Retirement and Good Living Article

I was asked to write a short piece about our lives on Ometepe Island for a website Retirement and Good Living.  You can check out the article here. The Retirees and the Volcano.

I have to add that I love blogging. I have met so many wonderful people through my blog. Thanks to all my friends, old and new, who have enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams.


Jungle Law

Jungle Law: Nothing is sacred

“Ron!” I yelled, “An owl passed out on our kitchen counter. What should I do?” It was late at night and Ron was sound asleep, while I was checking Facebook. Stunned and dazed, the little screech owl stared at me, unable to move anything except his big, moon-shaped eyes.  Stunned and dazed, Ron came to our rescue.  He gently lifted the little intruder and we checked him or her (How do you identify the sex of an owl?) for broken wings, abrasions, and head wounds. All appeared to be in working order, but then again, we are not vets, nor accustomed to owls dropping in or making house calls in the middle of the night.

Ron carried the dazed and confused owl outside. He tried to perch him on the homemade ladder leaning against the back of our house.  The poor little fellow fell off the perch and plopped to the ground with a barely audible ‘thud’ cushioned by downy feathers.  After much discussion on the best way to position an injured owl, we decided to prop him up on the ground leaning against the back wall of the house.

Returning to the scene of the accident, we noticed a cloud of downy feathers swirling around the ceiling fan in the kitchen.  Tropical living is an open-air concept. We find it impossible to screen out all of the intruders, so we have learned to live with Jungle Law: Nothing is sacred. Nothing is out-of-bounds.  The evidence led us to surmise that the screech owl flew into the ceiling fan.

Meanwhile, back at the temporary owl hospital under the ladder, we found a large toad guarding the screech owl. Our dazed house guest appeared to be more alert. He was shaking his wings and twirling his head around in an Exorcist kind of way. To me, that seemed like progress!

Fifteen minutes later, our dazed and confused intruder had totally recovered. He flew off silently into the moon shadows, while his new toad friend hopped after him. I love a happy ending.

Jungle Law

November 5, 2004

              After four months of tropical living, I am beginning to understand the laws of the jungle.  Attempting to live a high tech lifestyle in a low-tech world has inundated us with many challenges.  Sometimes, I wonder if it’s worth the effort because it’s a never ending battle that requires persistence, awareness, patience, and constant vigilance.     But, wait there’s more…

The Birthday Party

My carrot cake at the birthday party

The Birthday Party

January 22, 2005

          It was at Alba Ligia’s sixth birthday celebration, where I learned the meaning of compassionate immersion, creative ingenuity, and peaceful understanding in our troubled world of terrorist threats, struggles for power, and greed beyond the imagination of ordinary folks.  Francisco invited Ron and I to his cousin’s birthday party in Los Ramos, a remote village on Ometepe Island lacking running water, refrigeration, and in most houses, electricity.  “Oh, by the way,” he stated nonchalantly before leaving, “My mother wants you to make the birthday cake.”  “But, Francisco,” I whined, “Ron and I haven’t made the horno commitment, yet.  We have no oven.” “Don’t worry,” he added, “We have an adobe oven behind our house.”

So began our search for the illusive ingredients such as, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and baking powder to whip up a carrot cake with cream cheese icing for Alba Ligia’s sixth birthday.  Toting plastic bags full of everything except the powdered sugar; we walked along the rutted black sand beach to catch the 7:30am chicken bus to Los Ramos.

Los Ramos is located at the base of Vulcan Concepcion.  From the bus stop, it’s a steep and rocky, mile long walk downhill to the family pueblo.  Passing horses hauling plastic water buckets and bicycles bumping down a road only maneuverable by surefooted mules, we wondered why Los Ramos was located in such an isolated area.

When we finally arrived, we were welcomed with hot nacatamales, fresh coffee, and fried plantains for breakfast.  Francisco had walked to the beach for his daily bath leaving us in the care of his mother and grandfather until he could return and translate for us.  The families in Los Ramos walk another mile to the beach to bathe and get water from a hand pumped well.  We wondered how difficult it was for Francisco to return clean after a dusty uphill walk.       Keep reading, reading, reading…

Fruits of Labor

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There is no boon in nature. All the blessings we enjoy are the fruits of labor, toil, self-denial, and study.~ William Graham Sumner

Ha! Obviously, Mr. Sumner never lived in the tropics when the mangoes are ripe. I think I’ve developed post traumatic stress syndrome from the boon of mangoes dropping on our tin roof. The only toil I am experiencing is shoveling the sickeningly sweet, insect infested mangoes into a pit in our front yard.

There is definitely a boon of fruit at our place. I feel pangs of guilt each time I dump wheelbarrows heaped with rotten fruit into the ‘fruit pit’. Completing the major construction of our house and the guesthouse, I’m going to have to concentrate on enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Between shoveling fruit and pounding nails, I have had a little window of time to make Mango jam, Key Lime pies, fruit smoothies, and Pera pies, cobblers, and sauce (These fruits taste amazingly like apples).   I hope to share with you my collection of “Recipes of the Third World Kind” or a better title would be “Fruits Gone Wrong”.  In the meantime, enjoy the slide show  of the variety of fruit trees on our property called, The Fruits of Labor..the sweetest of all pleasures.


One of the many laundromats on Ometepe Island

I wrote this when we lived on Ometepe Island six years ago. Stay tuned for the latest version…You Know You’re Almost There When….

You Know You’re a Gringa When…

January 9, 2005

  • you don’t ask, “How much does it cost?”
  • you boil your water before you drink it.
  • you take a tab of Dramamine before you go grocery shopping in Rivas.
  • your refrigerator is full of grape jelly and peanut butter.
  •  you have a refrigerator
  • you throw away leftovers.
  • you wear white socks to the black sand beach.
  • you throw your toilet paper in the toilet.
  • you gather wood for a campfire and whittle sticks to roast marshmallows.    But, wait there’s much more..

Baring It All

My passions in 60 seconds

Get Focused. Choose Your Topic. The advice from WordPress is to brainstorm your reasons for starting a blog, list your passions, and finally to merge them into a cohesive visual representation of your blog topic. All within 60 seconds and on a napkin! Good lord. I live on a tropical island. I have to walk one and a half miles through manure infested black sand to buy a napkin in the closest town…with no guarantee that they will even have napkins for sale.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public. ~ Paulo Coelho

After a detailed critical analysis of my results (on recycled paper from a printer gone haywire), I have discovered that I am a rebellious blogger, only interested in egotistical ramblings of living cheaply, yet creatively, on a tropical island in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America.

I am an economic refugee getting naked and baring it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly, in grisly detail. Please ‘bare’ with me as I unveil my rewired life on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.