Thursday, December 27

Wait's almost 2008

You can guess what the waves have been like when I tell you I saw a guy fishing off his surfboard.
January should bring better waves and some new photos.
A big shout out to the rad surfer boys from Brazil, Venezuela, and Costa Rica!

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas to All

Hoping all your Christmas wishes come true.

Friday, December 21

Mele Kalikimaka

Every year, this special ornament finds it way to the top section of my tree. It's from my roommate when I lived near Honolulu. It's been almost 30 years now but it is very special to me still. I loved Hawaii at Christmastime but not as much as I love living in Costa Rica. Watching all the cold weather on t.v. and then walking out my door to go to the most beautiful beach, I feel very fortunate.

I've had great fun decorating and cooking for Christmas. I've embellished on the egg nog recipe adding coconut flavor and strawberry. I bought the bottles of flavored syrup they sell here and add it to the nog. A tropical twist on the traditional egg nog treat. Costa Rica has egg nog, it's called Rompope (rome-poe-pay). The nickname for it is "Pomche". With coconut syrup, I call it 'Coco Rompope'.

The countdown is on for the Santa showdown and I hope this finds everyone in the Holiday Spirit and enjoying this special time of the year.
Pura Vida and ENJOY! (take a nip of nog)

Aloha shout-out to BreeWee in Hawaii and my old roommate, Kathy Tugman and her family.

Thursday, December 20

Eating Tips for the Holidays

My friend, 'Texas Terri' in Jaco, sent this to me and I couldn't resist passing it along....

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday
buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an 'eggnog-aholic' or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole
point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a
volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the
volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim
milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to
control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello!?!?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table,
like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice
of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert -- Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the
party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19

Cookin' Chain Reaction

Turns out, Thanksgiving was just a warm-up for some of the cookin' I've been doing lately. Nostalgic stuff like Sandies (Mexican wedding cookies) and last night, I made a big pot of 'Chicken 'n Dumplins'. Just the aroma of it, smells like home. It's a dish I typically make on a Sunday but TUUUUesday seemed like a good day, too. Making the Sandies is a real trick now because I've used up the confectioner's sugar I brought from the States. I really don't know where to find it here....
Painting the bottles for the egg nog batches I've been making has resulted in plates of sweet treats (brownies, sandies and cookies) to accompany it.
I'm posting a couple of fool-proof recipes that I hope you will enjoy. Just click onto photo to enlarge. If you want to know how to make Chicken 'n Dumplins, just let me know. It's cheap, it's fast, and it's soooo GOOD! Bien Provecho!

Tuesday, December 18

Little Jaco Now

This photo was taken from the Mirador inbetween Hermosa and Jaco. I see this scene everytime I go to town. I look in awe lately (especially at night with all the lights) because I can't believe little Jacotown may soon become a city. The next Cancun or 'Jacopulco'. In the past two years, construction has really taken off with the building of highrises on the beach and elsewhere. Major development. In my opinion, over development but we'll see who buys into the hype.

Typically, this time of year, all Costa Rica pours out to the beaches. Jaco is the closest hot spot from San Jose so we get the big crowd here. Little by little, the beach camping is being blocked off and the 'egg eaters' are having to find new camping spots. They (the Muni) have signs posted on the beach stating no camping, no cars, no ...., you get the idea. It's not enforced so far but the casinos and highrises are not complete and not occupied yet. It will be a totally different scene next year.
(the locals coined the name 'egg eaters' because these vacationers don't have much money, they bring their own food and don't eat in restaurants much)

When I lived in Hawaii, people joked that the building crane was the State bird there. Looks like a flock of cranes have landed in Jaco. Progress? - Bah Humbug.

Monday, December 17

Bah, humbug!

I went on a special mission to Jacotown to capture the spirit of Christmas with my camera. I just wanted some photos of decorations and such. I wasn't expecting to see downtown 5th Avenue in Naples, Fl but I didn't see ANY lights for Jaco. In years passed, Jaco Municipal would string lights across the beach strip street from end to end. It was magical. The big businesses would spell their name in the lights. Yes, a bit commercial but Jaco looked like it had the Christmas spirit.

The Municipal decorated their building, but sparsely. They put up the manger scene inside the stairwell as always (minus Baby Jesus right now). I can imagine maybe the 'Muni' is low on funds with all the new sidewalks being put in. There's been many good changes around Jaco lately with roads, lights, etc.

When I really miss all the lights and fanfare of Christmas in Florida - I will go to Los Suenos Resort in Herradura (a neighboring town).
It's a wonderland. (As in - 'I wonder where people get all this money?')

Thursday, December 13

"Tis the Season..." (rewritten)

to pay, pay, pay. If you live here, you probably know that taxes are due on your car. It's called Marchamo. If you don't pay and put the sticker on your car, well, you'll have problems next year. There's a little grace period and then the Transito (car police) have check points with a tow truck for those that haven't paid. The amount of this tax is dependent on what type of car you have. I have a 1995 SUV and my payment is about $220. This payment also provides minimum insurance on damage you might do with your car. Truly, I have no idea what the tax is for but it's due before the end of the year.

It's time to pay the "Aguinaldo", the thirteenth month, to your employees. It all has to do with how long they've worked as to how much they are paid this "bonus" at the beginning of December. I'm grateful I don't have this payment, it's a big one for long time employees. It's one of the reasons I haven't created "work" (aka income) here. The system is set up that I can't work but I can hire employees and profit from their efforts... maybe or maybe not. I've seen many businesses come and go in Jaco. The mandatory payments for employees are very costly. They all know what their due is and you will too when you have workers. I learned and unless you have a dynamite business, excellent employees AND Staying Power (you can float during rainy season), it's hardly worth it.

Property taxes are due, also. They are due in January for 2008. It's a 'nominal' tax, so far. Nothing like the taxes I was paying in Naples, FL. I think I paid more in taxes last year for my car than for my house. There's some "big talk" about property taxes increasing, DRAMATICALLY (from $300 now, to $6,000 in the future). If that's the case, I'll be blogging from Florida.

Garbage pick-up is also due if you pay by the year, paid in January.
That's about it, I think...? Oh, one more, your post office box rental. If not paid by the Jan. 30th, there is a 50% late fee.
Not having an income keeps things simple. Poor, but simple. Pura Vida.

Monday, December 10

For readers in Costa Rica

Not to give you a blow by blow detail of my day but I did go to town to pay my car insurance. I went to the bank (Banco National) and the snake line practically reached the door. I left and went back, still the same long line (same snake formation). Frustrated and really not wanting to pay for car insurance since it's not mandatory in CR, I did some other stuff and returned home. There's a five day grace period anyway.

As soon as I walked in, the phone rang and it was the insurance company reminding me my premium was due today. I had inquired last week about reducing my coverage so my premium wouldn't be so high but it was by email and I never heard back from anyone. It's an old car and I've heard it's rough getting money out of insurance to pay for damages. I asked again and come to find out, it is WAY cheaper not having coverage on my vehicle, just coverage for everything else. It went from c80,823 every three months ($160.) to c29,766 ($60) every six months! PLUS, they gave me "THE TICA MACHA 30% discount". That's what she called it. I don't know why, maybe because I've never reported an accident in all these years (and my car is in Tica Macha's name). I didn't question it.

I say all this to say, ASK AND YOU MAY RECEIVE. People don't willingly give out info here, you have to ask the right questions. As far as I know, there are many agents but only one insurance company in Costa Rica - INS.
I got it all done in less than 15 minutes by e-mail, fax and phone and yes, credit card.
"Now, THAT was easy." (from the Staples commercial)

Computer Solution

Susan, here in Jaco, sent this to me as condolences for my computer problems. Looks like a good solution to me!!!
I may just have to take up drinkin'! I'm off to go to town to pay my year end taxes and car insurance.

To WolfieCR: You say I CAN'T buy the English Version of XP in Costa Rica?

Sunday, December 9

Gratitude Sunday

Sometimes I just have to stop myself and think, things could be worse. I'm bummed about both my computers being on the blink but I did finally make it back to the doctor for my tests and everything is fine with me.
THAT'S what really matters. Good health.
I swiped this photo off of Yahoo of the vet's arm in the crocs mouth he was treating.
Talk about biting off the hand that feeds you...
God knows, I have a lot to be grateful for and no more whining about a stupid computer.
I'll get my computer and files all sorted out one day,,, or NOT.
"Now, THAT was easy."
Pura Vida.

Saturday, December 8

It's never easy....

You may have gotten the idea that living here in paradise is wonderful and it is IF you don't try and get anything done. Living in a beach town, well, we've got plenty of booze and bars and beaches but getting other stuff can be a real hassle.

Recently, my desktop computer took a dive and I thought I had it licked by buying a new computer ($520). I had bought Windows XP operating system about a year ago when this same computer clocked out on me. I had Windows ME on it (original from Dell) and bought XP to install on it. When it died again (this last time), I was told I could reinstall the Windows XP on my new computer. Well, I can't. It was purchased for one use, on one computer.

I finally got up the nerve to untangle all the cords and start plugging it all in yesterday. That's when I discovered that I had to buy XP ONE MORE TIME ($220). Most of the time, problems here are easily solved with money. Most of the time, it's information given on a need to know basis and by the time you reach the solution, you've damn near broke the bank.

I say all this for those that may be wonder why I am not posting. I am in computer hell at the moment and will be here for AWHILE. Seems the English version of Window's XP is not available at the moment in Costa Rica. So I wait. I've learned to do that quite graciously since I've had loads of practice living here the past five years.

Thanks for listening to me vent. "And this too shall pass."
"It's only money" ..... until you run out of it.

Thursday, December 6

The Process

I don't know about you, but I love to see other artist's workstations. You know, where stuff is created. I love arts and crafts and there's not one you could mention that I haven't tried or want to try. Now, I'm on a bottle painting kick. I made Marta's Cuban Egg Nog last week and was hooked immediately. Good stuff. Creamy, liquid sugar with a good helping of Ron Centenario Blanco rum. I want to make it for others and thought I'd use my bottle collection to present it.

I'm a confessed hoarder and I've been saving these bottles, waiting for a perfect project. Since I'll be making the concoction here, I'm calling it Costarrican Egg Nog - I'll be using Costa Rica rum (maybe the coconut kind, too). (I don't think Costarrican is spelled like that but that's how the people here spell it and say it. Like the town Santa Ana, they say "Santana". Go figure)

The basic fire design I'm painting is pretty much mindless and I enjoy that. I could have gone with a Christmas theme but I'm hoping they will save the bottles and stash their own "liquid delight" in them. Or use them for candle holders....??

The tree is decorated and the bad lights are out in the trash. That was a hard one for a hoarder. I always thought I could fix them. Then, I saw a Christmas tree go up in flames on t.v. AND I noticed they had tags that said "made in China". I'm still trying to boycott China. The list of bad products from China just keeps growing.

Did I mention I got my new computer tower? It's a mammoth. HUGE. I can't figure out why with all the new technology but I didn't pick it out. I told 3-D Computers I needed one and they delivered. Kinda like adopting a baby. I took whatever they got me and happy to have it. I've been afraid to even plug it in. I know once I start loading all my stuff back on it, I won't be glass painting.

'Tis the season .... to have fun.

Wednesday, December 5

Just One More Day

Hasn't everyone felt like that at sometime in their life? Wishing they had just one more day to be on vacation, spend with a loved one, gather info off their computer...
Yep, my computer died. Maybe it gave me warnings with the messages I was getting when I would sign off but I didn't realize it was telling me goodbye. It just died last week in the middle of my work. I got a message from it in computer lingo basically saying "you're screwed".
I took it to 3D Computers in Jaco for Armando to check it out. Armando knows my Dell since he brought it back to life once before. I knew the diagnosis this time wasn't going to be good so I waited a few days to check back, giving myself time to prepare for the worse. I wasn't prepared. When he told me it was fatal and I needed a NEW computer, I got that gut-wrenching feeling, like a member of my family had died. How can one become so attached to something like a computer?
Photo of Armando and Veronica at 3-D Computers in Jaco.

I have my laptop to fall back on but even it is ill. It screams at me beep, beep, beep, beep whenever I turn it on. Armando said the keyboard has a short and needs replacing. Not something he can get here in CR. I can still use it but it skips around like crazy making it a real challenge to use.
Costa Rica is hard on electronics with all these power outages and surges. It's not so easy to fix simple problems here either.

Just one more day and I'll have my desktop computer (new) back on-line and maybe things will get back to normal instead of me moping around, feeling like I lost my best friend. The solution - an external harddrive, a friend for life.

The one saving grace was a egg nog recipe I got off (Thanks Marta). I made some on the night I got the news about my computer and it helped to soothe things over. I even got my tree decorated while drinking it and watching the "My Grammy's Awards". I don't drink usually but BOY HOWDY, that egg nog sure is good and SWEET!!. I plan to whip up some for gifts this year and put in my stained glass bottles.

"Creme de Vie" - Cream of Life

Tuesday, November 27

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

"How are thy leaves so verdant"
Yea, yea, yea. Of course they're verdant, they're artifical.
Ever since I saw the big rig pull up with all the freshly chopped down (slain) Christmas trees, piled up one on top of each other, I lost my desire to have a "real" dead tree. I know, people grow them for this sort of thing, but what a wasteful tradition. Anyway, I've had an artificial tree for years, a green one. When I was young, my dad bought one of the first aluminum silver trees. One year, I'd do the whole thing in blue and white, the next year, maybe red and gold. I had fun decorating that special tree. My dad pitched it it all in the trash when I got married and he thought I wasn't coming back anymore. I was tramatized.

My first Christmas in Costa Rica, I wanted a tree. I had no idea where to find one but by some Christmas miracle, there was one at this little store and it was perfect. It was about six feet tall and came in a big four foot long box. I bought it before I realized I would be carrying it back to my place on my only mode of transportation at the time, a bicycle. Oh, what fun. I had to work hard to get that tree back to my apartment dodging potholes, cars, whatever. The photo is my first Christmas in Costa Rica when I still had Homey (my heart, the Pek-a-poo). Homey didn't make it to the next Christmas (a car hit him). Brindy (the Pit) managed to become the neighborhood puta (ho) and blessed me with the three monsters I have now. Hootie (my African Grey parrot) is not in this photo and he is no longer with me. I like to think Hootie is flying high with the Lapas (Red Scarlet Macaws).

I was sort of dreading dragging out all Christmas decor and tree. Once I got someone to get it out from the box underneath the t.v., it all started coming back to me. Looking through the old decorations and remembering Christmas' past. My first Christmas in Costa Rica was a special one. This year, five years later, it still feels special. Special in the way that it may never come again like it is right now. Somedays, I long to be back home where people talk like me and my family is near.

This year, I don't fuss with the lights. If they don't work, they're trash. No switching out bulbs until I'm totally stressed. Especially since one cord "bit" me with an electrical shock. This year, I will adorn my "verdant" tree with all colored lights and gold and white for everything else. Mostly, angels, balls, bows and garland. I will appreciate my efforts every night I adore my tree in all it's splendor and sparkle. That is, if/when I get it decorated. I belabor the whole ordeal.

I will remember my family and friends and what it has taken to spend my fifth Christmas here. I will think of my sisters, decorating their trees and wish I was home for Christmas. Better yet, My Christmas Wish is that they were HERE for Christmas!

Saturday, November 24

Black Friday

I never understood what Black Friday was until I got involved with the stock market. It was pretty sad the half-day of trading after Thanksgiving. I couldn't watch since my portfolio is in the pits.

I was actually comatosed from too much turkey and dressing. I way over did it. I made the turkey dressing using the Stove Top mix (3 boxes) but I added my own concoction of finely chopped bell peppers, onions, broccoli and carrots. I cooked it all down in the stock made from the turkey parts and added it to the dressing mix. I used the turkey stock instead of water the box calls for to make the dressing. I added about four slices of cut up toast to soak up some of the juices and then baked it for about 20 minutes. Dawg, it was good. Almost better than the traditional Jiffy Mix cornbread way my family makes it. There were some that didn't like dressing that were eating it and loving it. I've never used peppers or broccoli in it before but hay, I'm in Costa Rica and have that freedom to go beyond conventional.

I watched my fellow N. Americans storm the stores in the U.S. on the t.v. looking for bargains. Where do they get all that MONEY!! Credit cards, no doubt. It's odd to see what the hottest items are selling over there. Stuff we don't even have here. I am free of the frenzy of shopping living here. I buy what I need and as for gifts, my family and friends understand I am living on NO INCOME. Gifts will be small and hopefully, thoughtful. I'm a crafter and this time of year I should shine. We'll see how motivated I get.

Typically, I put up Christmas decorations about now. Living here, I have scaled back on the outside lights as not to be to flashy. I don't need robbers. I now wait for someone to come take my heavy t.v. off the box of decorations so I can get started. I'm in no hurry after all, we are on Pura Vida time.
Happy Holidays.

Photo taken last year in Puntarenas around Christmas time.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving to All

And let the cooking commence! Of course, it's not a recognized holiday here but with all the Gringos, all the restaurants are offering the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, reservation only at most. My friend, Dan at Sunrise Restaurant, loves to have his friends, employees, and patrons come eat at his place for a private buffet Thanksgiving dinner. Turkeys are expensive here and a 20 pounder can set you back over $60. He bought three big 'uns year. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner costs big bucks here, if you can find the stuff.

This year is like an almost instant replay of last year. I volunteered to cook two turkeys since I have a big oven. It's almost become a tradition now. Last year, I calculated the cooking time and thought I'd have time to go to the beach. I didn't consider when cooking a bird in a bag, the time is shortened. I returned to a burnt smell wafting from my house. I was in a panic since THAT WAS the featured dish! It was fine but the meat did fall of the bone. Dan liked that, not much carving to do. I learned then, it's hard to screw up cooking a turkey. Dan was a real sport about it.

This year I am ready. I consulted with Hal (a fabulous cook) and got the calculations figured out converting Kg to Lb and the cooking time. That's the hard part for me. In talking with him, I remembered what went wrong last year (cooking them in a bag) and now I am ready to commence the turkey cooking. Dan and his crew are making all the stuff like mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad, etc. He bought two pecan pies at Denny's (FORTY DOLLARS!) and some apple pies. I'm making some side dishes like the gravy and turkey dressing plus my (almost) famous three chocolate brownies with chocolate icing topped with a cherry. Oh yeah, and some deviled eggs to keep it southern. It helps keep my culinary skills honed. After all, I do profess to be a housewife without a husband when people ask "what do you do" (I hate that question almost as much as "why did you move here"!).

I've got every big dish in my house washed and ready to be loaded with goodies. A big thermos to keep the gravy hot. That's the hardest part, transporting all of it and getting that turkey cooked just before the carving time. I am still having panic attacks thinking that maybe I am forgetting something but that's just my nature.

Times like these, I do stop to think of all the things I am grateful for (like having running water in my house today) and there's too many to list. Mostly, I am grateful I have the opportunity to live where I choose and to live debt free. At Mas x Menos grocery yesterday, I saw a gringa with a one inch stack of credit cards. She was shuffling through them trying to decide which one to use. That USED TO BE me! No more. I have a new way of life living here. AND I love it!
(I can hear the "Free Bird" song playing in background)
BTW - Today is drop dead gorgeous day in paradise!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all.

Wednesday, November 21

Thunder Rolls and the Lightning Strikes

If you live near here or maybe all Costa Rica, you were probably thinking we are out of the rainy season only to be woke up at around 3 a.m. by the worst thunder and lightning storm I've witnessed this year. Talk about ending with a bang! It was so strong, the windows in my house were rattling, a real earthquaker! All my dogs went under the bed for safety. I woke long enough to close some windows and unplug my computer. I fell back to sleep thinking we got off lucky this year. We had more rain than last year but not as much rain as I've seen living here the last five years.

It's turning HOT here at the beach and this little storm was a reminder of what we didn't get this year. Soon it will be "hotter than four-hundred hells"* and we'll be praying for some rain.
*One of my Dad's favorite expressions.

Picture video off YouTube - "Thunder Rolls" - Garth Brooks

Oprah's Favorite Things Show

This was the first give-away episode I've watch since having newly discovered Oprah is televised here on ABC. What a great show. The sponsors supplied every member of the audience with all the items featured. This special show was in Macon, Ga. and Oprah turned on her southern accent. When I get around fellow southerners, the same 'thang' happens to me.

What a great concept. Oprah gets to play Santa and the sponsors get their products showcased. 45% of the population in Macon turn on The Oprah Show everyday. This was Oprah's way of showing her appreciation for this loyal audience. Here is the link to her special show.

My most favorite thing was also the most expensive. It is made by LG ("Life's Good"). I had never heard of LG before moving to Costa Rica but it is worldwide. LG Group was formerly called GoldStar and comes from South Korea. This "wonder frig" has a LCD TV, DVD Hook-up, radio, slideshow for pics, 5-day weather forecast, and 100 built-in recipes. I wonder if the CR version is in Spanish. The cost in the U.S. - $3,799.

What will they think of next? I'll be keeping my old timer frig until it croaks. It doesn't have a built in t.v. or even makes ice but it works and I so appreciate that. Life's Good.

Tuesday, November 20

"Somewhere over the Rainbow"

This post is for Sally,, and all those that have the holiday blues and want to be "home" for Christmas.
All those reasons that drew you to Costa Rica are still here.

Sunday, November 18

SURF Sunday

These guys were out there making a game of criss-crossing on the wave.

More surf photos -

Saturday, November 17

"Where the Streets Have No Name"

"Where the Streets Have No Name" and
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
These two U2 song titles pretty much sum up our recent trip to San Jose to go see the doctor.

My girlfriend, Trish, and I decided to team up and go get our tests done on the same day at a clinic that came with good references in San Jose. We both were way overdue for these female tests. We had the address of the clinic and phone number and we left Jaco early, in plenty of time to make our appointment.

I've driven that mountain road many times now but somehow, I heated up my clutch and it started sticking to the floorboard. Totally unnerving when big rigs were barreling down on my bumper. The gas stations are few and far between but we found one around the Atenas area. Everything was fine. He said it was just hot so we continued on our venture and I was conscious not to "ride" my clutch. I drove barefoot so I could grab the clutch with my toes and pull it up, if need be.

We both know San Jose just o.k. and had the address but everyone we asked told us that 25th Street was right "here" next to 24th. How on earth does anyone ever get around downtown? Even the locals don't know the system. Come to find out, we were looking on the wrong side of town. Odd numbered streets are on one side of SJ and even on the other. I think I knew that at one time but it was so odd (and foreign) that I totally didn't believe it (or remember it).

The car was parked in the secure garage at Scotia Bank. I'm not sure if we were suppose to park there but we did. Trish has had her tire punctured at one of the local parking lots (by the Embassy) so we felt safer parking at the bank. After walking the streets and asking everyone for directions, we hopped in a taxi and set out to find 25th Street. You have to have nerves of steel to drive in downtown San Jose but being a passenger in a taxi is almost equally unnerving. You just haven't lived until you've taken a taxi through downtown. Nothing can describe "the rush".

We finally arrived at the clinic in the 'bowels of hell' and were 30 minutes late (yes, I know that's a harsh description). The receptionist explained to us in Spanish that when we didn't arrive, the doctor waited five minutes and then left. She would return at 3:30 in the afternoon. Talk about two HOT Machas!!(Machas=blonds in Costa Rica) We both felt like we'd been drug through hell to get there and the doctor couldn't wait for the next appointment at least? To think of all the endless times we have waited for someone in Costa Rica set us on fire. Not to be rude, we just told her we would NOT be back in our best Gringa Spanish.

Another taxi trip back to my car and we were left with the rest of the morning to find something to do with our extra time. Of course, we went shopping. Costa Rica goes all out for Christmas and it was nice to see the Universal store all dressed up.

The trip back home was pretty much uneventful except one 18 wheeler overturned and a couple of side of the road washouts - huge drop-offs. We had picked up a dog in Pavas to return to his Jaco owner so we had to make a few stops for "Mule-e". He had been hit by a car three weeks ago and needed to go there for intensive surgery and recovery. Trish and I happened to be the first one's making that trip so we brought Mule-e back home to Jaco.

Anyone that knows anything about Costa Rica knows it's the paradise paved with potholes. One got me on this trip and I busted something having to do with the suspension/stability. My car rattled the whole way back like the undercarriage was about to fall off. I got out and checked and saw this "thing" that looked 'not normal' but decided it was drivable and not repairable on the road.
Hell bent to get back home before dark, we were.

One thing about leaving Jaco, no matter how "bad" (crime, hookers, drugs, etc.) everyone says it is here in Playa Jaco/Hermosa -
We were both so glad to be done with the trip and be back in our territory. We booked an appointment at CIMA Hospital for the next go around. They speak English and are Gringa friendly there, plus it's easy to get to and near a shopping mall. I'll pay up for THAT!

Tuesday, November 13

Totally Inspiring

Thank you God for Blogs. What a miracle way for people to connect from ALL OVER THE WORLD. I recently received an inspiring note from a Florida girl who had lived (and surfed) in Costa Rica years ago but her home now is on the Big Island in Hawaii. Just a glance at her blog is a kick in the pants for me. How can one woman do SO MUCH. She surfs, she's a triathlete AND she is a new mom (and I think I have a lot to do???).
She's one of those "Super Moms".
What's amusing is she still dreams of Costa Rica. I still dream of Hawaii. I loved living there. Hawaii is a photographer's paradise but so is Costa Rica.
I need to get busy!
You GO Girl!!! And thanks for renewing my enthusiasm. "Mucho Mahalo"

Tortilla Recipe

Ever have a hankering for REAL homemade tortillas?
La Gringa's Blogicita over in Honduras has published this amazingly detailed recipe on just how to do it. She has a real cool blog and sometimes when I'm reading it, I forget she's NOT in Costa Rica. Very similar to how things are here in Costa Rica.
p.s. "hankering" is a real word.

Saturday, November 10

Napping Pura Vida Style

Do you ever run out of things to blog about?
I have. I am hoping something sparks my interest soon (besides surf photos).
Any ideas or feedback?

Friday, November 9


What's next...

Thursday, November 8

Monday, November 5

Harry Surfing Costa Rica

Remember Harry? He was the surfer from Brazil who experienced the heartbreak of "Brok'in da Board Beach" his last day in Costa Rica. This is a YouTube video he posted from a previous trip.
Great photos and I just love the music.

Sunday, November 4

SURF Sunday - "Peace"

This surfer's name is Peace. I knew when he showed up, it would make for some great shots. Lots of color! He is wild on the water and made the bad waves today look rippin!
He's from Limon, Costa Rica and surfs in tournaments. Thanks Peace.

"If I could turn back time" - SURF Sunday

For you youngsters, that's a Cher song. Only if I could turn back time, I'd sure be in my glory these days living in Costa Rica.
We don't turn back the clock here. We are on "Pura Vida" time and the time always stays the same. I did notice that it gets dark about 5:30 p.m. now. It seems like that changed overnight.
As forewarned, today is "SURF Sunday" and I am featuring some girl surfers. One is on a surf board and the other is on a boogie board. Girls Rule!
"If I could turn back time, if I could find a way..." (sing along now)
For all you guys out there that can't go surfing, this one's for you. Dollars to donuts, you all click it to enlarge photo! Boys will be boys.

Friday, November 2

All Saint's Day

This is the day when the Saints are remembered and flowers are placed on gravesites all over Costa Rica. It's a beautiful tradition in the Latin American culture.

Halloween isn't really observed here in the American tradition of trick or treating but the Costa Rican children are catching on more and more as the years pass.
I heard of a story where a little girl was dressed in costume and went to a Gringo's house to trick or treat. She announced "Halloween, Halloween" (instead of the usual "trick or treat") and the owner of the house (dressed in a wolf costume) opened the door slowly, hairy hand reaching from behind the door and then he showed himself in full wolf form. The little girl screamed and wet her pants. I guess she wasn't expecting the "trick" part of it all, she just wanted the candy.

Thursday, November 1

"Costarrican Cowboy"

Photos taken at dusk. I had better shots but they were blurry. I'm still figuring out how to compensate for the exposure. Those white dots in the background are lights from the houses on the mountain. That mountain lights up like a Christmas tree at night now. Many houses have been built in the last five years. One day this ranch will be gone, too. It's on the beach.

Wednesday, October 31

Living Large

To me, someone that does everything myself, this is a real treat having the two surfers (Pelingo and Harry) set up my "office". How sweet! We had a little flash flood while I was taking photos and I had to run for cover. I went straight for the restaurant nearby and sat down for a "cafesito" (little coffee). The guys in the photo were setting it all up again for me after the rain. They know how long it takes me to do it!
I've been playing with the settings on my camera so I had everything all screwed up with the exposures today. I did manage somehow to get some decent photos of them surfing. I'm still working out the kinks with the camera (it's too smart).
I just love the "special" treatment from the surfers!

Harry lost his board to "Brok'in da Board Beach". That's what I named it years ago because I would always see guys walking (head hung low) with two pieces of a surfboard. IT IS ROUGH out there and one's surfing experience can be over in a split second. This is Harry's last day here and he returns to Brazil tomorrow. Sorry 'bout your board Harry.
Next time.

Today's surf photos are HERE.

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30

Sunset Today

Playing with the different exposures on my digital camera.
This looks like a cross between a sepia and color.
"Darktime" is getting earlier. Photo taken at 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, October 28

SURF Sunday

Isn't that wild!?!! This is Leo's last day in Costa Rica. Great shot Leo, thanks.
Yep Yep, 'Surf Sunday' is here.
I discovered how to post the photos REALLY HUGE too! Hallelujah!!

Church on Sunday

Not a Sunday goes by that I don't think about church and my mother. You see, my mom made a promise to God that if he would give her a child, she would give the child back to him. I am that child and sure enough, I was on that front row seat every Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night, too. When the Lottimoon missionaries would come, I was at church EVERY night for a week. Basically, if those church doors were open, we were in there. She kept her promise.
I'll never forget the time I was living in Hawaii and the minister of a Baptist Church calling me to invite me to his church because my mother had called him from Florida. Even when she was on vacation, she would be in some church come Sunday morning, anywhere. My mother was amazing. She played the piano (self taught), sang in the choir (at times), and taught Ladies Sunday School and Bible Study. I remember she never read to me fairy tales, only Bible stories from beautiful picture books. My sisters know. None of us knew what 'a fairy tale' even was until we were much, much older.
This 'Church on Sunday' I post is in remembrance of my mother, Katherine. Also, I have a blog reader (Jen) that enjoys them, too.
Thank you God for giving me to my mom.

Saturday, October 27

Surf photos

Check out the surf photos at - Tica Macha Tours Costa Rica