Tom’s excellent veranda photos…Purchasing a new laptop…A must before the next adventures…

An iguana basking in the sun.

Sightings on the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom’s photo from the veranda of this Flame-colored Tanager.

Over the next several days we’ll be posting Tom’s photos (at quite a distance)from where he was seated on the veranda while I was indoors ironing clothes.  He considered coming to get me but feared if he moved his gorgeous subjects would fly away.

Entrance sign to Zoo Ave (In this case “ave” refers to “aviary” in Spanish.

I was impressed by his photos and although a bit blurry from the long distance, many clearly defined the variety of feathered species landing in the vast amount of greenery surrounding this lovely Atenas property.

We’re looking forward to sharing the photos in our “Sightings on the Veranda in Costa Rica” section over the next several days.  As we wind down these remaining 12 days in Costa Rica, we’ll finish posting photos we’d yet to share from various sightseeing venues we visited during our over three-month stay in Atenas.

Map of all of the animal rescue areas at Zoo Ave in Alajuela.

With time rapidly wafting away, I knew the time had come for me to order a new laptop.  My current Acer laptop is definitely on its last leg after purchasing it while we were on the Big Island, Hawaii around Christmas-time in 2014, making it almost three years old.

It’s the longest I’ve had a laptop survive since the onset of our travels in 2012.  With Africa on the horizon, I’m reminded of the difficulty I had when I dropped my laptop in 2014 breaking the screen, making it entirely unusable.  Click on this link here for details.

Large turtle on a rock.

It was a frustrating trying to find a replacement in Nelspruit, South Africa resulting in my purchasing an inferior quality HP which had difficulty with the letter “t”.  I kept that awful piece of equipment until January 2015 after the family visit on the Big Island in Hawaii when I replaced it making a new purchase at the Costco store in Hilo.

Sunning and funning.

Many have asked why we don’t switch to Apple products and why we don’t use iPad or other tablets as opposed to clunky laptops often weighing in excess of 5 pounds (2.27 kg.).  With Tom’s sturdy backpack, he has no trouble lugging around both of our laptops.

It’s funny how most of us get stuck on name brand and features we’re simply not willing to forgo.  For both of us, they include a 15.6 touchscreen, HDMI outlet, one terabyte of storage, and a lighted keyboard.  Such specs aren’t always easy to find.

Turtles stretching their necks toward the warmth of the sun.

Now that all new PC products have Windows 10 operating systems, which neither of us favors as opposed to Windows 8, we found we have no choice but to adapt to this newer and often painstaking system. 

But, like Tom, who purchased his laptop from Amazon on our site in April 2017 which we had sent to us in Fairlight, Australia arriving on April 5th, 19 days prior to our departure on a cruise to the US, at an outrageous expense of US $400 (227,862) for the shipping costs alone.

Pelican lounging with turtles on a log in a pond.

To avoid a similar shipping expense and being reminded of the difficulty we had making a replacement purchase in South Africa, we decided to purchase a new laptop for me from Amazon now, having it shipped to our mailing service (free shipping with Prime).

Once it arrives on Monday, our mailing service will ship the laptop and our other supplies and clothing purchases for the Antarctica cruise and the lengthy period we’ll spend in Africa.  This way the entire contents can be insured and shipped to the hotel in Florida (where we’ll be for one night on November 22nd).  Since it won’t be international shipping (Nevada to Florida), we’re hoping it will arrive on time and intact.

It’s so much more meaningful to us to see birds in the wild as opposed to in cages such as this, although these birds apparently were rescued.

Once it arrives in Florida, I’ll have time during the 30-nights on the ship to transfer all my data and get everything set up. Since my current Acer product still works, we plan to keep it and bring it to Africa.  If the old laptop it holds up until February we’ll keep it and use it as a small TV screen, in the event we don’t have a TV in the vacation property which is often the case in Africa.

May your day be filled with sunshine and light.

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Photo from one year today, November 10, 2016:

View of the bridge from our veranda where navigation of the ship is conducted by the captain and his crew.  For more photos, please click here.


Tom’s back in business…What a relief!…Fruitless doctor appointment…Visitors in more than one way…

When they miss the bit of meat, it doesn’t hurt at all if they peck at me instead.

Yesterday around 11 am, Bob and I headed to the Stockland Mall for my 11:15 doctor appointment.  I didn’t want another doctor visit after I’d already had two prior appointments with doctors for this gastrointestinal issue, one in Hobart and another in Geeveston, Tasmania.  Now, it would be three appointments.

Having received a diagnosis from doctor #2 in Geeveston after a blood test determined I’ve been suffering with helicobactor pylori, a bacterial infection I believe I contracted in Fiji eating squid and octopus about 15 months ago.

This particular infection may cause ulcers and attribute to the possibility of stomach cancer, nothing to mess with.  As a result, I promised myself I’d have the test after four weeks to ensure its gone. The doctor in Geeveston stressed how important it is to have the test after taking the two rounds of high dose antibiotics and PPI (proton pump inhibitors). 

Tom’s new Windows 10 Acer touchscreen laptop.  We hesitated over Windows 10 for some time but now it seems to be a good operating system which Tom is learning quickly.

I’d love to have been able to just do the test, get the results, and be done with it.  But, health care laws in Australia require patients to have an appointment with the doctor who will subsequently order the test. 

Having stopped at the mall clinic to make the appointment a week ago, I collected the test kit (test to be conducted at “home.”  Get it?) and brought it “completed” to the appointment. 

I’ll have the test results in one week.  The symptoms remain, although its better than it was four months ago.  Hopefully, evidence of the infection will be gone and I’ll continue to improve over time.

Specs on his new laptop, priced at AU $892.53, US $675.85 plus tax, plus shipping.

In a short time, after the 15 minute appointment priced at AU $125, US $94.65 plus the cost of the test, yet to be billed, Bob and I were on our way for a quick stop at the grocery store for a few items.  I was anxious to get back to see if Tom’s laptop had arrived.

Alas, it had, exactly at 11:30 am as the thoughtful and kindly rep from Fed Ex had promised, arriving at the door to our apartment on the main level.  By the time I walked in, Tom had the laptop charging waiting for me to assist him in the setup.

Sunny day view of the bay from our veranda.  Lovely!

It took no time at all and everything was working well.  His email and contacts uploaded in no time and he spent the remainder of the day becoming familiar with the minimal nuances and differences from his prior Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. 

Now, I’m looking forward to buying a new laptop when we’re in Minnesota although mine continues to work well enough with the exception of a few items for which I’ve managed a few workarounds.  But, like Tom’s, mine could crash as his did 12 days ago.  I continue to back up my data on the cloud and the external hard we carry with us. 

“Well, maybe a little more,” she says. Females are larger than the males in this species.

FYI, dear readers:  If my laptop crashes, I’ll continue to post each day using Tom’s laptop until we get to the US and purchase a replacement.

Now that I’ve become familiar with my new phone and have it set up to my liking, having learned literally everything there is to know over the past few days, we’re currently set with technology. 

“No!  I’ve had enough!”

Tonight, we have fun plans on the horizon.  Bob’s newest renters from a suburb in Melbourne are joining Bob for dinner at our “house” for homemade pizza (and salad). We’re making our usual low carb, grain, starch and sugar free recipe with the crusts made from cheese and egg. 

Tom captured these shots including this one shown with the two Magpies and a Kookaburra in flight. At one point there was 10 “visitors” swarming around me.  I was in heaven!

We’ve had Bob here for dinner but its been a long time since we’ve had a small dinner party in a holiday home.  Today, a cleaner Bob ordered for us is coming at 2 pm when we’ll head to town and the local coffee shop with Bob in order to get out of the way.  Having the cleaner makes the dinner party all the easier when we don’t have to clean.

I started chopping and dicing at 6:30 am when neither of us could fall back to sleep after awakening around 4:30 am.  It made sense to get up and take advantage of the time to get the ball rolling with so many items to chop and dice.

If we thought we had a good time with “Birdie” in Kauai, I’m going nuts with the Kookaburras and other birds here who now come when I call.

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos and story from our dinner party.  Please stop back…

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2017:

Our favorite of the day!  A face only a mother could love. Then again, we loved it!  Note the set of ears from an alpaca in the background.  For more on the blissful three months we spent with on the gorgeous alpaca farm in New Zealand, please click here.

Boston…Tom watched a Vikings game…They lost…How unusual? New laptop for Tom…Costco, here we come!

The entrance to One Bistro Bar and Restaurant at Four Points by Sheraton Norwood.  Excellent!

Within minutes of checking into the fabulous Four Points by Sheraton Norwood near Boston we turned on the high definition TV so Tom could watch his first Minnesota Vikings game in almost a year. 

He missed four of last season’s games when the app he’d purchased to view games wouldn’t work in South Africa no matter how hard we tried.  How ironic that the Minnesota Vikings were playing Boston’s New England Patriots yesterday.  Too bad Minnesota lost once again, not surprisingly so with the loss of Adrian Peterson.


There’s never been a restaurant that we’ve visited worldwide that better accommodated my way of eating as in last night’s dinner at One Bistro at Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, MA. We hope for one more dinner before we depart on Wednesday. 

In any case, he was thrilled to watch the game while I busied myself getting a few toiletries out of the smaller bag that we’ll need here in Boston over the next few days.  We have no plans to unpack the large bags.

The long impeccable hallway to our huge room, the largest, most well equipped hotel room we’ve had in two years of travel.

Today, Cousin Phyllis offered to drop off our laundry when there wasn’t enough time yesterday.  Almost completely out of clean clothes, we’re wearing the same clothes we wore yesterday, not an unusual occurrence in this crazy life of ours.

While at the cruise terminal, we dropped Tom’s laptop bag and his already broken screen finally took its final hit.  He needs a new laptop.  Today, we’re heading to the closest Costco to renew our old membership and purchase Tom a new laptop.   I’ve decided to live with the HP laptop I’d purchased in South Africa after I, too, dropped the old laptop, breaking the screen. 


The lush garden veranda at the hotel. 

In the past few days, we purchased a new camera on the cruise which was priced better than the online price at Costco, a Canon Power Shot SX50 HS, priced at US $369 (cost of the camera was not included on yesterday’s total bill for the cruise).  I never imagined I’d purchase digital equipment on a cruise when everything they sell is usually overpriced. 

The camera, tax and duty free was priced at US $30 less than the competition resulting in an overall savings of approximately US $60.  Let’s face it, every few years, we’ll need a new camera and laptops with the tough wear and tear in traveling the world. 


Another view of the veranda.

A more expensive heavier SLR camera is not necessary to achieve the quality of photos we find to be acceptable for our site. Plus, the lighter weight camera prevents me from upsetting my now healing shoulder injury of many moons ago.

Quickly, I’m learning to use the new camera and it’s zillions of settings.  I enjoy experimenting using the more advanced settings other than always using selecting “auto.”  Now that I’m learning to take moderately decent photos, its fun to play around.

It’s late in the season for blooms but, I managed to capture these.

As for the new laptop for Tom, he prefers another Acer Touchscreen with a 15.3″ lighted keyboard.  He doesn’t save much on his hard drive so he doesn’t require the giant specs that I do.  We should be able to find him a perfect solution under US $700.  His laptop lasted almost two years.

Other purchases today?  Yep, embarrassing as this is to say, I need to purchase two new bras.  I’ve owned only two bras these past two years, rotating and washing them often.  They’ve finally bit the dust.  Today will be my first foray to a Victoria’s Secret store in two years.  In any funny way, I’m kind of excited.


Let’s face it, the USA is opulent in ways we’d long ago forgotten.  We’re enjoying our time at the hotel in awe of all the things we’d taken for granted when we lived in the US.  It doesn’t inspire us to return but, as in many places we’ve visited, we relish in the surroundings.

After that, we’ll make a quick trip to a Walgreen’s, which I’ve also missed, for a few toiletries, new power toothbrushes and a few cosmetic items.  Its been difficult, if not impossible, to purchase some of the simplest products while outside the US these past 20 months.

How do we feel to be back on US soil?  I’d expected to feel elated or, if nothing else, a little in awe.  Instead, we both agreed…we love our simple life in often remote locations.  The traffic, the noise and the commotion we encountered at the cruise terminal and later at the car rental area at Logan Airport only confirmed our decision to live differently than in our past life.  No offense is intended for those who live in big cities or surrounding areas.  We all strive to find our “place in this world” wherever that may be.


The sun was filtering into the hotel lobby early this morning.

We aren’t the people we used to be.  Although, we must admit that when we entered our huge modern hotel room, our mouths were agape at the amenities that have been far removed from our reality these past few years.  We don’t require as much as in the past much of which years ago, we easily took for granted.

Last night, we dined at the hotel’s highly recommend restaurant, One Bistro, with Cousin Phyllis for the best meal I’d had in ages. (Contact Kelli Boyer at Four Points by Sheraton  for conventions, parties and group functions).  Fabulous food!


The beautiful breakfast buffet in the hotel.  Perhaps, we’ll try this on Wednesday before we fly to Vancouver.

Phyllis had so sweetly left an awaiting gift bag of goodies for us at the desk to receive when we checked in.  Filled with nuts, cheese, bottled water and magazines (to read on our upcoming flight on Wednesday to Vancouver), we couldn’t have been more appreciative.  She knows exactly what works for us as she too, reads our daily posts. 

Hopefully today, we’ll see 95 year old Uncle Bernie, spending quality time with him and Phyllis over these two short days in Boston.  Photos will follow of our time with them.

We won’t have time for sightseeing while we’re in Boston. Someday, we hope to return when the time comes to tour the US but, that’s way down the road.  We still have so much world left to see.
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Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2013:


Its hard to believe that is was a year ago that we dined at the Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant in Diani Beach, Kenya.  For details of that date, please click here.