A German boy of tweleve, alone and destitute and displaced, migrated from Germany during World War I, to New York City.  Before leaving Germany, his grandfather placed in his hands a wood carving of Gottschee to give him  as a rememberance of his homeland and his roots.

Not being able to speak English or make a living due to his age, he stumbled upon a furniture shop who needed extra hands in the shop. Rudolph eagerly complied.

Through an unforturnate happening, an insurance settlement gave him the means to travel to Florida and begin a new life. The wood carving still close by his side, he settled in Southwest FLorida where we met at a social gathering.

One of the many colorful stories he relayed to the group during social activities, was the story behind the carving he carried with him for so many years.

It seems the wood carving has signifcant and important historical events behind it.

A Keepsake of Rememberance

Gottschee was a strategic part of the Holy Roman Empire dating 1330-1941. There were many important castles and fortifications in and around Gottschee during this period. In 1350, three-hundred families from Germany settled in the newly formed Gottschee, where 650 years of history was born in this created linquistic county measuring 331 square miles. In 1574, the Hapsburg Archduke Carl owned Gottschee.  In 1641, Wolfe Englebrecht of Auersperg bought Gottschee. Through its turbulent times Gottschee is still held dear by its former inhabitants.

He met many Gottscheers during his short time in Germany and knew them personally. The carving connected him to them even though they were separated by many miles apart.

The Gottscheers lost their homeland of 650 years when the German and Italian armies invaded their homeland during World War II. Scattered and displaced, many migrated to the United States.            

Just like Rudolph, the displaced Gottscheers found a new life in a new homeland. It was not many years later and our dear friend left our company leaving behind his most beloved wood carving to us to see that it would find a home with a  historian collector who would love it as much as he did.

To Know Mexico Start in Mexico City

Arriving at Mexico City International Airport, officially, Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez, we were chauffeured in a brand-new, private vehicle to the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City–which was more convenient and fair-priced than most of the taxi services at the airport. We were also able to immediately see our chauffeur holding up a sign with our last name printed on it at the baggage pickup area, allowing us to skip the long lines waiting for transfers.

We were whisked away from the airport. One-hour later, we arrived at the Hilton Hotel. The bell hop extended his hospitality and warm welcome, as he transferred our luggage to our room.

Hilton Mexico City / Reforma Hotel, Mexico - Exterior View From Distance

Gazing out our hotel suite window, panoramic views of the city were observed. The hotel is situated within walking distance around the financial, cultural and entertainment center of Mexico City. Cultural centers such as Palacio de Bellas Artes–te Fine Arts Museum, Museo Nacional De Arte–The National Art Museum, Teatro Metropolitan–The Metropolitan Theatre, Torre Latinoamericana, and Alameda Central were on our list for places to visit. The streets were crowded with international tourists numbering more than 14 million a year who visit the numerous attractions of the city each year.

Hilton Mexico City / Reforma Hotel, Mexico - Terraza Alameda Restaurant

The next morning after breakfast, while sitting at the desk in our hotel room, the building began to shake from left to right about eight times, prompting the hotel officials to immediately evacuate the entire hotel by stairs to the main plaza in front of the building. After an hour, we were allowed to return to the hotel. With a population over 23 million in the metropolitan area alone, protection from an earthquake is a massive undertaking. With numerous seismic activity in the city it is no wonder that this area has been sinking around four inches annually. When we visited the Metropolitan Cathedral, we found proof with its sloping floors, which suggest the building is sinking.

Before we left Mexico City we arranged for a private tour of The Great Tenochtitlan: Mexico City History Tour. After five hours, we learned “Mexico City was built in the years following the conquest in 1521, on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, in the middle of the now drained Lake Texcoco. Today, it’s the oldest capital city of the Americas, blending native Indian (Nahuatl) and Spanish heritages. It has become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities of the world with it’s highest elevation 12,890 feet and located in the central Valley of Mexico in the highland plateau region.”


We toured the historical centre of Mexico City, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. Our tour included the “Zocalo”, the heart of the city where we visited the National Palace and admired the famous murals of Diego Rivera and saw the ruins of the Templo Mayor, one of the most important temples of the Aztecs in their ancient capital city of Tenochtitlan.

Costa Rican Pura Vida…way of life!

Come along and journey with us to Costa Rica. Find out why the culture has the happiest people on earth. The Costa Rican people are referred to as Ticos–Tico for the male and Tica for the female. The word Tico means “little brother”, which describes the people very well. Hospitality and friendliness are a way of life to them. We were considered part of their family and enjoyed warmth and generosity within the community.

The Costa Ricans respect and honor senior citizens. If one comes into a bank or any public place and standing at the back of the line, they will insist the senior go to the head of line before them. We had many occasions to experience their politeness, respect and hospitality. On one occasion, we stayed with a family who rented a room to us.

Each morning our daily food was delivered to the third floor room on a tray. No food was included in our rent, but it was their concern that we receive food for the day because we had no transportation of our own and had some disability to travel a distance by foot to a restaurant.
The word”No” is not in their vocabulary. No matter what request, they complied with “yes, we would be happy to do that for you!” Another time, the family expressed their pleasure to please us when we were treated to a delicious meal at a restaurant in downtown San Jose. The host sat us and graciously translated the menu, while giving us suggestions for our meal selection. Prompt and courteous response throughout the mealtime produced a relaxed and stress-free event.

Our experience with the Costa Rican lifestyle made us consider never wanting to leaving this bio- diverse ecosystem, with its mountains that meet the Pacific Ocean and all-natural food, with no additives or GMO’s, just to name a few reasons on our list. In fact, one American resident, after moving to the country stated he lost 100 pounds eating the Cost Rican food, without trying to lose weight.

Even though the people are easy going and less stressed, they are not slack workers but diligently seek and work to provide for their families on a daily basis. It was evident everywhere.

Pesky Fly Infestation


How am I to blame for this pesky fly infestation swirling around my head as I try to dine on my patio?

A food source is innocently placed in a white bag and thrown into the garbage container. Within a few minutes the flies are attracted to the garbage, and especially to white garbage bags. They lay their eggs on the food source. That’s just the beginning of my irritation and trouble. Large numbers of Larvae, better known as maggots, begin investing the garbage container.

This repulsive-looking mess causes me to shriek,

“Charlie do something about this weird worm infestation in the container!”

Charlie calms me down and replies,

“It’s only maggots that want to be a fly that comes and continue to irritate you on the patio. We swat and kill those flies around us and they, in turn, use your garbage to replenish the fold. Haven’t you been listening to me when I expound on the problem of using those white garbage bags? Flies are attracted to the light. They won’t enter a black garbage bag. So, stop using white bags and reduce the number of flies to swat.”

Even though the true fly has a short life, the number of flies that emerge from the larvae mess, more than compensate for one dead fly. It seems to me there is a never-ending supply around me.

Charlie and I love to eat on the patio for all our meals. I think I can beat the fly to the table for breakfast, by sitting down to eat breakfast before dawn.

It’s not long before the light begins to appear at the table, and yes, you guessed it, the fly appears, too.  A fly swatter in one hand and a fork in the other, Charlie the “fly killer king”, eats his breakfast.  The fly swatter is thrown to the ground, and sure enough, the flies know when to return.

If Charlie doesn’t kill them fast enough, I am nagging him to swat this one here and there. You’re probably thinking: “Why do you want to eat on the patio with all that irritation around you?” The answer to this question is we love the outdoors, even with flies whirling around us, and to experience each moment of beauty that surrounds us.

After one especially irritating, teasing fly returns, I wrestle the fly swatter from Charlie and kill it. I decided to look at this insect pest a little closer. The true fly of the order of 1Diptera has one pair of wings that it uses to fly with and the hind wings balance the six legs. Their wing placement gives them great maneuverability. No wonder it’s hard to swat them.

As I continued to examine this fly, two large compound eyes stare me in the face. His mouthpiece designed for lapping and sucking is what I feel when it lands on me.

Charlie in his childhood days at school would catch flies that land on his desk by watching the fly’s legs. When the fly picks up two legs to his body, the fly has less maneuverability. Charlie catches them and put them in the inkwell on his desk. The teacher scolds him when she hears all the buzzing in the sunken container on his desk.

And now that he’s considerably older, I send Charlie in the house to the glass sliding door with the fly swatter to wait for the buzzing fly to come to the light. Their claws and pads on their feet give them an ability to cling to smooth surfaces such as glass.

And for those flies he’s missed, you can find them on the ceiling at night because most ceilings are white.

I shouldn’t be so hard on the fly because they are beneficial to man even if I think they are disgusting.  Flies are second only to bees in pollination. They are used in the health field to clean wounds, and the maggots are used for fishing bait and food for some animals. The maggots also consume dead animal kill. On the negative side, the common housefly spreads food-borne diseases.

A fly is buzzing around my face so it’s time to close and chase that fly.


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You and I Are Addicts!

Shocking but true, everyone is an addict in some shape or form. Ever thought of this being the case for you? What are the activities or things you over-indulge in or can’t go without? You may not even be aware that your habit is out of control or that this behavior is causing harm to you or someone else.

The cause of any kind of addiction is not simply a search for delight or happiness. And it has nothing to do with ethics, honesty or willpower over one’s actions.

Addiction takes many forms. And here are a few to start your thinking about your addiction.

drug freePhoto by © Eckl

One common kind of addiction, which is physical, is a condition that results when a drug is ingested and he or she becomes hooked on a substance.

Another kind of addiction is when a person engages in activities to obsession. These could be hobbies, recreation, projects, business enterprise, entertainment, shopping, gambling, sex, emotional pursuits, and the list goes on. Any addiction may be enjoyable but if it interferes with daily concerns, responsibilities, and or health in the person’s life then it becomes compulsive and is an addiction.

1…People commonly use drugs, gamble, or shop compulsively in reaction to being stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn’t what matters; it’s the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.

Now that I have got you thinking about what your addiction might be, I confess mine is consuming food when I am stressed. But my determination to get my addiction under control does not inhibit a proven capacity for a solution to the problem. Confess to me in your comments on this blog.


Feature Image by NIDA: The brain’s reward circuit Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services