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First Impressions of Panama (Day 2)

We've been in Panama for two days now, but it seems like weeks. There's obviously still TONS to explore around the city, but I'm already comfortable here and it even feels a bit familiar.

First of all, I love it. For me it has the ideal balance between chaos and structure. It's very safe... people are at least as friendly as they are in the US, if not moreso. They go out of their way to help us and put up with our mediocre Spanish. Our hotel right now isn't in a great area (though not a bad one either), and I feel totally safe walking a few blocks to go to a diner.
Even though it's safe, there don't seem to be a lot of minor enforced rules. Taxi drivers ignore speed limits and stop signs. The drinking and gambling age is 18, but I've heard even that's not enforced. You don't get the feeling that you're being overprotected or treated like a child.

The food has been MUCH better than expected. There are several vegetarian cafeterias that we've found already which are incredibly good and cheap. The one we visited tonight was owned by a very friendly Chinese couple (have you ever heard Chinese people speak Spanish?). There were maybe forty different dishes they had, and a serving of any one was only fifty cents. I asked for orange juice without sugar (most fruit drinks here have sugar) and they fresh squeezed it for me for only $1!

Things I Learned This Year (so far)

On Mike Dariano

At the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 I was thinking about goals, pursuits, and directions we take in our lives. One tangential thought during that time was about what we learn to become who we are. I also thought that I should be emerging from each day, week, and month with a few things I didn't know before. Like a shell collector who walks the beach, I should have a few treasures in my back pocket. This is the first post, this will become weekly.

Instead of getting my kids to wear things to the car when they don't want to, my daughters have to carry their hats, coats, and gloves to the car. This speeds up our time getting ready, has cut down on arguments, and lets us both have a say in the outcome.

After reading The Secrets of Happy Families and finding the suggestion to let kids pick their own punishment (with my guidance), I gave my daughters a few options. When they were fighting or doing something mean to the other they could either sit on the steps for five minutes, have to do three chores, or let the other take two pieces of candy from their treat-or-treat bags. They both agreed on confiscating candy from the other one and our fights have gone way down. They've also begun supervising each other and have come whining less to me.

Blending 1 banana, 1/4c blueberries, and 1 c kale with water is good. With juicers there is a lot of pulp where it seems many nutrients get lost, with blending though, they're all there.

Bandaids solve any problem for kids. I never used to give out bandaids unless someone was bleeding, but now I give them out all the time. It's a shallow forfeit on my part but the end justifies the means.

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