Thursday, March 11, 2010


Living here in Central America, I have become accustomed to things that initially made me look twice. Whenever I have people visiting, I love watching what things interest them. For example, you can buy one egg at a time here. Showing how coffee and bananas grow. How you can buy single servings of mayonnaise and milk because many people do not have fridges. You can buy fruit, garbage bags, veggies and clothes from the side of the road and fish from the back of a truck. Many electrical wires hang so close to the ground, you have to step over them. Stray dogs enter almost every store and no one blinks twice. Having spiders the size of your hand visit you in the bathroom. All these things no longer cause me to look twice, but, I did take a second look when I saw this;

Syd machete-ing down a bush, in her pink dress and sweater, in bare feet. Such a mix of girlie-girl and tom boy! Now, before anyone calls social services on me, everyone here has a machete and uses it for almost everything. They are quite handy and easy to use. I can still remember when I was talking to one of the support teachers in Calgary and he asked me where Josh was and I casually mentioned "Oh he is in the back yard sharpening his machete. " I heard Bill fall off his chair and ask me to repeat what I had just said in a very startled tone. I actually used to sleep with my machete under my bed when Paul was out of town, but now I have Uzzi, my dog, he is way better then any machete!

Until I blog again!



My last entry I blogged about how quickly the kids were growing up. I have pre teen children and both have larger feet then me! Syd is already borrowing my clothes and Josh picks me up off the ground, just because he can. So, how do I enjoy those moments? I let the kids non verbal tell me when our hug is over, I try and be very present when they are telling me something important, I touch their shoulder and look them in the eye when we talk. I take a few extra minutes to cuddle at bedtime as we talk about our day. I tell them often how glad and proud I am to be their Mother.

Many times I fail at the above, but I do try. Last Saturday Joshua had his first Thai Kwan Do tournament. Josh has been so into Thai Kwan Do and has been improving considerably. We loaded up our car at 8:15 for an 8:30 start time. Needless to say, the tournament did not start until 10 ish. I sometimes forget we live in Central America. We could tell who the veteran parents were, they showed up at 10, with hot drinks, blankets, pillows to sit on and coolers of food. The stadium was freezing, well freezing for me, and we had to sit on hard concrete steps.

The kids were to first show their forms and get marked on those. Then the flighting began. Now Josh is a tough, tall and strong young man, but he also has the gentliest of spirits. I know Josh can flight and defend himself, but I must say my heart was pounding as he entered the ring to fight an older kid who had his green belt, 2 levels above Josh. I must admit, I do not get adrenaline rushes here very often, and I must say, Mama like. I became one of those mothers yelling "Kick him, harder, higher, go for it!"
The 6 groups of kids from our Province waiting to show their forms.

Josh with his silver an bronze metal. Proud of you son!

It was a really great day for many reasons. Josh got to show his skills, I got to hang with friends and I felt like I was finally part of the community I live in. Getting connected has always been easy for me. In the past, with my job, the kids schools and activities or Paul's job I was always immediately networked. Here, especially because of the language and cultural challenges, connecting has been a challenge. That has been tough and lonely for me at times.


Deep thoughts by Linda.

If you have face book, Paul has Josh's entire fight on his profile, he is the one on the left.

Until I blog again.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Every once in a while, it hits me really hits me hard how quickly the kids are growing up, how little time I really do have left with them and how fast life flies by. I had one such moment yesterday after hanging the laundry. See for yourself.

Here are our jeans. From left to right: Syd's. mine, Paul's and Josh's jeans, (Which are already too small for him). Note they are almost all the same size.

Another of these moments came when Jenni asked me who was the woman sitting beside Paul at the Jazz Featival and why he had his arm around her. A little alarmed, I looked, only to see Syd and Dad, enjoying Uncle Jon and his band playing rocking Jazz. Syd had her hair down and looked like a young lady.

Here is a picture of her and Lynda at the intermission at the Jazz Festival. My, how Syd has grown.

Until I blog a gain.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Celebration Panama Style

This past week we celebrated the birthday of both Steve and Zion Bliss. Now there had been talk of the "man fire" bonfire they were going to have in honor of this occasion for weeks. Branches had been collected and had been sitting on the Bliss house front lawn for a while. We were told that the bonfire was going to be "20 feet tall!!!!!!" Right.

We pulled up to their house Thursday evening for the big event, and sure enough, the branches that were collecting were 20 feet high and the smell of diesel was everywhere. Now I say branches, but really, they were tree trunks. I guess Jenni and James used the wench on Steve's truck to hoist the main trunk into a hole they had dug, and it was standing upright. The first thing I said after we pulled up was to Paul "Move the car to the other side of the house now." Next was give my children the fire safety talk and look for the location of the closest hose.

Below are 2 videos. The first one is the pre-fire dance. Check out Paul's moves on the balcony. The second one is self explanatory.

We had such a blast that night,as you can tell from the videos. We all came home sweaty, stinking like smoke and covered in dirt and so tired from all the "fire dancing". The kids collapsed in bed pretty quickly after their showers. When I went to go and tuck Syd in, I couldn't resist taking this picture. So cute!!

Farm feet

Until I blog again.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOOK MA, NO,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!!!!!

For those who have a weak stomach, you may not want to read this entry.

As many of you know, we got a dog last August. This was to be temporary adoption, with the possibilityof a perminent adoption. As of Jan 2010, Uzzi became officially ours! The first order of business was to neuter him.

Here in Boquete, they run clinics every few months and neuter dogs and cats for a very small fee. It is a really great program.

Jan 31 2010, Uzzi went to have his surgery. Living in Panama I understand that sometimes the way things are run are not quite the way I would want them run. I was pleasantly surprised by the set up in the local gym. It was very organized and all the volunteers were so helpful.

11 o'clock was his check in. Now our dog is quite a lovely dog, very friendly and oh so sweet, but he is huge,(88 lbs) and he is a Rottweiler. Many people here in Boquete who have Rotties train them to be fighters. Not our puppy, he is a lover. I walked in right at 11, like every good Canadian, I am always on time, sometimes even a little eariler. It was pretty crowded, but when I walked in with Uzzi, everyone did a double take and took a few steps back. Uzzi was quite stressed, smelled fear and death and was tugging quite aggressively at his lease. We were lead to the other side of the gym where I hooked his lease onto the beachers as I checked him in, labeled him and paid my 10 dollars. (A great deal!)

Uzzi pre-op in his time out corner, all alone!

I had to wait around an hour and figured this would happen so I had my book. I honestly thought I would not have a chance to read. Typically people are so friendly, many want to practice their English with me. One person approached me during that entire hour. I didn't take it personally! I got lots of reading done!

By 12 they called my name and off we went to get weighted and given an anesthetic. As I walked over with Uzzi, I saw 3 men in my periphery walking beside me. One asked if my dog bites. I assured him he was not a bitter. They drew up the appropriate dose, and injected him with his "sleeping" shot while being held down by 4 large men. The needle actually got disconnected from the syringe, so he had this 18 gauge hanging from his hind quaters. That got pulled out pretty quickly once I pointed it out.

I asked how long until the shotworks, and within 2 minutes, Uzzi was out cold!Uzzi out cold.Check out his tongue!

He got shaved, brought to the operating table and was fixed within 10 minutes. He is so big his front and hind legs were hanging over the edges of the OR table. I was nearby and heard "Look at these!". The assistant was holding one of his bells laughing as many people came to see the "biggest ones today!" Good thing I have a sick sense of humor and laughed along.Here are the 6 OR tables, Uzzi is the one on the second from the left with his legs hanging over the edge.

He was then brought to the "recovery room" where he had all his shots, nails cut and teeth brushed. It was then many people came by and asked if they could pet him. They were too afraid before. I guess that is a good thing, he is a guard dog after all!
Uzzi in recovery room with Syd,Josh and Paul

By 1:30 he was partially awake so 4 men loaded him up into our car.

3 weeks later, and I am pleased to say Uzzi is all healed and back to his usual energetic and playful self. I did get a little worried a week ago when I noticed he was spending a lot of time in the corner of our car port with his nose to the wall. He would look over his shoulder at me every morning with a very sad look. I think he realized they are gone, for good.

Until I blog again.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We have had a terrific last 2 weeks. My sister, Frances, her son Aiden and her daughter Freya came for a visit. It is always so great to have family visit. During the visit we experienced the city, the mountains and the ocean. That is the amazing thing about Panama, only a few hours and you can see a totally different landscape and climate.

Here are a few pictures of our time together.
After a long day of travel, a 3 hour delay and a lost suitcase, my family arrives safe and sound. Panama City in the back ground.

At the Boquete Garden.

Three beauties n the beach.


Rummicub by the pool, Mom would be proud.

You can sure tell we are sisters.

We spent 3 days at the beach and really enjoyed swimming in the pool.

Dinner together in the mountains.

Lazy Sunday by the river.

It is always great to see family. We took the 10 days off home school, played Dutch Blitz and spoons, ate way too much food and stayed up way too late and got caught up on each others lives. Saying good bye always comes up too quickly. Thanks for a great visit.

Until I blog again.


Sunday, January 31, 2010


This past Friday morning, Josh joined 3 other white belts to complete his yellow belt examination in TaeKwondo. After a 20 minute warm-up + 25 minutes of demonstrating basic skills + each performing their required 3 forms + sparring with a partner to demonstrate their combat skills - it was off with the white on and on with the yellow. Here's a few clips capturing some of the highlights.

Warming up with the splits. Nicely done, Josh

Showing us how the 3 required forms are done on his way to yellow belt.

Josh demonstrating his fighting skills.

The belt ceremony. Off with the white. on with the yellow.

Group pic - with Josh's instructor, Michael (left of Josh - 4th degree black belt) and visiting Master Instructor (two left of Josh - 6th degree black belt).

Congratulations Josh! We're all very proud of you.