Forgive me readers, it's been three weeks since my last post. Salma had a bad cold and cough - in fact the doctor prescribed a corticoid, an antibiotic and Benadryl. Then I caught the cold, and we are both just now getting over our maladies.
No photos, sorry. The recharchable battery on my Kodak Easyshare camera is no longer functioning. I can't find a replacement here in Panama, so I'll have to order one online and have it delivered. That will take a while.
We're all doing relatively well, alhamdulillah. Laura ordered an aerobics step and a step DVD from Amazon.com and is getting ready to start steppin' here at home. She used to attend the step classes at Gold's Gym in Oakland and she always enjoyed it tremendously.
Salma is growing daily. She is energetic, even a little frantic at times. She likes to laugh, be tickled, shake her head, grunt and roar, and lately she has been pulling herself up to an unsteady standing position. She is endlessly fascinated with animals, loves to smile at people, and is recently putting up some resistance at naptime. She's becoming a bit of a Baba's girl (Daddy's girl) and sometimes I am the only one who can put her to sleep, much to Laura's chagrin.
She has outrown her bassinet, so Laura and I left Salma in the capable hands of Ani, our part-time nanny, and headed to Panama City to buy a toddler bed. This was our first time leaving Salma alone for an entire day, and I felt bad about it. We went to a place called Poppy's on Via España. They had a lot of choices, but all much more expensive than I had anticipated. But we were looking at a convertible crib that functions as a toddler crib, then converts to a toddler bed, then later can be expanded into a child's bed. Laura assured me that it was a long-term investment and would suffice for Salma until at least the age of ten. So I bit the bullet and shelled out the bucks. I negotiated a discount for paying cash, but I didn't have quite enough, so we went across the street to the ATM and withdrew as much as we could (there is a daily withdrawal limit). This left us with barely enough to pay for the crib, and not enough to pay Ani when we got home.
It was hard work getting the bed to fit into the car. Three young men helped us out and worked on it for several minutes before they finally got it all in. The passenger seat had to be pushed all the way forward, so Laura had to sit sideways and with her legs squeezed together tightly, and even then we had a piece sticking out the rear window. But we made it, and Salma has a lovely new bed that will last her for many years, we hope.
We got home after dark, around 6:45 pm or so. Salma had a tear in her eye when we got home and was very happy to see us. But Ani did a good job with her, as always. We told Ani apologetically that we'd have to pay her tomorrow, and Laura gave her a ride home in the car.
I've been going to Penonomé for Friday prayer, working hard at my online businesses, and trying to find time to exercise. My Hapkido students quit coming. I am thinking of coercing the gardener into practicing with me for an hour every morning. That's how desperate I have become.
Laura bought me an iPod Nano for my birthday and it's the perfect gift. I've downloaded audiobooks and the Qur'an, Spanish lessons and songs, and I've subscribed to various NPR programs, like Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation, that I always enjoyed in California. I plan to listen to it while taking my evening walks here in El Valle.
The rains have become regular and the frog population is once again exploding. I am pleased, as I was worried that the fungus epidemic last year had wiped them all out. At night they are a veritable orchestra of whimpers, whines, groans and mutters.