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You would not believe how many times I’m asked that question, now that I’ve retired and moved to Panama. Here’s what I say: every day’s Saturday and I do whatever the hell I want – bwahahaha! Here’s the less smart-assed answer: I love retirement. I feel busier then ever, but in such a good and fulfilled way. I know there are folks out there who love their jobs so much that they say they’ll never retire, even if it makes sense financially. Honestly, you’re incredibly lucky if you’ve found work that is so fulfilling for you. For me, it was the exact opposite. I am so glad my time is now my own, and I do not have to answer to a boss or be working for a soulless, profit-obsessed company — which was the case through most of my working life. 3-4 weeks of vacation a year – really??…

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We love sweet Boquete town, especially at Christmastime. Under the current mayor, Boquete citizens have really spruced things up, and their pride is evident everywhere. We haven’t even been here two years, and we’ve noticed a big difference  – from the shiny new garbage trucks to the dazzling Christmas display in Boquete’s main plaza that grows more elaborate every year.

img_7868This hummingbird feeder is BIG – it holds about a quart of sugar water. But lately we’ve had to fill it every day, thanks to the voracious little beasts that have taken over our back terrace.

Pretty much any time of year we can count on an invasion of Rufous-tailed hummingbirds, ubiquitous in Panama. But in the past few days we’ve been enjoying some new visitors, a flock of red-legged honeycreepers. The males are conspicuous by their cobalt blue plumage and a dazzling spot of turquoise right on the crowns of their little heads, and the females are a more camouflage-able yellowish green. Not being much of a birder, I had assumed the honeycreepers were migrating from parts north as the season changes, but my friend Wikipedia assures me they’re native to this area. As are many other types of tanagers.

Heavens to Murgatroyd – where did November go? And December, for that matter. With 2017 staring us in the face, it’s a good time to look back on some of our best moments this year. So many of those moments have been about spending time with friends and our fur kids in the cloud forest paradise known as the western Panama highlands. Every time we get out, it’s like re-discovering our wonderful home all over again.

New Year’s resolutions are so tiresome, aren’t they? More often than not, they’re about punishing yourself for last year’s behavior. “I ate too much last year – gotta lose weight.” “I drank too much – time to cut back.” (We’re working our way through an alcohol-free January, but that’s another story.) So instead of resolutions, we have a wish list for 2016. It’s all of the fun things we never got around to last year, and all of the fun things we want to plan for this year. The operative word here is FUN.

Exactly two weeks from today, we’re hopping that red-eye flight to our new life in Panama. We just know you’re on the edge of your seats, wondering what we’re up to – so here’s a little status report!

THE GIRLS
In typical intuitive doggy fashion, Maggie and Rosie know something big is afoot – although I don’t think they have a clue how much their lives are about to be turned upside down. We’ve gotten them re-acclimated to their crates, which wasn’t too difficult since they were crate-trained as puppies. Funny story: the other day a visitor came to the front door, and when we gave them the “crate” command they both ran into the big crate together! Good thing they’re buddies . . .

010202308129d0b254920d25dbde4a0d71ad24fdefThe other day we took a trip to the Copa Airlines cargo office at LAX and spoke to Jaime the ops manager. Jaime is a very nice and helpful young man who put us completely at ease about the process of getting dogs, crates, and paperwork dropped off prior to our flight. We took one of the crates to show him and got his blessing, and we were pleased to find out we don’t have to replace the connecting hardware or provide labels, ties, etc. (as we had been told before). We just provide water bottles and a little food, and Copa does the rest. It’s clear that they’ve flown many, many animals and know exactly what they’re doing, which is an enormous relief to us.