And it is now even cheaper than if I owned a car! Because I travel by local bus or occasionally by local airplanes it is cheaper than buying and operating a car – and healthier! For the first half of 2018 I have now booked a different experience monthly for February-May.

Here’s some links to places I will visit the next few months (without specific dates for security):


Chalet Orosi  
Birding at chalet as well as in the nearby parks.


Tapanti National Park
One of many waterfalls supposedly.

February – San Jose for performance of CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Read article about show designed just for Costa Rica

I am going with the expat club of Atenas on a bus like several other trips to San Jose. Fun! Though I just read the article and I believe it is actually in Alajuela and not San Jose, so even closer!


Real jungle living for 5 nights in rainforest.

Danta Corcovado Lodge

Day trip into Corcovado

Bird Watching

My 3rd trip to Corcovado is this time on the eastern side of the large park/reserve compared to my previous trips to SW & NW corners at Carate  &  Drake Bay.

This will compete with my Arenal trip below as the best trip the first 6 months!  🙂


Old friends from First Baptist Church, Nashville, TN are coming to provide service in the local Atenas orphanage Hogar de Vida. I will work and stay with them in the cabins at Hogar and they get one day of tourism away from the home.


My Room window and deck will look out at the famous volcano.
If erupting, I will see the red lava at night.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

I am staying at best birding lodge in the area, Arenal Observatory Lodge with room view of the volcano.

Of course I will be visiting the Arenal Volcano National Park along with many trails around the lodge known for their abundance of birds. I definitely expect some new species here.
And I may take a trip or two to other places like the Arenal Hanging Bridges or other places for birds, while avoiding many “touristy” places in this area. The town of La Fortuna nearby has become a junky Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge kind of tourist town like those at Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain Park.

My only other time here was on the 2010 Caravan.com Tour of Costa Rica when we spent one night in a different hotel.

And then there is my photo gallery of all my TRIPS made thus far in Costa Rica. Lots to see!


¡Pura Vida!


Toucans and a Garden!

Three houses over after flying over mine  –  in lower right. Sorry it is small.

A Pair or a Mother-Child 
One big flap of his wings and he glides like a bullet!


This was the second of two big excitements today. I sat down on the love seat to catch my breath this afternoon after spending two hours with some gardeners which I’ll tell you about in a second. But I looked out my living room window at the big Strangler Fig tree in my yard and saw a Keel-billed Toucan in it, just his big beak showing. I quietly go get the camera and of course he was gone when I returned, evidently to a tree across the road. Then he flew (above photo) to some distant neighbors where I tried to photograph him and others in some trees there. Some day I’ll get one up closer. But this is the kind of things I see from my deck. And I’m not on vacation! I live here!
I have watched the neighbor couple my age from Oregon work so hard on planting a garden and knew there had to be an easier way. Well an advertisement went up in our development last week for a landscape company saying they will design and install gardens as well as maintain them and ask for Cristian if you need an English-speaker. I emailed him this morning with photos (below) of the empty corner at the end of my driveway by the entry patio. And scanned my drawing showing the dimensions in meters of course. 
I figured I would hear back in a week or so. In less than an hour, as I was preparing lunch, he called and said he was in Roca Verde now working on another house and could come over and look at 2:30. He did with two workers. I explained what I wanted in general and he took notes and explained that I couldn’t have the palm I wanted in this space because of the septic tank and the palm’s long roots, but he promised to provide something against the stark concrete wall and make a garden that I would love with flowers year-around, as well as many butterflies and hummingbirds. I’m so excited! I’d much rather spend a little money like this than a lot on a car!
I ended up getting a Palma Roja at the end of my back sidewalk at the other back corner of the house, expanding my garden visually. I can’t remember all the flower names now that they will install including vines to hang down on the stark concrete wall. Then we went around front and I ordered two pot plants for my deck and one for the living room. The total cost is less than what I would pay for just the plants in the states, AND it includes top soil brought in, three big pots planted, and all the installation labor. And they come install it this Friday! Here’s what the space looks like now, my “before photos”: 

Seen from the driveway looking toward the entry plaza.
I mostly use the sliding glass door on deck for my entry mostly.

The entry patio leading to an entry hall with bath & bedroom to left and
kitchen, office, living/dining room and deck to right. 

Of course Friday will be the new, young plants with not as much to showoff yet. But rainy season is starting and by August I think it will be looking good and in another year great! I’m planning to stay here long term! The beach is too hot and too expensive to live at and I’m less than two hours from it anyway! Plus I really like Atenas! My new home!

If you want to hear God laugh . . .

When I ordered a good map of Costa Rica from Amazon.com I also grabbed a cheap little paperback titled The Golden Gringo Chronicles which is also the name of Bob Normand’s electronic newsletter about him retiring in Costa Rica.

The best thing tonight was at the end of Chapter 7 he used an often used quote from Iyanla Vanzant (without giving her credit) but one I hope to keep in mind during this whole process:

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.” 

Now, if I could just get God to tell me His plans for me! One of my prayers!

Bob lives in Quepos at Manuel Antonio National Park which was one of the first places I noted as a possibility for me, so that makes reading his book even more interesting. I intend to avoid the mistakes he made and that is one reason he wrote his true story book of retiring in Costa Rica.