So, it's 9:30 p.m. and I just finished making Jell-O. Turns out Robin's class is learning about the circulatory system tomorrow, see, and...well, I can't claim to know the details, but apparently it requires Jell-O--which you can sort of see, right? I mean, it's red and all--and ice cream which, come on now. That's just pandering to the fourth graders.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Do yourself a favor and stop by my friend Ralph's to enjoy his fabulous photography and excellent writing.
Monday, September 28, 2009
So, the girls are back with me for the week. I showed them the expo pictures and gave them their little octagonal paper boxes of candies and let them each pick a promotional pen, and told them about seeing monkeys and a toucan and a morpho butterfly and a big red snake.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
So, we got here just fine. The trip was scenic, although the phrase "very 'Romancing the Stone'" was uttered at least once, in conjunction with glancing out the window on the passenger side and seeing neither pavement nor guardrail (guardrail? Wait, I've heard of those...) nor, particularly, any sort of ground or stopping point on the downhill side of the car.
It's hot but pretty (see below - that's the view from our stand), the cabin we've borrowed from friends of the bosses is simple, comfortable, and also pretty, and the Expo is in the spot and at the time we were expecting, so that's all good. No Internet at the cabin, but we do have access here at the booth.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
You know what's not that much fun? Packing.
Let's see. Two overnights at the beach (for work). Too hot for what I usually wear, dressier (Saturday at least) than what I'd normally wear at the beach, possible client visits outside the Expo schedule...it's just so complicated.
I expect to have Internet access some of the time, so I'll probably be able to post a comment or photo or two (perhaps of the "enduring Cold War relic"), but if not, then I'll see you Sunday.
Posted by Jennifer at 8:14 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
It's true. I looked it up. Bob came to Costa Rica six months ago today.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Fifty bucks later, we're back in business.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We finally watched Monsters vs. Aliens and I've gotta say: Eh.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The car didn't pass the inspection, but not for any of the reasons I worried it might not.
The nice thing is, the car is now legal (I get a month from the first inspection date to correct any failures), and the reinspection only costs half as much ($10 instead of the full $20).
Friday, September 18, 2009
- I have an appointment for my annual car inspection tomorrow. I could've sworn it was due in September, but when I checked the sticker it turns out it was actually supposed to be done in August. Oops. I hope it passes; the brakes have been fixed and fixed again, but they still feel a little hard first thing in the morning (go ahead, Steve). Hopefully the drive over - and, for that matter, Bob's use of the car to go to and from work earlier in the day, will get them to their "normal," and even more to the point, hopefully their "normal" is, in fact, perfectly fine.
- I've been putting the girls off watching Monsters vs. Aliens for days now - not because I don't want to watch it with them, but because I do and it's hard to work that out on school nights. We really must watch it tomorrow.
- The four of us are going on a picnic with Jan and Dan and one or more other friends this weekend. I hear there's going to be a puppy!
- I've been playing Scrabble online, via Facebook lately. It's fun and exactly the same as the table version, except for the ability to look every random word up in the dictionary instantly, leading to a higher proportion of stuff on the board that none of the players has actually ever heard of. Each player has up to 24 hours to complete a turn, so time zones aren't an issue. Yesterday I lost to a friend in Germany - curiously, and due to licensing issues, the game is avaialable to everyone in the world except those in the U.S. and Canada.
- "The sauce of least resistance" is a good phrase. It's pretty self explanatory, and it's what we had for dinner.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Steve buzzed me this evening to ask Bob and me to help another blogger out by filling out a simple online survey to help her kids' 3/4th grade class can learn about other communities, both in the United States and around the world. I did it, and I know they'd love to hear from any of you as well :)
Also, you know what's cool? Watching kids learn new concepts. I was playing cards with Julia this evening and she was keeping score. She generally adds up the points on the cards by counting the hearts or clubs or whatever on each card. But when it was time to add one hand's score to the running total, she couldn't do that. 29 + 13. She wrote the equation:
She thought about it, and was obviously starting from the left. I don't know if this is how they are learning to do it in school, or whether it's simply her instinct based on reading. So, she came up with "thirty-twelve" - now, she knows that's not actually a number, so she was really surprised when I told her she was right. She thought about it a little longer and determined that "thirty-twelve" is more commonly known as "forty-two."
Later on, she did the same thing again, getting "seventy-leven" for 58+23, and then parsing it to 81.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This is just six kinds of wrong. Starting with, now I have to make sure not to load (or scroll) my blog while the kids are around for the rest of the week.
Tut, tut. Not funny at all. [snort]
Posted by Jennifer at 9:35 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
No school or work tomorrow, as it is Independence Day. Ergo, it might as well be Friday. And this is my blog, and here is a kitty:
We won't discuss how many pictures of her back I ended up with, in the course of getting these.
My sister read the following text (supplied by Robin) out loud, with startling accuracy, during her Skype call to the girls, just because they asked her to.
I'm told it's a lot more fun to listen to than to perform, and I believe it must be, because it's totally fun to listen to. It sounds like a turntable mix of the Swedish Chef.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Today in things that make me want to look at a map to see if perhaps San Rafael lies on a direct line between Panama and Honduras
We've had rather more US Army AH-64 Apache* attack helicopters flying directly over the house this week than you usually see in a quiet suburb of Heredia.
* Or possibly AH-1 Cobras, which is Bob's theory.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I think the rainy season is finally back.
This year, though, the "Little Summer of San Juan" never went away.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
That on this day, the 10th of September, 2009, at 3:19 p.m., I did see the first Christmas tree of the season, and yea it was very large.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
September 9, 1989 was my first full day in Costa Rica.
I came here because, following my year in Kenya, Costa Rica seemed more manageable (read: closer to the United States, both geographically and culturally) than my originally-planned year in Japan. (A bit of backstory can be found here, for any what needs it.)
In other words, I came to Costa Rica more because of what it was not, than because of any particular thing that it was.
I'm not sure I actually knew much of anything about Costa Rica when I arrived, except that it was in Central America, and that the language was Spanish (of which I spoke 10 words).
I certainly didn't expect to stay, settle, marry, divorce, have children here. Not that I had any idea about where, when or with whom I might eventually do those things, but I most definitely didn't think it would be here.
When people ask how long I've been here, and I tell them, they always ask if I "like it here," or remark that I must like it.
Which is funny. I guess some people do have strong feelings about where they live, but I tend to like some things about any given place, and dislike others, and you just live where you live. The various circumstances of my life to date being what they are, I happen to live here.
In today's world of relatively affordable air travel and email and VOIP and blogs and digital cameras and whatnot, the distance really isn't the thing. The culture is different, sure. Sometimes that seems like a non-issue after all these years, and sometimes it doesn't.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Protect pizza from the cat
Wait while Torchwood loads
Monday, September 07, 2009
It's been a long day - no holiday here (although we do have one next week); in fact I got wrapped up in a project and stayed later than usual today - enough to put me into horrendous rush hour traffic. And I've been busy at home as well, so I'll leave you with a quick "far from home" sighting of the day: A car with a dealer badge from "His & Hers Auto Sales, Zebulon, NC."
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Well, not a do-over, exactly, but the damage has been contained.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
So we had a massive lightning strike in the neighborhood and of course the power went out. The two computers downstairs just shut off, because they have surge protection but no power backup.
Friday, September 04, 2009
- There is a plastic bag of orange plastic squares at work that looks so much like processed cheese that they decided to keep it in the refrigerator.
- The virtual turtles on my iGoogle page love me. The virtual tree frog on my iGoogle page loves flies.
- There's a tiny gecko in my bedroom. This makes me happy.
- There's a new burger stand in the neighborhood, and we tried it today. It's a 5 minute walk away, very small, very clean, very friendly, with reasonable prices. The food was okay.
- Julia picked the first guava of the year from the tree at school today. The principal turned it into a special event.
- Robin got 104 on her Spanish test.
- The joke of the moment is as follows:
Q: Why did Tigger stick his head in the toilet?
A: He was looking for Poo[h].
- Special bonus joke (from a different moment):
Q: What's brown and sticky?
A: A stick.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Letter to the editor titled, "Do something of importance instead of writing letters."
Posted by Jennifer at 7:31 PM
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Two days in a row, that is, of dropping the girls off at school in the morning and then not being able to start the car when I get back into it.
The first day, I messed with the battery contacts and it started up okay.
The second day I actually tightened the one contact that was loose to the touch, and then it didn't start. The "hey, Stupid, your keys are in the ignition and your door is open" chime came back on, but the car still wouldn't start.
My nice Nicaraguan neighbor who works on cars was dropping his son off too, saw me with the hood open, and came over to help. He messed with the contacts while I tried to start the car and it worked. (I do like me a small town.)
My working theory is that the loose contact prevented the battery from charging adequately while I drove the day before. I'm not sure how that theory fits in with the car-starting-on-the-second-try part of it, but I guess we'll find out tomorrow morning.
(Interesting side note: I stopped and started the car a bunch of times in the 24 hours between the two incidents. Maybe there's a force field around the school and I should just park around the corner.)
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Our neighbor in the intervening house (between where we currently live and where we would like to live) knows the family that moved out and came back, and today I finally had a chance to ask her what happened.
She says the place they were all lined up to move into turned out to be horrible in an unspecified way; so bad that they turned around and came back. I gather the utilities were cut off (which is unusual here - water & power are normally in the owner's name and any quarrel over the bill has to be resolved or [not infrequently] absorbed by the owner when the tenants move on...but either way nobody would stand for moving into the place if the utilities are suspended because the only way to get them back would be to pay someone else's, probably considerable, bill.) And some other even less-specific things happened, including something possibly even vaguely threatening, and they turned around and came back. Happily, the landlord (who also owns the intervening house, which is its reverse twin) is a nice guy and had no reason to object to having the house inhabited for a bit longer.
My neighbor says the family is still looking to move, and is on a waiting list for some other place, so hopefully something suitable will open up for them, which will open up their suitable house for us. She'll let me know when she hears anything, and next time it looks like things might be moving, I'll go to the owner (who has a jewelry shop between here and town) and offer to put down a deposit so he won't be tempted if anyone else shows up.
I told the girls the whole story when they came back to me after school yesterday. Of course they recognize that it's another step for Bob and me, and that may take a little getting used to when the time comes, but overall they're very much in favor of it. The prospect of their own rooms and 24/7 access to the cat haven't hurt at all, and there's been lots of talk about who will get which bed and which room and what shelves and such.
It already seems very real to me; I can picture us all in there so easily (and I've never even been in farther than the living room) that I won't be surprised if it does come together in the fairly near future - a few weeks or a month or two, hopefully.