We arrived here in Richmond May 30'ish 2016.


I recall people talking about the heat, and the humidity.

I was incredulous…what were these people talking about?


Currently, here in RVA

Well we've been here a year now, and I guess I am acclimatizing,

I actually think it is a bit humid today, and a trifle hot.



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year one

One year ago today we arrived at our house here in Richmond Virginia – that's after having lived nearly 11 years in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.


We actually left Mexico on 26 May; Tom, me, and three dogs – it was a long seven days. Days full of adventures – some good some bad.



So one full year in Richmond – what's it been like?

There've been a lot of changes and a lot of new experiences; a lot of angst, sadness, and happiness, it's been a mixed bag. But I think I like it. I've mostly settled in, become involved in a few new projects, the house is in pretty good shape. I have a small garden that is giving us lots of salad right now, and herbs, but that will also soon also give us squash, peas, beans, and more. I have a car, and now also a motorcycle.

The dogs seem to have adjusted to the cold – as have I, more or less. I do ok with the spring, summer, and fall cold, but not with the winter cold. It's just too much.

Richmond is expensive. This is difficult for me, the cost of things. I've lived my life being financially cautious, which worked to our advantage…we both were able to retire at young ages.

I'm adjusting. I do still miss my Merida life, my friends, my comfort. Richmond, actually the USofA still scares me. I really must stop listening to and reading the news.

I so enjoy the beauty of Richmond, the outdoors, the river, also the architecture and cleanliness. I enjoy the walks with the dogs along the river.

I enjoy the dining options. The craft breweries and brews. The free music at many of these same breweries, and to at many of the bars, and restaurants. Heck even several local museums have regular free music and concerts. Fabulous array of free music options. And festivals, goodness gracious the Festivals: Food Festivals, Cultural Festivals, Art Festival, Outdoor Festivals, Festivals for everything…

Oh, and don't even get me started on driving and the roads. I walked in Merida, mostly because driving was such a chore. The roads were/are horrible, the traffic insane, the driving abilities of others is horrifying.

Here in Richmond the roads are smooth, groomed almost. People drive according to prescribed rules, mostly. Drivers concede to pedestrians, mostly. I don't mind driving here at all.

When I left Merida I said I'd give it a year. I think I'll stay, at least for now.


Posted in eve, Everyday Life, Richmond Life, rva | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Birdland, not the jazz fusion kind

As long as I can remember I have enjoyed looking at birds. I guess I am a novice amateur bird watcher.

I've gone on bird watching expeditions. I design my home gardens to attract both birds and butterflies, and enjoy tremendously sitting in my garden and watching them come and go.

I even keep an incomplete and rudimentary bird sighting list.

I heve some basic binoculars, and I have a pretty good binocular. And I have several bird identifying books.

So far in my Richmond garden I have placed bird feeders, and a birdbath. I haven't done much with regards to specific plantings.

Regardless of my lack of trying I have quite a lot of regulars; cardenals, mocking birds, robins, starlings, warblers, grackles, and a wide variety of sparrows and finches. I have not even started on id'ing the migratory birds.

Just recently I got off my duff and identified some mid size brownish birds I was unfamiliar with. Brown Thrashers: a first for me.

The Brown Thrashers are great fun to watch. They are archaeologists, constantly digging. They pound down so hard they lift their bodies off the ground. I am enjoying them very much.
yesterday I was sitting on the back porch and Tom was trimming one of the bushes. I noticed two little sparrows jumping in and out of the bush and had to stop him. We looked in the bush and there, close to the top, now practically exposed was their nest with 4 little mouths begging for food. Needless to say we discontinued the trimming and are hoping the little Chipping Sparrow babies make it.

One of these days I hope to identify all the variety of finches and sparrows.

I really like sitting in my garden and watching birds.

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queen of the highway

Tom and I met in 1972, not to long after that we moved in together, rather I moved in with him.  At some point he got a motorcycle. In 1974 we got married.

We traveled quite a bit on that motorcycle.  Over time we upgraded to bigger motorcycles.  Continued to travel on his motorcycle. Somewhere around 1991 I took a motorcycle safety course and got my own motorcycle.  We continued to travel, but now on 2 motorcycles;  Up until we moved to Mexico in 2006.  We both sold our motorcycles, and never bought or drove any whilst in Mexico.

I recently posted about shopping for boots for motorcycle riding, and taking another motorcycle safety course.

I took my course a few weeks ago, and passed.  It was a 2 day, 8hr a day course.  Pretty thorough, and a very good refresher and reminder of safety while riding.

There were 10 students, I was the oldest, including the instructors.  We spent 8 till about 11 in classroom, then went to the field for on bike training.


our trusty steeds, waiting to be used and abused


this was my ride for most of day 1, mid afternoon I had to trade out for another bike, the clutch was going out.


I finished the course with Kiara, very spunky little bike.  

I passed my class, and got the certificate I needed to get my drivers license endorsed for 2 wheel vehicles.

I already had a motorcycle, Tom bought it, and his several months ago.

honda sabre1100


I recently got on mine.  Took it to a large parking lot and got familiar with the feel and operation.

The bikes we trained on were 125-250cc’s. and about 320pounds.  My bike is 1100cc and weighs about 615pounds.   This is the same type bike I had before we left, just different year, and color.

Going to need to do some short trips to get adjusted to the muscle groups needed for driving a motorcycle.  I am about 12 years older, and in way worse shape than when I used to drive.

But it’s going to be fun.


“Motorcycle Mama”
 Tell your Daddy and your Mama too
You got something better to do
Stick around the house the rest of your life
You’re eighteen you can do what you like
You’ll be the queen of my highway
My motorcycle mama
We’ll see the world through my Harley

We’ll get matching jackets and helmets too
We’ll get respect from the towns we ride through
We’ll sleep at the roadside in the soft green grass
And if the squares walk by we’ll let them pass
You’ll be the queen of my highway
My motorcycle mama
We’ll see the world through my Harley

And maybe in a year or two
We’ll have a little one
She’ll look just like you
We’ll add on a sidecar
Electric guitar
We’ll be a trio
The baby makes three, oh

Tell your Daddy and your Mama too
You got something better to do
Stick around the house the rest of your life
You’re eighteen you can be my wife
You’ll be the queen of my highway
My motorcycle mama
We’ll see the world through my Harley
We’ll see the world through my Harley
We’ll see the world through my Harley
If the chain don’t break

Posted in Everyday Stuff, motorcycles | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

things that make you chana aloo

So it's funny the things that make you do other things.

The other day I was in the grocery store, I always check the sales bins before progressing through the store and I found a package of naan bread,and it was on sale. Two rather large pieces of naan for $.57 what a bargain. Of course I had to buy it, so then what do you do once you purchase a package of discounted naan?

You make some curry of course.
So today Tom took off to buy a second hand workbench for the bodega, and to run some errands, so I made a big old pot of Chana Aloo curry. Yum!

I wish it looked better in the pot, but once you add the yogurt and the brown rice and cilantro it looks very nece, and super tasty. Completely vegan, until the plain yogurt, which I use instead of sour creme.



Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

RANT – Patient First

private jet in flight clipart2017, 24 January I flew to Mexico.  Just a few days prior to this I had a scratchy throat.  I thought perhaps it was from a few get togethers with friends where I laughed, and talked, a lot.

By 27 January I was miserable, cold/flu symptoms, difficulty breathing, tightness in chest, congestion, coughing.  I felt awful so I went to a doctor.  He told me I had an infection in my lungs; bronchitis or pneumonia I guess.  He prescribed an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and an expectorant.

I got a little better, but I was sick and miserable the whole time I was away.

On 2 February I flew back to Richmond.  BIG mistake.  3 February I stayed in bed all day. Everything had resurfaced, and it also  moved into my ears.

4 February, a Saturday, I knew I needed to see a doctor.  I knew I couldn’t get in for several days if I called my regular doctor, so thought ER was my only option.

imagesBut No, here in Richmond there is a franchise called Patient First.  You use them for non-emergency stuff.  This is from their webpage – Providing non-appointment, physician-directed urgent care to: Midlothian, Chesterfield County, Robious, Hylton Park, Ramsgate, Old Gun, Tinsleys, Forest Hill, Bon Air, Salisbury, Staffordshire, and Powhatan County.

I contacted my Health Insurance to see if I was covered…If the physician (Scxxx Grxxxxxxxx) was in my Plan.  He was, which meant a $40USD co-pay.

So Tom drove me, we waited, maybe 45 minutes after I filled out the reams of paperwork, and let them run my credit card, which you must do else leave.  I was told they would only bill what my insurance didn’t pay.  I did not understand then what that would mean..  Then I was taken in to a large space with lots of workstations in the center, and a ring of small exam rooms around the perimeter.

I was shown to a room and an intake person came in and asked about my symptoms, and took my height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc.  Then another person came in and started doing things, no conversation or explanations; just throat swab, nose swab,  breath test, then I was told they had to do an xray to be sure my lungs were clear.  Now mind you I am sick, not feeling well at all, and not in a good place to be thinking clearly about what is going on.  Oh, and all this is without having yet seen a doctor, or being advised of separate charges for each of these pokes and prods.

So all these things are done, and I am back in the exam room.  I don’t know for how long because I fell asleep.   So the doctor comes in, a brief greeting and starts reading off a computer monitor and advises me I do not have strep, Influenza A, or B, and that my lungs are clear.  He then asks me about my symptoms and how I feel. He listens to my heart and lungs. He proclaims I have bronchitis and prescribes something to fight bacterial infection,

So on my way out I asked for a printout of the bill, a receipt.

I was devastated to see this –

  • 46usd, strep test
  • 41usd Influenza A test
  • 41usd Influenza B test
  • 113usd xray Chest, PA, Lat
  • 45usd peak flow measure
  • 213usd office visit
  • 66usd extended hours charge
  • _______
  • 565usd     and here I thought I was seeing a doctor for a 40usd copay.

I received notification several weeks later from my insurance company that they would not cover 257.97usd.  then right quickly I received from Patient First that they had billed the balance to my credit card.  And they did do exactly that.

So my warning, do not use Patient First, because you definitely do not come first. Not a single aide, nurse, or doctor actually introduced themselves.  And not a single person explained what they were doing, that it would incur an additional cost, or that I had any choice or say so in the matter.

By the way, this treatment plan, 10days, did not resolve the issue.  I ended up seeing the PA at my doctor’s office and went on a prednisone treatment that did eventually resolve the infection in my chest.

So there you have my rant about PatientFirst.  Perhaps had I not been sick and so debilitated I’d have had my senses about me and dealt with the treatment differently.  I was sick, and therefore feel the ‘medical professionals’ bear some responsibility for not understanding the nature of these things and being more forthcoming and outright in their treatment.

Posted in Everyday Stuff, medical care, medical costs | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Happy Dogs, Healthy Dogs

Hard to believe but it’s been nearly a year since we left Merida, Yucatan, MX.

One of the things that will always mark the anniversary will be the dogs checkups.

Today the girls went to see their new vet; Dr John Gray at Boulevard Animal Hospital.

A while back I inquired via a facebook page for our area about veterinarian recommendations, his name was mentioned several times.

So one day I stopped in and just sat and watched people come and go; and I talked with the office staff and a vet tech.  I liked what I observed and felt.  The office is clean, although a bit dated.  I met Dr Gray and spoke with him too.  So without checking other recommendations I decided to give him a go.

Today the girls, yes, all 3, and yes, all at once, went in.  Thank goodness Tom was able to come along.  Wrangling 3 dogs is a bit of a chore.

One super cool thing is the rabies vaccine is good for 3 years.  The girls got a check over, weight, exam of eyes, ears, and general body check.  Temperatures, heart rates, and weights were taken.  Tech and Rubi conveniently dropped a load while walking around the vet grounds so fresh stool samples were checked on them, all clear by the way so I won’t be collecting from Ceniza.  They got the rabies, and the DHLPP, which protects against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus.

And we got a 10% multi dog discount, SWEEEEEEEEEEET!


They have been pronounced to be in excellent health, an excellent weight, and overall the vet was impressed with them.   These girls are so good they even had the staff calling them well behaved.  You guys know different!



Posted in Everyday Stuff, our pets, Veterinarian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments