Thursday, April 21, 2005


My newest (and most demanding) client actually called to make a reservation yesterday - they would be sending me little mini-documents throughout today for immediate translation. No problem.

So when the secretary called just now I figured she had just sent a new one. But no. She wants to know how much it would cost to translate a 300-page document. Not 200 pages like the one that ate up the entire month of February (and half of January), oh no. Three hundred pages. Yikes!

Not that she can actually give me a word count, or even tell me if the dastardly thing will be coming out today or next week or next month, or really any kind of specific information whatsoever. Just how much please...

Please let them sit on it at least until my parrot quilt is done! Maybe my taxes too...Please!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

For whom the bell tolls...eventually

Hey, did you know (maybe you did - it's the kind of thing that would have made the news) that one or possibly two of the candidates to replace the Pope (I'm SURE you know the Pope died...) was black? I couldn't believe it.

I happened to be over at José & Yolanda's house when the news came out that the new Pope had been selected. I had to leave before they announced which candidate it was (it wasn't the black one), but it was surprising to suddenly find myself watching live coverage of a major international event...who knew?

There was this big crowd of people out in the square outside the church (or religious building of some sort) where the Cardinals were voting. There's this dinky little chimney made out of like a metal pipe with a little cone-shaped hat on top and when the new Pope was elected white smoke was supposed to come out of the chimney, then the bells were supposed to ring.

Some Catholics (that I know) think/thought that they took papers with the candidates' names on them and burned them one by one, and that the one that made white smoke was the chosen one. I had kind of heard this in passing some time last week.

So anyway I had dropped by the house and didn't really notice what was on the television until people (on TV) started cheering and people in the house said there "We have a Pope!" But then the bells didn't ring so nobody knew what was going on for a few minutes. There was a split screen showing different shots of the crowd in the square, of the smoke (it looked white) coming out of the chimney, and of the bells not ringing. The text at the bottom said "Difícil de distinguir humo blanco, campanas no suenan" ("Hard to tell if smoke is white, bells do not toll"). The commentator was saying maybe there had been a problem with the chemicals used to produce the white smoke, and conversation in the living room speculated on how they make sure it burns white - my vote was for a chemical applied to the appropriate pre-existing ballot once the decision had been made. (Wonder how they did it in the days of yore...)

Eventually the bells rang (reportedly "10 to 12 minutes" after the smoke) and it was official. The commentator said maybe the lack of synchronization was due to the fact that they don't have to do this very often...last time was 26 years ago.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Here's everybody: Alex & the girls, his parents and grandmother...(Not in that order) Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

The kids' latest love

It's called Lazy Town and it's on twice a day...but only at the grandparents' house because we don't have cable. So they see it a few times a week. Yesterday I had to make a rule that they would take turns telling me about it. We started with Julia's turn, so all I got was "It's about lots and lots of chicles (gum) in little squares of lots of different colors." Robin nearly choked wanting to tell me more, and kept asking--even at breakfast this morning--if she could take up the slack (not her words) left by Julia. But I held fast (I'm sure I'll see it myself eventually) and Robin will have center stage when I pick them up tomorrow.

Robin did tell Alex an entire episode when we picked him up at the airport last week. It took her 3/4 of the way home or--for those who've never been here--very nearly the length of an entire episode, if you don't count the commercials.

Here's the official show website.

And here's a blog entry from a guy who discovered the show when a young relative was visiting and wishes it had been around when he was getting high in college.

And if that, together with the fact that I approve of the show, doesn't get you wondering what it's's my favorite question from the official show FAQ (and one I had already wondered about) "Is Robbie Rotten's chin real?"

Saturday, April 02, 2005


This first paragraph (actually, now it's the second...) will make more sense if you've already read the previous post which, although dated and posted last Monday, didn't actually appear online until today.

So the problem with the starter was the "carbones" (The carbons? Who knows what they're called in English...) Carlos showed me the old ones - worn right down to nothing - and said he hadn't been able to get hold of brand new ones, but that he had put in some from a starter he had in the shop, and if I want to I can go back another time for new ones. Cost me 15,000 colones, about $32. Those I've asked are divided on whether or not it's a good price. Elberth, who tried to help Carlos out by removing the starter, thinks it is, because he says the thing was behind something else and absurdly hard to get at, so labor is a factor. Anyway, it hasn't given me trouble since, although every time we get in the car Julia asks "What if the car doesn't start?"

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Here's my favorite thing:
Julia almost always gets her shoes on the wrong feet. So eventually you notice and say, "Julia, your shoes are on backwards." And she looks up at you, all angelic, and crosses her feet so the shoes themselves are in the right place. She's gotten enough mileage out of that one that she'll probably still be doing it when she's 20.

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Well, I think I may need to get another dog. *Sigh.* I was the one complaining that there were too many animals, and it was only under duress that I agreed to let Alex bring home a pair of puppies last year. They did well when they had each other to play with, but one got sick and died after a few months and Emily, the other one, is...well, energetic. She just loves everything and everyone, and really really really likes to play. But she's so happy to see people that she jumps up and ends up scratching the girls, so they don't play with her much. Tina occasionally frolics with her for a few minutes - or rather used to. I don't think she's done it since she got the eye infection last month. (The infection is better, but the cataracts in that eye advanced about as far as I would think cataracts can, so aside from being old, now she has to adapt to losing half her vision.) So I think Emily needs a companion.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Meanwhile, when I got home last night there was a cool dog hanging around the gate, and around Emily, who was on the other side of it. I had to shoo it back when I opened the gate to drive in. It was still around this morning, and it agreed to sniff my hand and let me scratch its head. It's a so-ugly-it's-almost-cute bulldog. Just under knee-high, but built like a brick barrel. It had a big, thick, studded tough-guy collar on this morning, but now the collar is gone. Maybe he (I haven't lifted his skirt to check the gender, but based on the collar I'm assuming...) will keep hanging around and solve my problem. Of course there's obviously an owner somewhere, but who knows where. So I figured I'd do my part to help destiny along, and gave him some dog food and water this evening, which he accepted. (Having a boy around would probably move "getting Emily fixed" a few notches up on the to-do list...)

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

So this week I got the kids to bed and settled in to watch a video, when I heard a strange noise. It didn't really register at first, but after a while I realized it was still there, so I paid a little more attention. If I didn't know better, I would have thought it was a goose. When I heard it again, I went over and looked out the window, and there's my neighbor, throwing bread to a pair of geese. This is the neighbor who is still building his house, and he brought up a husky puppy to be a watchdog a few weeks ago. The poor thing barked from 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. the first night, and howled from 4:00 to 5:00 a.m. the second. It eventually started to settle in a bit, but I haven't seen it for a while. And now they have watchgeese. I figured, correctly, that geese probably wouldn't make much noise in the night (as long as nobody's around), but I forgot that they're barnyard animals and, as such, prone to wake up with the chickens. But they don't actually make that much noise, and at least for now it's still kind of a novelty to have geese next door.

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