In Tropica it’s always guest season. Living in a vacation destination means a lot of houseguests. I enjoy picking people up at the airport and having the stimulation and fun of visitors.

Being a good houseguest is an art, but it can also be a learned skill. If you have friends living in interesting places, and you are lucky enough to be invited to stay, it means you can travel all the more. So it behooves you to treat your hostess like the treasure she is.

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New Year’s eve morning as I write this. I’ve spent the week between Christmas and today pondering the events of 2016. I’m surprised at the number of surprises I had in 2016. It was a year of surprises.  And I’d like another please.  I believe this is because of my new commitment to extemporaneous living, instead of planning everything out.  There’s a flow going on.

Here’s my list. I suspect you had tons of surprises too.  What’s on your list?

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Keep calm and sparkle on

 

In keeping with my theme of making Christmas more meaningful and gentle on the soul, to calm the longings and the expectations met and unmet, of Christmas’ past, present and future…here’s an update.

I live in a provincial state capital of Tropica.  It’s a tropical city of a million although it doesn’t feel that way. I live on a funky street. The safest street in the world, but funky.

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Into the Rapids

The only way to navigate the rapids is: calmly.

In Tropica I spend a portion of each month making the rounds of the various utility companies to pay each bill in person and in cash. It’s the price of a low voltage life in paradise.

As I left the electric company and drove to telephone company, I had a dull thud revelation.  I don’t need to rush anymore. I said it to myself again to make sure I understood correctly.  I.  Don’t.  Need.  To.  Rush. Anymore.

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This is luxury:  Swimming in the Gulf and not seeing another person as far as the eye can see.

If April is the cruelest month, then August is the lostest month. And it’s a good time to find yourself.

Staycating is the ultimate vacation destination in August. The world is on vacation: crowds, higher prices, delays.  True, there is a sense of joining in the fun, and many art and music festivals are held during this high season. But…

…the best secret of August is your own house.

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As many of you know, I live in Tropica where it’s slow, hot and green. This past spring, I undertook the task of having my house painted. I had been putting it off for years and it was time to face the music. As is local custom, I hired one painter who methodically worked his way through the house, inside and out. I was prisoner of my house for the six weeks it took, rising early in the morning to let him in, driving to buy more paint and supplies, letting him in and out,  waiting until he finished at six.  It was relentless and mind dulling.

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A crown to remind me that I’m the queen of my life, the queen of me.  A queen period.*

crownI’m not the charm bracelet type.  Charm bracelets were for me, something my mother wore in the 50’s.  No, I’m a modern woman. I’m minimalist.  Try to wear little or no jewelry.

And now I’m here to tell you…I have a charm bracelet!  It is a modern version of a charm bracelet and I love how it tells –not so much the story of my life — but rather, about my dreams, my thoughts, my fantasies, desires and loves.

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Lately, fear has crept into my life.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when, why, where or how.  I never used to be a fearful person.

When I was younger, I’d make a plan and go for it.  Move to New York and go to grad school? Yes! Quit my job and start a business? Yes!  Move to a foreign country to write a novel? Yes! Marry a foreigner?  Be the founder of the Merida English Library?  Yes and yes!

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