Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Howler monkeys

Even tho' we've lived here for six years full-time, I'm still blown away by the sights and sounds of the bush.  We hear the howler monkeys to the SW of us as they move from Xunantunich, down the river and into the hills.  There are also a couple of troops to the east of us, but they've always been in the distance.  About a week ago we were startled to hear the roar really close.  It came from the tall trees just behind our guest house.  During the day they were quiet and I assumed they had moved on, but then, just before dawn, the roaring resumed.  When Rene came to work I followed him as he cut thru the bush, allowing me to get a very restricted view of our visitors.  They reside in the tops of the very tallest trees and ours are so close together, it was nearly impossible to get a clear view.  I was able to get a couple of photos, but in the camera they just looked like a small, black blob in the trees.  When I was able to zoom in, I could see this was a family.  A male, female and below her, hugging her tail was a baby.  Wow!  A couple of days later I heard them again and tried to get a video of them.  I tracked them again and was able to record their sounds, but couldn't actually see them.  So frustrating to not be able to get the sights and sounds together.  At least tho', I have the memories to remind myself of this astounding place. 

I've been trying to upload my photos of the Howler's, but not having any luck.  They've now been here for several weeks, moving between our place and the neighbors.  What a gift to have had this experience.  Our place is a blessing and a comfort every day. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting sick in Belize

As I wrote the last post, I decided to share what's been going on with me.  I'm always apologizing for not posting more often, but this time there's a reason.  Kidney stones.  The thing that's frightened me the most is getting sick down here.  There is medical care here, but the hospitals are pathetic giving you a less than confident view of how you'll be treated.

A few nights ago I was awakened by a pain in my back.  It wasn't a sharp pain, more liked I'd been punched and bruised.  Of course my mind conjured up all sorts of possibilities to set my worry gene into hyper drive.   Whatever, I had to get up and headed for the old glider that used to be my Mom's.  The pain subsided and was mostly gone the next day, only to be repeated when I tried to lie down the next night.  After another day and night of this I decided to go see Dr. Sanchez.  He's a lovely man who is from Cuba and has a really busy family practice.  Some years back he saw Art and diagnosed his blood clot and sent him to an internist.  We so appreciated his professionalism.  Anyway, thankfully it was raining that day so his office was basically empty.  I've been in there when it's so full you can't get in the door.  After giving me a checkup he sent me for some lab tests and then to get an ultrasound.  Right there as little blips in my kidneys were some stones.  Well darn!  One was trying to pass and another on it's heals.  I also had one in the other kidney.  I also found that I had a raging infection.  Whew!

Dr. gave me some do's and don'ts and some pills to help me get past this.  Now I've heard intense stories of people and their pain, so I wasn't sure how much to expect.  I'm trying not to get to complacent about the whole thing, but I feel so fortunate, at least up to now.  I've had to sleep sitting in my faithful chair (thanks Mom), but during the day I've been basically pain free.  Trying to lie down was a whole other issue.  After three nights/days of this, the pain seems to have disappeared, hopefully meaning the little devils found their way to freedom.   I'm still tired, but so thankful to be doing so well.

I still feel that if I had a major problem, I'd get on the first plane I could to the US and our health insurance, but I feel that there are caring Drs. here (thank you Dr. Sanchez) who will do their best to make you well. 

Rain in the jungle

Sorry US.  I know that so much of the US is struggling under oppressive heat right now.  Our family in Oregon and Washington have told us that the temps today will reach 100 and higher.  We've just gone thru that and now - wow, the rain is really hitting.  I just checked the satellite and we're in the path of a huge front.  Lots of lightning and thunder and RAIN.  You haven't experienced rain until you've been soaked in the jungle.  Actually, that's probably not true.  Lots of places get intense rain, but right now, this is pretty intense.  The consolation here is that it's still warm.  Don't know how we'd handle it if it was cold.  Temps here will still hover in the high 70's and 80's until the rain subsides.   Our big old Bailey is afraid of the thunder and always stays close to us for reassurance.  The pups are a little more blasé, altho' when the last big clap of thunder hit, we had all three in the house.  We're so pleased with our little place as the veranda all the way around is a haven for the dogs and us and keeps the house from being pummeled by the weather.  From the looks of the satellite, we can expect this to go on for quite some time as we're right in the middle of the path.  We'll be curious about the river when we finally go down.  Once again, we're so blessed to be us where we can enjoy the river, but don't have the flooding worry.  Can't convince the Gringo's of that, but once you  live here reality can hit.  We're waiting right now for a break to let Bailey out.  We don't wear boots, just Crocks to slog thru this.  Weird!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The dry season is hopefully over

Haven't heard much from anyone so am just touching base.  After struggling for over two months of 100 degree weather, the dry spell finally ended on schedule.  Go figure.  We got rain on June 1.  We're now getting rain late every afternoon.  What a blessing, altho' the humidity is high all the time.  It's still in the 90's every day and 70's at night, but loving the change. We felt so lucky, living on our hill as we have wonderful breezes which don't reach down by the river.  Rene likes to come up here to get away from the heat.  It's great to not have to be quite so conservative with our water, just have to check that we've had enough rays to get us thru the evening without running the generator.  Living off-grid there's always something.  We're lucky tho' as the folks in the village have to worry about the fact that there are countrywide power outages and the village has been without water more than they've had it.  Something about their pumps.  Anyway, we're blessed. 


We're both doing fine.  I'm trying to stay active, but the weather has made it hard.  Errands take up some of the time, but boring.  We're waiting to hear from our realtor as to whether we'll remain with her or try it on vour own again.  Nothing happening, altho' several places have sold near our village so maybe our turn will come. 


Our dogs continue to be a blessing.  The setters are so loving and loyal.  Their antics keep me laughing.  Shannon really describes the term "dogging".  Wherever I go, she's right there.  Bailey is much the same way, but at a distance.  He's looking good, but at 12 years he's showing his age.  For a 135# Akita he's doing great.  I don't want to think too much about it and for now he's doing well.  He continues to be a true friend and such a blessing.  We couldn't have made it here without him.  I hope we can get  him home again. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Legal issues in the US

Watch out as I'm digressing big time.   Here, living in the bush, my news feed is the internet.  There's something really satisfying to be outside, looking in, but it's also very disturbing to read about the craziness that seems to be taking over our beloved country.  Living in Belize with a much more basic lifestyle and few laws dictating every breath we take, gives me an interesting comparison.  Some view Belize as a dangerous country as they hear murder statistics.  Yes, there is violence here, as there is everywhere in the world, but the greatest share is in the City.  I can't say with authority where and why, but I do know that we don't feel threatened here, but rather feel watched over by our village and neighbors. 

Today, the news was about a case before the Supreme Court in the US, deciding how the police are supposed to treat a mentally challenged person who is threatening others.  GIVE ME A BREAK!  If a person is a danger to others, who has the rights?  How do the police determine that a person has a mental issue?  Will every criminal with a rifle in hand holler, "I'm mentally challenged", and you have to treat them specially?  That's what's really insane.  More and more it seems that the criminals have all the rights while everyone else is just a victim.  People want and expect the police and the laws to protect them and give them justice, but there the laws themselves seem to be the crime.  I can't imagine anyone, unless they have a death wish themselves, wanting to become a police officer.  They have to know and juggle so many laws while being diplomats, always in the view of the public with their cellphone cameras.  How many of us could survive that constant scrutiny?  Now they might be called upon to be psychologists or psychiatrists to be able to judge the person they're facing who doesn't really care.  Every criminal will be laughing at all of us, claiming a mental issue.  Heck, we're all a little crazy to put up with all this BS. 

We're hearing more and more from disenfranchised folks in the US and Canada saying that they want to get out.  They're confused, saddened and frustrated with the direction things are headed and the futility of it changing. 

We live outside the US for economic reasons.  We can afford to live our little life here on our social security.  We do return to the US once a year for medical reasons.  More and more as we're in the downward end of our lives, we're questioning whether to return to the US or remain in our peaceful, simple life here in the bush. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trooper - AGAIN

Boy, this is really getting to be almost too much.  We keep the old Trooper as a backup vehicle and to have a car here, even when the truck is gone.  It's also part of Rene's pay that he can take it every-other weekend so they can do their errands and shopping.  He had to take his wife, Bonita to Melchor, Guat. to see the Dr. on Saturday.  He took the car to Benque and they walked across the border and took a taxi to the clinic.  I had a call from him that the clutch went out on the Trooper-AGAIN.  This could make this old girl (me) get even older really fast.  I quickly phoned Chindo and asked for his help.  He sent one of his fellows with me to get the car going.  I told him I could go by myself, but all I could do would be look at the darned thing, kick it and maybe swear.  Actually, I can't even swear as Rene is quite religious and I don't want to offend him.  We stopped in San Ignacio to get a clutch slave cylinder and then off we went to Benque. 

I digress here as we all get quite frustrated when we have to go to Benque as it is quite close to us here, but there isn't a road south of Bullet Tree that crosses the river.  We have to travel back east to San Ignacio and then back west on the Western Hiway to thru Succotz to Benque on the border.  The whole trip was probably 20 miles.  The mechanic bro't a large piece of cardboard, slid under the car and made the repair.  It didn't take much more than 15 minutes.  Bonita and I chatted while the fellows took charge of the repairs.  Once running again, I told Rene we'd follow him home to be sure that nothing else happened.  We left the Trooper at the shop as they discovered some missing bolts on the transmission.  They even delivered the car up to our place the next day.  It's such a blessing to me as Art no longer drives, so this car shuttling gets tricky.  Now for the good part.  I was gone from home a total of two hours, most of which I was accompanied by the mechanic and our labor bill was $30bz.  The cylinder was $70bz, so we got off exceedingly cheaply.  Thank goodness as I have to license the old thing this month too to the tune of $200bz for a year.  Here's hoping all the lights etc. work in case they inspect her. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Car repairs

I guess the powers that be got tired of hearing me whine about our transportation problems because we now have both cars sitting in our parking area, raring to go.  After a couple of false starts, the Trooper clutch seems to be cooperating.  Smooth!  After thinking he had a new valve body for the Tundra pickup, Chindo found another used one somewhere, and fixed it just for the price of the parts.  Sure can't complain about that.  We'd already dropped a chunk of change with him for the initial work on the transmission, so this sure made us happy.  After over a month of dinking around with not being able to trust the truck, it's great to have it back. 

I have to say that living here can be a challenge to our patience, but the other side of that coin is that we've also met lots of really nice people. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm back with a new (to me) computer)

I've been so frustrated since my previous computer died.  This makes three in five years.  The humidity is a killer.  I was so fortunate that my dear friend, Diane, had an old Dell laptop that she wasn't using.  I had to have some work done on it, but was able to limp along.  I just checked an realize that I already regaled everyone with my computer issues.  Anyway, I'm now in possession of my slightly used Acer, which was carried down by another dear friend.  When you buy on eBay, from a pawn shop, I was worried I'd be disappointed.  I'm so excited that it's even better than I hoped.  The price was great and it's in terrific shape.  I just wish my signal was as good, but when you live on the fringes, you take what you can get. 

We're still struggling with car problems.  After spending a bunch on the Tundra transmission, it's worse than ever.  There's only one shop in Cayo that works on transmissions, and he's frustrated about getting the parts.  He now thinks it needs a "valve body".  He located a used one in Crooked Tree, which is north of Belize City and had it bro't down.  Wouldn't you know, it was for the smaller Tundra.  Pooh!  Now our truck is up on a hoist and it may never come down.  I was almost in tears when the clutch gave up at the same time on our old Trooper.  It now has a new main cylinder, but, it just locked up on me again.  Can you hear me screaming up there in the States?  I managed to get it back to the shop where they bled the brakes (???) put in more fluid and it's working for now.  I just had to attach a hanging bit on the bumper with a zip tie, but I'm not complaining about it's looks or dependability.  With 300k really hard miles on it, you have to love the poor old thing.  We're all getting old and worn, but we just keep trudging along. 

Bailey update.  For those who know and love our dear old dog, I want to let you know that he's made a huge improvement.  I was preparing myself to have to say goodbye to him, but he's responded even better than we expected to the treatments.  He's actually more like he was when he was a lot younger.  He's ragging on the pups, chasing his tail (what's left of it) and being much more active.  He's still losing dead hair, but I can tell it's because the new hair is coming in.  A month on an antibiotic, vitamin C and a daily dose of Cod Liver Oil seems to be the answer to his immune system failure.  Whatever, we're so thankful.  It's going to take a few months for him to have his beautiful coat back, but he's beautiful to us.  Blessings