Monthly Archives: June 2013

Unless you fell off the treadmill and smashed your face, nobody wants to hear about your workout.

My Proof Of Life Process

Like many of you, that read this blog, I was not compliant with my address notification to the Social Security about my living in Panama and was one of the people that would be scheduled to have my Social Security payments stopped. Refer back to the Proof Of Life post.

Here is what I have done. First I acquired a post office box at the post office in David. I was fortunate enough to learn of one that was going to be freed up and took it. I asked a friend to send me a letter to test that it was working and to measure the speed. To this point it is over 3 weeks and his letter has not arrived.

I don’t consider this to be unusual as I had a letter sent to my mail forwarding address in Florida and it took almost a month to get to me. Getting mail in Panama can be a struggle.

However, it is better for some of us in Panama than others. I was talking with Larry Shane, who is the Warden in Bocas, and he said they were receiving about 4 deliveries a year. If you want to send anything out, it has to be ready to be picked up when a delivery comes in.

Obviously anyone living in Bocas will never have the opportunity to respond to the SSA notification letter in time, so Larry is working with the Embassy in Panama City to find a solution.

Back to my process. Having the post office box, I was ready to fill out Form SSA-21 to update my address. I downloaded the form and took my first cut at it. Before mailing it to the Embassy, I decided to scan it and send it to the FBU in Panama City to have them validate it.

I must be having my share of the stupids because it took me three times yesterday to get the form filled out so that it had all the information that was needed. Personnel in the FBU helped me and walked me through fixing my errors. Thank you FBU!

Now that I have the form correctly filled out, I will mail it (registered mail) from the David Post Office to the FBU department in the U.S. Embassy in Panama City. I will most likely call them a week after I mail it to verify that they have received it.

The FBU will then handle the communications with the SSA and that should take care of me for the next two years.

I know there have been a lot of other suggestions of what to do. I will remind you that if you wind up having a problem with your SSA payment, it will be the FBU department in Panama City that will have to bail you out. You might as well start building a relationship with them now rather than later.

In another week, I will be compliant. How about you?

Once in a While

There is a Toby Keith country and western song I like that has the following phrase, “I ain’t as good as I ONCE was, but I am as good ONCE as I ever was”.

That phrase always puts a smile on my face, or is it that when I have a smile on my face I think of that phrase. No matter, I am sure you can relate.

As we get older, I think we appreciate things more that we may have given little consideration when we were younger.

Age is a good thing for some things. There is no need to rush like there is no tomorrow and as we get older we realize that each of our tomorrows is a gift and should not be wasted.

Yesterday, Lilliam and I had the opportunity to meet with a couple of students and their professor from Muhlenberg College in Allenstown Pennsylvania. They are on a six week exchange program to Panama. They spent four weeks in Panama City and now they are in Chiriquí.

There are five students, each staying with a family in David, and each with an organization they are assisting. One was working with Nutre Hogar, one of my favorite organizations in David. One was working with Chiriquí Hospital. Two were going to a clinic in San Felix each day. I forget who the fifth student was working with.

It is always fun to meet with students, whether US students or Panamanian students, and see the exuberance they have and their hopes for the future. The visiting students are studying Spanish and the professor from Muhlenberg is their Spanish professor. Part of their intended experience is to get acquainted with the cultural differences between the countries.

One of the students had now traveled to 11 Spanish speaking countries. Several I would like to visit and a few, I don’t care to see. I envy the experiences that they already have compared to the experience I had at their age.

I invited the professor and the students to drop me an email about their experiences on this trip and I said I would post them. I hope they take me up on it. These will be great memories for them and I am happy they took the time to share part of their time with me.

Spending time like yesterday is just one of the things I love about being in Panama. It is like being on vacation 365 days a year. How great is that!

Back to the phrase I like from Toby Keith’s song, I think I have a change for it that is more appropriate.

I ain’t as good as I ONCE was, but I am as good ONCE as I ever was —– ONCE in a while.

If you are not familiar with Toby Keith’s song, here it is on YouTube.

I’d love to hear your long story.
If you can make it short.
And interesting.

One day I’ll look up from my phone and realize my kids put me in a nursing home.

Tres Piedras

Tres Piedras is the latest book I have read and I just completed it today.

I know the author, Robert Hatting. He has helped me on multiple occasions with cases I have had volunteering as Warden for the US Embassy in Panama.

One case was a young man whose father (a treasure salvager) was murdered off the coast of one of the locations mentioned in Tres Piedras. Bob’s knowledge of ships provided excellent consulting for the young man who needed to sell his father’s boat. Bob appraised it and his estimate was on target.

Bob’s ship experience winds up being a large part of Tres Piedras.

On another case, Bob volunteered to be the auctioneer to help me sell off the belongings of a US Citizen that was murdered in Panama and whose kids could not afford to come to Panama to settle their dad’s affairs. I imagine auctioneering is something he picked up during the cowboy phase of his life. The country in Bob shows up in this book.

I have read and enjoyed another of Bob’s books, which was The Last Fruit Stand on Guam. Yes, Bob spent time in Guam and added that experience to his book inventory.

Bob has lived an interesting life and his life’s experiences seem to find their way into his books. Tres Piedras is his latest and he calls it a novella, because it is shorter than most of his other books. The majority of this book takes place around Panama.

In an opening note in his book he wrote the following.

TRES PIEDRAS was inspired, and certainly influenced, by my recent exposure to the woman I’ve dreamed and written about my entire adult life. She was always a fictional character; the loyal life partner that made life worth living. Now, this heroine is part of my real life and inspires not only my imagination but my way of living.”

I am happy that Bob has a lady in his life. I am happy she is making writing as well as living fun for him again.

I will tell you this. This book is written in ADULT language, and the scenes contain plenty of sexual narrative. If you are prudish in what you like to read or if you have a weak heart, I would pass on this book.

However, if you want to put a little salsa in a dreary afternoon, it will spice things up for you.

Whenever I delete an app from my iPhone, the shaking icons make me think they’re panicked over who’s being cut from the team.

I broke up with my gym. We were just not working out.

It’s Going To Be A Great Day

It is 7:45 – 75 degrees – the sun is shining, and I feel wonderful! I know it is going to be a great day.

I am going to the Fronteria soon, and plan on enjoying the scenery all along the way.

Some days you just get up and say, “WOW – I am happy to be alive!”

Yesterday we got to spend some quality time with a good friend in Potrerillos. I got to have a piece of the most scrumptious pie I have ever had. I found out it was an old secret family recipe and couldn’t get a copy or I would have had to be killed.

No problem, when I need another slice, I will just head to Potrerillos!

It is Saturday and time To reflect on all that is going right. I hope your week has been as wonderful as mine and the next week is even better. I know mine will be!

Enjoy your weekend!