Saturday, October 29, 2005

The San Rafael town fair

...As portrayed by the world's most obsolete digital camera.

As darkness falls and focus goes by the wayside, I would ask that you look at these images not as poor photography, but rather as an arty, conceptual representation of the carnival atmosphere. Yeah, that's what I was going for.

These faces tell you everything you need to know about both girls' attitudes to the carnival rides:

They both went on the roller coaster, bumper cars and the ride shown above, which lifts up and rotates. THEN they decided they had to go on this dinky thing:

There was a mobile police station parked off to one side. Coincidentally, it was within spittin' distance of the (Costa Rican equivalent of a) donut stand.

In this game you pay your money (about $0.50) and hold a string. There are ten, and each one is attached to a board with numbers on it. When all ten strings have been sold, the guy rolls the hopper and pulls a numbered ping-pong ball, and whoever has that number pics a prize. José had paid for each of the girls to hold a string, but they're too short to show up in this picture. Somebody else won.

Kiddie-sized bumper cars. How cool is that?

Looking up at the haunted mansion, contemplating the spooky howls.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Well, done with the demolition anyway. Here's the final "After" picture, with the last section all chopped up:

And here's a closeup of the hard part, with a handy dog for scale (and, unfortunately, another dog who is less handy and puts his head right in front of what I'm talking about. But still, I think you can tell that this particular corner, instead of being the standard two to five inches thick, is just insanely thick.)

We apparently have at least one and possibly as many as three options for getting rid of the concrete. The friends who are building a house behind ours now say they need all of their rubble, so I guess it's possible they'd also want ours. Then there's a lady across the street who is said to be filling in a chasm and may be interested. And my next door neighbor says that the guy who cuts her grass definitely wants it. In fact, he asked for the rocks that were dug out of the construction site off our back corner, but the house behind us already had dibs. So apparently the rubble will go away eventually. Which is good.

I also found out something interesting about our yard this week. Our grass is very poor - some of it grows very fast and tall and has ropy roots growing across the surface of the yard. Some of it grows slower. And a lot of it isn't grass at all, but some kind of ground cover that seems to be taking over from the grass.

What I found out was that when they put in the grass after the house was built, they went with an economy deal: some guys just cut this sod from the vacant lot behind the house and dropped it in here.

Once I gave it some thought, I decided that this is actually good news. It means there's still hope for the yard. If we want to get all up in its face someday and rip out the nastygrass and lay down something decent, it might actually work. I mean, maybe our yard isn't inherently patchy and weed-ridden. Maybe it's just that they transplanted a vacant lot instead of laying real sod.

Scott, one of these days I'm going to send you pictures of my biggest problem area and ask you for free advice...Just so you know.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Message not quite received

My father in law has been seriously overweight ever since I met him a dozen years ago. He used to smoke, but successfully quit some years back. My mother in law, who cooks all of their meals, has begun to use olive oil instead of shortening for cooking and says they're eating less meat, but frying is still the cooking method of choice. The oven is used as a breadbox; nothing is ever baked.

On Friday, Robin went to their house after school as usual. I was supposed to pick her up for a swim meet the next day, but at 5:30 Saturday morning, Yolanda called to say she had left Robin at Betty's house and was on the way to the hospital with Jose, who was having severe chest pains, headache and nausea.

Most of his immediate relatives who have died have done so as a result of heart disease. He was kept throughout the day for observation. Yolanda went home for a while, then went back around noon and we didn't hear anything at all until 6:00 pm, when she called to say that he had been released and that they were home.

They found that his blood pressure was elevated and he was bloated. Also, of course, overweight. He was instructed to get his BP checked daily and see someone about the weight issue.

My overall impression is that they are feeling like they dodged a bullet...that "thank goodness nothing was really wrong." They both readily acknowledge that he needs to reduce his weight, and they have a general idea of what constitutes healthy eating, but I don't really see this as leading to long-term changes or significant weight loss.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Help! I'm soiled and I can't take a bath!

Okay, here's a better picture of what I did yesterday:

Also, I measured. The whole shed measured 6 by 5 meters (almost 20 by 16.5 feet) = 30 square meters (323 square feet). So the three sections each measure almost 10 feet by just over 8 feet, and the fourth section, which was never poured, is just dirt. Well, grass. Well, weeds.

Here's today's progress, Before:

and After:

See that spigot in the Before picture? And the nice, neatly capped pipe in the After? Well, I for sure have to wait two hours for the glue to set, but technically I'm supposed to give it 24 hours before putting it to a "pressure test" such as turning the water back on would entail. Hmmm, maybe I should eat out tonight.

Now, as you can well imagine, everyone who knows what I'm doing (including Elberth) has at some point said to me, "Why don't you just have Elberth do it?" And since I want to do it myself I have to make sure I do it right, right? Because...well, you can probably figure it out.

So when I got around the spigot part I called José and asked him which way the pipe angled in - from the main turnoff at the street, or from the drain across the yard where the wastewater goes (only sewage goes through septic tanks here; gray water all goes through drainpipes out to the gutters in the street.) He said the water angled in from the direction of the drain, but that it was below the level of the concrete and shouldn't be a problem. He was right about that. I was able to break up all the concrete without hitting, or even finding, the water pipe.

But I couldn't leave well enough alone. I wanted to break the concrete away from the spigot, and that's when I heard the spraying sound I was hoping not to hear...So I turned off the water, called José for advice and then found what I needed in the shed. We already had a new tube of PVC adhesive and although the construction detritus did not yield the kind of cap I technically needed, I did find a...umm...Okay, I know what it's called in Spanish. Anyway, a thing I could join to the pipe and then a cap that screwed onto that.

And, really, it's better to have the whole thing sealed off than to leave a random spigot sticking up on a bendy, unprotected PVC pipe in the middle of the yard. It would have needed to be done anyway, but still. I wish I could say I did it on purpose...

And now I can't wash. I actually cleaned the worst of the mud off my hands with water that was sitting in dishes in the sink. It wasn't that bad. And I have bottled drinking water so I could make a cup of coffee.

Hey! Since we're on the topic, here's a picture of why I buy bottled drinking water. It's the tub after I took a bath one day. (A relax-in-the-tub kind of bath, not an I've-been-hacking-up-concrete kind of bath):

Granted, that's worst-case, but you never know when the water's going to come out like that and when it's going to look more or less clear. So we don't drink it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Picky, picky

There. Showed that concrete who's boss.

Backstory: When they build houses here (or maybe everywhere, what do I know?) they build a temporary shed for the watchman to sleep in, and to keep the tools in and stuff.

They got pretty happy making our shed, and poured it a concrete floor. In fact, when we moved down here, it had two rooms (not including the chicken coop), with running water, electricity, a phone line and a woodstove. Oh, and also our (former) bed - three feet from the chicken-mite condo. (I don't know what they're really called, but there are these little bugs that live in chicken coops and I call them chicken mites. You could step quickly in and then right back out of the chicken coop and immediately find eight or ten of these tiny, colorless little bug things crawling on you. That bed never came back into the house.)

Anyway, the shed eventually came down, but Alex wanted to keep the cement. First he wanted to park on it (not a convenient location), then he wanted to keep it for outdoor entertaining (not a convenient location), then he said it would be a good place for the kids to play (no more so than any other part of the yard). The outdoor entertaining part was what he cared about most.

So we've been talking about building a path from the gate to the house, which led to thoughts about other things we can do out there, and on Tuesday we were talking about different possibilities and I mentioned that the instructions I found for building a stone walkway can also be used for a stone patio. Which might be nicer than random poured concrete that's not even a regular shape. He thought that might be okay, and between us we even came to the conclusion that there is a better spot in the yard for it to go. I double checked. I asked him straight out. And he said the cement floor could go. That was Tuesday.

It rained all day Wednesday, but I wasn't kidding this morning when I said I wanted to get at the concrete pad with a pickaxe. And I turned off the computer and I did.

The shed itself was pretty much square, but one-fourth of it was a chicken coop with a dirt floor. So what remains today is a cement pad that is three quarters of a square (which I forgot to measure, but I'll get back to you with the dimensions). I started with the section against the fence, because Alex had already mentioned about cutting out at least a section of that so we can put in some bamboo to fill in that space along the property line. Also, the land slopes down from there, so it's probably the thinnest part. (Turns out it ranged from about one to four inches thick.)

So I got my pick, my safety goggles and my kitchen timer (45 minutes till I had to go inside and clean up to pick up the girls from school.) And I whupped some concrete butt. It'd be nice if my digital camera had higher resolution, but I think you can tell what I did there. For perspective: that's a child-sized chair, and the blue thing is a 5-gallon paint bucket.

Figuring out how to swing the pick so my hand didn't absorb the recoil was pretty easy. Aiming was surprisingly easy - the amount of aim needed for wholesale destruction, anyway. You know what the hard part was? Keeping my mouth closed. The goggles protected my eyes, but raisin-sized chunks did manage to fly directly into my nose at two different points and I had to consciously breathe in and then shut my mouth before each stroke landed or I would have been munching dust for sure.

And the painful part? Bathing after I was done (and washing dishes this evening). I discovered I had a teeny little raw spot on my left thumb and it stings like a something-not-very-nice whenever it gets wet. There are also two small blisters on my other hand, but they don't hurt because they didn't pop. Maybe I'll try it with gloves on tomorrow.

Act your age

Here's another one. (Really, I want to get outside and start hacking away with a pick at the concrete pad at the top of our yard, but until just this minute it was too cold and drizzly. But I'm going. Right now.)

What Age Do You Act?

You Are 34 Years Old

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

(I think everyone who reads this has a general idea of my age, but just in case: I'm 36.)


Sheryl at PaperNapkin took the quiz. She's Kermit. I thought, Cool! That sounds about right for her. I'll take the quiz and get to be a muppet too!

Um, you guys?

Janice jpeg
You are Janice.
You dig the groove man, nothing can bum you out.
Too bad you're too stoned to notice.

Like, you know, guitar, fer sure.
"Finding Your Past Lives on the Web"

"Fer sure, like, fer sure."

Peace, love and, like, granola, totally.

Her inner child.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Have a hearty laugh at my expense

But only if it's warranted. And I'll wager few--if any--of you will know whether it is, in fact, warranted. I certainly don't. So where does that leave you?

I know, I know: "Wha...???" Allow me to explain. Last night I tried to made pizza for dinner. When the dough was all risen and I went to get the ingredients out, I discovered that my container of thawed pizza sauce was starting to go bad AND that the cheese was frozen solid. Probably because I buy the cheapest mozarella I can find, it was compacted into a solid block despite technically being shredded cheese, so there was no crumbling off a bit of it like I used to do back in the days of decent bulk mozarella.

I suppose could have spooned off the questionable sauce and gotten some untainted stuff from the bottom. But I knew that even if it smelled and tasted fine, I wouldn't be able to enjoy it.

The girls like their pizza without sauce; I could have made pizza with American cheese and no sauce. How sad would that have been? Homemade pizza crust studded with bright orange squares of plastic cheese? (And, in Robin's case, bananas and apples...)

Or I could save the crust and make a real pizza tonight. I talked the girls into that and we all had cereal for dinner.

But here's the thing: I didn't want to freeze the dough. To begin with, I'm not too clear on the mechanics of the whole thawing/rising thing, and anyway we're using it within 24 hours. It had already risen an hour, been punched down & kneaded, and risen most of another hour. I didn't punch it down or anything, I just stuck a lid on the bowl and shoved it into the fridge.

Today I noticed that it had continued to rise which, frankly, strikes me as odd. I guess tonight I'll just punch it down and roll it out. But I can't help wondering what it will do. Will it be tough? Rubbery? Soggy? Crunchy? Floppy? Maybe we'll end up with matzza. (Get it? Anybody?)

If you have any experience in this particular branch of culinary science, you are personally invited to picture us having our dinner this evening and, yes, to have a hearty laugh at my expense. But only if it's warranted.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


It's a gold mine. In Chihuahua. I know there's a joke in there somewhere, but it eludes me. Anyone?

Nothing definite, but things are coming along enough that we're starting to wonder things like, "Will working in a mine shaft invalidate his life insurance?" and "Just how many countries will be able to tax the income of a Costa Rican with a US Green Card if he works in Mexico for a Canadian company?" I've managed our taxes through thick and thin (a k a dual-status aliens and foreign-earned income) but if this comes through, 2006 may go down in history as The Year of the Accountant.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My cat

...had her pick of cushy, stable beds, sofas and chairs, but chose to sit on the railing over the stairwell. Ten feet down, and not even onto level floor, because the stairs continue under the railing. She's an odd bird.

You really should

You guys should all have blogs.

Knowing you get to complain about something to the entire world really makes things less annoying as they are happening. You start writing about it in your head, the focus shifts, it's healthy.

So I'm driving to San Jose yesterday. I'm behind a bus, which begins to slow considerably and (I'm pretty sure) put on its flashers. I thought I remembered a bus stop about there, and I had a good view of the road ahead, so I pulled around it (double yellow line be damned). I was a little irritated when the bus didn't stop, but instead trundled on down the hill, gaining a bit of speed and making me work a little harder to pass than I felt was necessary.

But here's my point. When I glanced up and saw that the bus driver was actually talking on his cell phone, I immediately saw the scene through the context of the blog and began composing this entry in my head.

(The irony of the fact that I was passing illegally while on my way to get my driver's license didn't even hit me until that night. That's what driving here will do to you. I'm pretty sure I still notice the solid line, and I often respect it, even. (Which of course makes it that much more dangerous for the driver behind me, who then has to pass me and a bus, often uphill and around a curve.) But if I can see far enough ahead, I will go ahead and pass a bus or slow truck, double yellow line, as I said, be damned.)

So anyway. The MOPT (which is the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation = Costa Rica's DMV).

Finding the place was actually the toughest part: I had been twice before, but had never driven myself. I looked up the address in the white pages, but that was as useless as you'd expect (again, don't get me started on the CR phone books...). But I shouted over to a cab driver at a red light and he gave me directions that didn't take me all the way there, but did put me in the right part of town. I asked a lady who didn't know, and then a guy who told me that a right at the next light would take me straight there. Well, that street was one-way to the left, so I took the next one and, indeed, it took me straight there.

I knew I was in the right place when I saw a grubby guy at that next traffic light with a sandwich board offering medical exams for driver's licenses. Then another guy on the same street tried to wave me over to a grimy gate with the same sign. The hand painted (or magic markered) signs offering medical exams were thicker in the next block, and then I was there. The parking lot attendant tried valiantly to talk me into getting the medical exam there, but I held out. And I may have actually been rude to the crowd of guys hawking medical exams on the steps of the MOPT office itself.

Once I got in, it all went quite smoothly, with six steps accomplished in an hour and a quarter. I did, of course, need the medical exam, but I knew from last year when I tried unsuccessfully to get my license, that there was a tiny but clean office straight across the street where they charge the official rate ($10, just raised from $6) and the doctor is a woman. Not that there's a lot involved - height, weight, reflexes, eye chart, stethoscope.

Then across the street in the other direction for the various photocopies required, then back into the DMV office for the most daunting step of all, and one that has broken down on me in the past. Foreign residents of Costa Rica who have a valid driver's license from their own country can get a Costa Rican license without jumping thorugh too many hoops. However, the foreign license has to be "validated" by someone. Someone specific. And if she's not in that day, there is no recourse but to come back when she is. Before getting the medical certificate I had stopped by her office and found a locked door and two guys waiting in the hall. Not auspicious.

When I got back with my stuff, there were five people waiting outside the locked door. But after 15 minutes, she came back and whipped through those validations in record time. Then I could breathe easier because all I had to do was go through the regular process to get the thing issued. For those of you counting along at home, that's three steps down and three to go.

First you go to the computer line, which was...oh, I'd say about 15 people long at the time. They have five computer stations, three of which were staffed. The computers are all matching, new-looking Dells, and when it was my turn I even noticed a Microsoft sticker on one proclaiming that it was running a legal, licensed copy of Windows. My guy was interrupted twice by some other employee asking about something, but whatever. My chair was missing an armrest, but was pretty comfortable.

Then I had to go make a bank deposit ($8) and would you believe they have a bank branch right there, inside the MOPT??? And there were three windows, all with tellers, serving a total of two people? No way.

The last stop is to get your picture taken, fingerprint scanned, and signature digitally recorded. There were probably 20-some people in line for that. There are six camera stations set up, and I think about four of them were staffed. The "line" for this is that marvelous Costa Rican phenomenon: rows of molded plastic seats where everybody gets up and scoots over one each time somebody is called for their turn. I was soooo tempted to leave an extra space between me and the next guy, who was fanning himself so hard he must have been working up another sweat. And, not that he was that big a guy, but he just didn't seem able to contain himself to the space of a single seat.

But, fortunately, I sucked it up and sat in the appropriate seat. I say fortunately because the security guard assigned to that section clearly has too much time on his hands, and patrolled the area several times to make sure everybody moved over, every seat, every time (I guess in case a sudden influx of 40 additional people flooded in - there were four empty rows behind us). He also busted me for sticking my papers in my backpack instead of keeping them visible.

I didn't get the camera guy I was hoping for, who was genial and seemed to get people to smile. The guy I did get looked like the quintessential government employee: skinny, pasty (or he would have been, if the Costa Rican complexion could manage "pasty") and expressionless.

He did his computer thing, then kind of nodded at the camera, so I obligingly looked at it and smiled. I had watched some of the other camera guys enough to know that once the picture is taken, they it photo and do some other computer stuff, so when the camera made a noise I settled back and looked around the room while I waited. Then the camera flashed. Oops. So he nodded at it again and I tried again. And I'm not sure just how it happened, but I glanced away just as it flashed. Again. And then you know what? The little government employee dude got a little bit of personality! He actually looked over and made a little joke about what must be so interesting up there, and then he pointed to the camera again and told me to smile, in a way that kind of made me laugh, and my picture came out pretty good. Yay.

So then I signed the little electronic pad thing and held my forefinger on the little infra-red sensor thing, and then waited for my card and got it and went home, the end.

EDITED: Okay, okay. I blurred the juicy parts. Sheesh. But true.

Bless My Heart

So here's the latest.

I forgot to get the Sunday paper this week, so I don't know if there are any listings for exciting survey jobs - not that Alex is really free to pursue them yet, right?

But hey! No matter! Because that boy never has to apply for a job again. All he has to do (or is it me? you know what? I think it's me...) is settle in and think things are more or less ticking along smoothly, and up pops a job offer, out of the woodwork.

So close your eyes for a sec and think about it. Given our situation, what would make the most sense? What kind of job offer should the woodwork produce for us?

Nope, that's not it. Whatever you're picturing, you couldn't be farther from the truth so you can just open your eyes right now.

See, we have this surveyor friend in Canada - the smoked salmon guy? You guys probably remember. And he E-mailed to see if Alex would be interested in working with him on this mining project. No, not in Canada. In Mexico.

We won't know until we hear more whether it's even really an option - Gary has to actually get to Mexico (today) and see what's what for this next phase the project is going into. And, you know, find out about salary and all that. But Alex is totally into the idea. New country, new experience, new branch of surveying.

And, really, while I loves me some dramatics, it's okay with me. It would be three weeks on/one week off (or, Alex suggests, maybe he could work out six weeks on/two weeks off), which would be way more time at home than we've had this year. And of course the resume building, the continued income...sure, why not. Plus? I don't actually see it as all that probable yet, and if there's one thing I've learned it's not to get too worked up about anything until somebody actually starts shopping for plane tickets.

So anyway. I'll keepya posted.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

My desk, my psyche

Okay, I'll jump on the bandwagon.

Yellow Snapdragons (hey, Lisa, I finally added her to the list of blogs I visit regularly! So do you Boing Boing??) is spreading a meme she attributes to Apartment Carpet, but which I actually did a while back myself (link) - clearly, an idea whose time has come.

At the time, my point was about technology - at that particular moment most of mine was sitting on my desk, and my general idea (which I may not have expressed explicitly enough) was along the lines of "we don't feel like we're living in those futuristic times that ficition loves to predict, but OMG how impressed would our 10-year-old selves be if they could see this?"

Anyway, here is today's, which is more detailed and has turned out super-long, and is intended to serve more as a snapshot, well, of something. I guess.

The surface of my desk currently holds:

  • This computer (thanks Scott! No hammers have been taken to it yet. But I won't say the temptation isn't there, on occasion...)
  • A mouse pad (The Fifth Age of Myst)
  • A laptop (Last turned on...hmmm. Maybe six? nine? months ago...Maybe more.)
  • A scanner, once disused for years at a time, but look! Used just this week! For you, my beloved readership, for you!
  • An open ream of printer paper
  • A touch-tone phone with an extra-long cord that reaches all over the office, but which has to be draped gently over my lap instead because it makes loud staticky noises whenever it moves.*
  • A phone/address book only marginally more functional than the Costa Rican phone directory (don't get me started.)
  • My coffee cup (the blue NC Zoo one, thanks L&S!), empty but still warm .
  • A pad of receipts. Costa Rica's fiscal year ends September 30, so they need to go to Alex's accountant soon.
  • Part of a pad of post-it notes, the top one peeled off & a strip cut off to identify one of the receipts, then removed when I found a better way to organize them. (Which may or may not have involved Excel...)
  • A green highlighter for marking the receipts when payment is received: I have to provide my client with documented proof that I have received payment before they will even begin PROCESSING payment, which then takes one to four months to be issued. They only accept new receipts on Mondays and Fridays (although my license plate isn't allowed to circulate in San Jose on Fridays, so really just Mondays), and payments are made exclusively on Wednesdays. They currently owe me about $700. Many (most?) businesses operate this way in Costa Rica. It doesn't make me want to tear my hair out and quit. Not at all.
  • A black Bic pen (no top)
  • A 2005 calendar I got with purchase at a thrift store last year (and from which I trimmed the store's logo and message of Christian salvation, ending up with a 7x10-inch card that I prop up against the scanner.)
  • A "primitive" (folk art?) black iron rocking horse I got at Pier One as a gift from Mom (the shopping trip itself was part of the gift).
  • My Spanish-English, English-Spanish dictionary, open to ferretero because in the context of my translation I thought it would mean something other than ironmonger/hardware dealer. It doesn't.
  • Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, which I borrowed from the shelf of books that Rita keeps for guests in her cottages. I was pretty sure I'd read it before, but I'm down to the dregs of her selection (unless I work on cultivating a taste for Harlequins). Then when I started it, I was pretty sure I had read a different book about the same character. Now (p 72) I'm almost sure I've read this very book before.
  • A metal hair clip I bought for myself from Mom on a Thursday the Third last year, which I still like but which seems to slip out of my hair. Robin found and wore it to school this week. So why is it on my desk?
  • Most of last Sunday's La Nación. I need to buy the paper occasionally because I have pets. I like to get the Sunday one because it comes with the Teleguía. It doesn't include listings for non-cable channels (WTF??), but it is just the right size to roll up and slide between the bars across a corner of the parrot's cage. She likes to shred it. Also (getting back to the paper as a whole), when Alex flew home two weeks ago he bought a paper to read on the plane and saw (Take note, significant item) some classifieds that interested him for survey positions in Costa Rica. He had since loaned his paper to a friend, but I had a copy, so I scanned the ads and sent them to him. Then I checked last week's paper (the one on my desk), but there weren't any listings in his field. But still, a worthy reason to buy the Sunday paper, no? BTW, the paper would normally be on the kitchen counter. It's on my desk because I made notes on it about the amount & due date of car insurance payment, info on Robin's upcoming swimming event, and supplies requested by the kindergarten class.
  • A stack of quilt patterns & a newsletter sent to me from the owner of Sew-Biz quilt shop in Florida. (On the desk to remind me to contact & thank her).
  • My cell phone, charging. Also slowly dying. It didn't take too well to being dropped when I was bringing things in from the car the day Alex got here. Although to be accurate, it wasn't so much the dropping that was a problem. It was the being left outside overnight and chewed on by dogs. The "leather" case was 20 feet away and completely destroyed, and the (stubby 1-inch) antenna is split open and its guts are showing. The phone spontaneously turns itself off almost too often to be functional anymore. But I use it so infrequently that I haven't given that much thought to dealing with it. Alex uses it a lot more when he's here. We bought the phone when I was pregnant with Robin. She'll be seven soon.
  • A recycled folder with some quilt-related papers inside.
  • A box from a Barbie-knockoff toy set that the girls were given for Christmas last year. It is too hilarious and I plan to scan it and share it with you someday. (Actually, it's really not that funny. You know, so don't get your hopes up.)
  • Five partial "quilt blocks" made by Robin (and one by Julia) by choosing two scraps from my box, which I pin together and mark with a sewing line. Then she sews them together and I press them.
  • And a stack of 97 drawings by the girls. I just counted them.
  • (New arrival while I was making this list: My Barnes & Noble gift card (thanks Grandma!), which I hid in the drawer while Alex was here so it wouldn't get scooped up with other papers and lost. I just found it while getting out the masking tape for Julia, and moved it back to the surface of the desk so I remember to use it soon.)
  • (Another new arrival: a "bookmark" made by Julia by coloring in, cutting out & gluing 12 small pictures of Clifford they printed out from the computer game yesterday. It's in the place of honor: propped up behind the F-keys on my keyboard.)
  • (And something I missed when making the main list: A cute little stuffed coral snake that sits on top of my monitor.)
That's what's on my desk. I cleaned both it and my sewing table up on Wednesday when Rita brought a visiting quilter to my house, so it is actually in fine shape. Comparatively speaking, you know.

This is what it all looks like:

When Julia saw me with the camera she asked me to take this:

* Stickers on the phone, all of which are irrelevant in Costa Rica, but which provide a surprisingly comprehensive retrospective of Tucker residence patterns:

  • "Onondaga County / In an emergency DIAL 911 / Fire - Police - Ambulance" (Color: Emergency orange)
  • "*71 3-Way Calling, *69 Call Return, *66 Repeat Dialing, 411 Nationwide Directory Assistance" (I think from Sprint in High Point)
  • "This telephone BLOCKS the delivery of its number to the called party. To allow delivery of your number, dial *82 prior to dialing the called number." (I'd bet money it does no such thing...)
  • The white card in the little window says (in Dad's writing) "M-1 VoiceNet, M-2 Our code, 869-3979" (Actually the area code's there too, but let's not publish that on the Internet. It's somebody's number now...
  • The back of the little card is actually the front of a numbered, pre-printed tag for filling in your numbers, with (again, Dad's) writing: "(1) Fleet Answer Ctr (2) 1 + M2 our acc't (3) Newsline (4) Record (5) 1 + M5 LBT's acc't." (All crossed off with a single vertical line. Apparently made with the same pen that wrote them in the first place.)
  • Behind THAT, another little card, on which "Loretta" is written, then crossed off (different pen?) in the number one space.

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Words I looked up in my CD version of Webster's while writing this post:
  • Harlequin (spelling of plural)
  • Staticky (spelling)
  • Ream (making sure it means 500 sheets. Actually, it's "a quantity of paper varying from 480 sheets (20 quires) to 516 sheets." Who knew?
  • Readership (correct use)

Other words I have looked up recently:

  • aid-de-camp (thesaurus)
  • fund-raising (one word or two?)
  • seat belt (one word or two?)
  • Brazil nut (capitalization)
  • didactic (thesaurus)
  • educational (thesaurus)
  • pedagogic (thesaurus)
  • pedagogical (thesaurus)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Okay, sorry.

I actually uploaded a bunch of pictures a couple of days ago but it was such a pain that I saved what I had and gave up.

But you're right. I should put up what I've managed to upload, even if there were supposed to be more.

I back-dated the pictures from our trip in July so they actually appear in July. Makes more sense for future perusal, and I didn't like the hole in my archive list! Actually, they're mostly the pictures Lisa sent me recently, plus two of my own. Click here.

And below are some from the day Alex got here for his surprise visit. If I feel like putting in the time, I'll try to add a couple more to that post at some point.

Where were YOU when Alex came to Costa Rica?

Here's where we were.

It's kind of like a country club for the masses: you pay a reasonable fee to get in (I think it was under $10 for all of us) and then you can use the pool & playgrounds. There is a lunch counter, or you can cook out.

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Added 6/12/06

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