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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Hard Life of a Costa Rica Retiree

The life of a semi-retiree is not easy, no matter what you may have heard. First of all, there are all those books to read. And don't think reading is just a luxury of time on your hands. Hardly. For instance, it was important for me to read Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson in advance of our trip to Galveston with my mother later this month. How else to understand and really appreciate what that city went through in September of 1900 when a massive hurricane struck the totally unprepared island?

And then there are the dinner parties to prepare for or attend. Last night, for instance, with Darlene and Glynn coming over, there was chicken to marinate, cucumber salad to prep and garlic toasts to cook for dipping in hummus. Then tonight we'll be entertaining Marcial and Seidy, as we do most every Friday night. So today I face preparing a salad, working on a new baked French Fried Potato dish and shaping the hamburger "steaks" not to mention frying the bacon to go on top. But even then, I'm not done, for tomorrow is another big Santa Eulalia gang aka "10:27 Club" bash, a Labor Day BBQ at Chris and Sue's house. For that, I have to cook enough baked beans for 14 people. I'm thinking of offering my services to "Iron Chef" on the Food Network!

What a thrill to see a humpback breach!
(Photo courtesy of
Keep in mind I'm not a completely retired individual. I still work hard at my travel writing, especially taking those great mostly-free trips that Layne and I enjoy so much. A few days after our friend Brittany left, Layne and I headed out to Dominical, one of our favorite beach towns here in Costa Rica, to stay again at one of our favorite hotels, Villas Rio Mar, a comfortable and affordable eco-lodge. It was Villas Rio Mar that invited us back, this time to take a complimentary whale and dolphin watching tour. It seems they got such a good response from my last story on their hotel in The Costa Rica News (TCRN) that they wanted me to write another piece, this time focused on the upcoming whale season, when hundreds of humpback whales visit the shores of Marino Ballena National Park just down the road from Dominical. Watch for my story on that trip in this Sunday's edition of TCRN.

Then there's our puppy Winston. Yes, he is indeed a great source of joy and his antics make for some funny scenes, but raising a young Lab is not all fun and games. There's his training, for example, which I'm happy to report is now going very well since the addition of "treats" to our curriculum. Boy, does he pay attention to me NOW when I say "heel." He's improved so much we even felt comfortable taking him out with the gang for a hike last weekend, him in a borrowed harness and extendable leash. He loved it! 
Hiking through El Pueblo
Sniff, sniff. And what is THIS?
So many good sniffs to be had, so many new sights to see and so much trouble to try and get into. But with Layne and I heading to the US in a couple of weeks, we have been desperate to figure out the best place for him to stay while we're gone for two months.
"The gang" at lunch after the hike
L to R: Kat, Darlene, Layne, Sue, Chris, Glynn, Bonnie & Stephen (is he asleep?!)
In a major test of one such option, we took Winston up to Chris and Sue's last Monday for a trial run to see how he would get along with the two dogs, Turley and Lola, who live next door. They actually belong to Carmen and Roberto but with them out of the country, Chris and Sue are providing foster care. Another reason for the visit was to try out some of Chef Chris' fabulous homemade pizza. I even got a turn at "working" that dough, per Chris' instructions. And the end result was oh so good.
Yours Truly "doughing" it
Might not be pretty but sure was good! 
Winston seemed to have a great time, too, once Turley stopped "attacking" him as the interloper he was. But they soon discovered how much fun it could be to have a playmate and they spent the rest of the afternoon running and playing all over the large property. 
Those blurs are dogs, Winston the dark one
We are cautiously optimistic that Winnie will be happy there with our good friends and his new doggie pals. Layne and I have been majorly stressed over this issue. Well, Layne doesn't "stress" about much; I do the stressing for both of us. We are so grateful to our friends Darlene and Glynn who cared for him when we went to Dominical, although there were a few problems in his house-training. Now we feel pretty good about him staying with Chris and Sue while we're away.

So if you think we're just hanging out down here in Costa Rica, laying on the beach, reading books, enjoying good dinner parties and hikes... well, you're right. But it ain't easy having so much fun! 

Check out Layne's book "Moral Turpitude," now available for FREE at High adventure with corporate intrigue, danger and romance; from the exotic jungles of Borneo and Costa Rica to the erotic jungles of San Francisco. A great read! Pick up your copy here -- 

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