Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hey, look!

Quaker Dave not only added me to his blogroll, he bestowed upon me an award.

Thanks Dave! (And, since you may not already be aware, while not a Quaker myself, I'm pretty familiar with the principles.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blame it on the moon

Dad says there was a full moon a couple of days ago and I'm inclined to believe him. Part of his job as the official Silent Partner of the Costa Rica Quilt Retreat is to receive checks made out to Rita or, usually, myself, and deposit them in the appropriate local bank account.

Over the past couple of days he has received two checks from two different future clients. One was made out to Janet (instead of Jennifer), and the other was actually made out to Dad instead of to Rita. And they got his name wrong to boot.

I blame the moon.

The effect is only just now reaching down here to the tropics though.

This morning one of Alex's clients needed to send a fax. Not sure why he felt it was necessary to call me "my love" while asking for a fax tone, but there you have it. (Seriously, how inappropriate is that? I'll assume he didn't realize that he was addressing the wife of the professional he's pressuring to get some work done as soon as possible. Which, curiously, doesn't make it any more acceptable. Can you believe people still do that?)


Anyway, the fax machine ate the fax, then ran out of ink film, then flat out broke. Really. A piece broke right off and now the cover won't close even though I've replaced the ink film and cajoled it with dulcet tones.

Anyway, the fax is no longer my problem.

The timing belt on the car, a little more so.

Heard this clanking noise as I was driving home this evening. At first I thought it was a rattletrap of a pickup truck that was passing me, but the sound stayed with me after the truck was gone, so I pulled into a restaurant parking lot and had a look.

Couldn't see anything about the tires or trunk that looked clattery, so I started the car back up and determined that the sound was coming from the engine. It seemed to be coming from the belts that are visible outside the engine, but I couldn't see anything obstructing them or scraping against them.

The lady in the restaurant placed a call to Alex for me, and he got the girls back in the car and came down to stare uncomprehendingly at the engine with me. (It takes two, you see.)

Alex thought the sound was coming from the timing belt, not the harmless little rubber belts outside the engine, which put the whole thing into another realm of "how bad could this be" - at least in my mind. Alex still wanted to try to drive it home, but the question was rendered moot when he tried to start it back up to stare uncomprehendingly at it for another little while, and it wouldn't start.

So we went back to the nice lady in the restaurant and got her kind permission to use the one car to tow the other car to the back parking lot and abandon it there, at least for the night.

So we did.

When we got home, the cat had vomited, wetly, on the ottoman of the glider rocker. Pretty much every other surface upon which she could have let loose can be thrown in the washing machine. The ottoman not so much.

Guess it was a pretty good day for me to pick up Buffalo wings and beer on my way home, no?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sigh. So predictable.

We go to the same places again and again on the retreat, and for some reason I'm unable to stop taking the same photos again and again. This batch is for Portly, Pidomon and anyone else who hasn't already seen pretty much these same pictures at some other point in time.

Well, this first one is a little different I guess. It's my blog and I'll post pictures of floors if I want to.

The Zarcero topiary park. Again.

Actually, the birds are new, since the aviary wasn't built last time I was here.

The butterflies? Not so new.

The snake house. Still there.

And of course the froggies.

Turns out our driver, Arnie (short for Arnulfo) takes a pretty decent picture, no?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inversely proportionate

As much as I love computers, I hate printers that exact amount.

I just hope the parrot doesn't pick today to start learning new words.

Okay, I'm really going now. Back Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Retreat time

We have five ladies coming down for a Quilt Retreat starting tomorrow, so I'll be away for a week.

Busy? Me? I don't have time to be busy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If I don't do it now, it might not happen at all

So here are some photos.

It does nothing for my search results, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Here's a bunch of pictures with precious little commentary 'cause it's late.

Idyllic, no?

If it makes you (all 99.9% of you that don't live in the tropics) feel any better, all this idyllic...ness does come at a price, usually exacted in the form of infrastructure.

This (below) happened the day before we got there. This picture was taken two days later, when we left. You can see that passers-by have taken the sensible precaution of installing a daunting barricade of brush and plastic bags to warn all comers of the dangers that lie beneath the (road) surface. Of course, after crossing the bridge and before reaching the next crossroads we did pass an oncoming cement truck, beer truck and jury-rigged gasoline truck with a rag stopper at the top of the tank, which didn't keep the gas from sloshing out at each pothole in the washboard road. We pondered which of those vehicles might attempt to cross and which might seek out an alternate route.

Some guys hanging around the bridge pretty well encapsulated the Costa Rican approach to such events: "Oh, yeah. If you go down there and look you can see that the structure is totally compromised. You can make it across no problem if you keep to the right and go pretty fast."

And then we saw some cows...

And then we stopped at a tourist trap.

Giant ball of string? No self-respecting Costa Rican tourist would settle for a giant ball of string. We demand nothing short of Tyrannosaurus Rex (and 26 other life-sized statues situated along a one-mile trail that we may, one day, explore) in our tourist traps.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back Wednesday

The hot springs were nice, but that plant picture is the only one that came out.

I'm taking the girls to the beach tomorrow to stay in a house offered by one of Alex's clients. We'll be back Tuesday evening, so have a good couple of days and see you next week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Check out this plant

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

If you need me

I'll be here:

With grownups. And wine.

Oh, and if I don't manage to pop in when I get back on Friday, there's an off chance that the girls and I will be joining Alex at the beach on Saturday. And if we do that, we probably won't be back until Tuesday, since the school somehow managed to turn Independence Day (which, in point of fact, falls on the weekend this year) into Monday and Tuesday off.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thith ith getting exthpenthive

You'd think I'd have a 500-colon coin at the ready, wouldn't you?


Monday, September 10, 2007

Bad Fairy

Don't you hate when you don't have the right change?

Once upon a time the Tooth Fairy didn't have the right change. She checked all the usual spots, and even went out in the dark and the rain to check the specialized coin holder in her car (cleverly disguised as a common ashtray) but, alas, not a single 500-colon coin was to be found.

She had five 100-colon coins, but the potential consequences of this seemingly simple substitution were daunting. In the Fairy's experience, children love having their own money, and even more than that they love having a whole handful of their own money. And even more than that, they love having more money than their siblings.

Unfortunately, that night's client shared a home with another of Ms. Fairy's clients; one who had received but a single coin just a few short days before.

An unholy gleam came into the eye of the Tooth Fairy.

That night's client shared a home with another of Ms. Fairy's clients; one who had received but a single coin just a few short days before.

Again drawing on experience, Ms. Fairy crept stealthily down to the breakfast table of last week's young client and there, indeed, lay the prized 500-colon coin. Prized, yes; but quickly forgotten nonetheless.

With only the merest twinge of regret, the Tooth Fairy appropriated the forsaken booty and went about her appointed rounds, and when the abandoned prize was replaced not 24 hours after its filching, nary a soul was the wiser.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

For Jack & Pidomon

Halloween 2001

Happy Day

Happy September 9, everyone!

Happy birthday to Alex.
Happy anniversary to my parents.
Happy birthday to my friend and business partner, Rita.
Happy Children's Day if you are in Costa Rica.
Happy birthday to my friend's youngest daughter, who is also my oldest daughter's friend.
Happy 18th anniversary of my first full day in Costa Rica.

And what the heck, happy birthday to Tom Wopat, Hugh Grant and Adam Sandler while we're at it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And the punchline is

It was a dream. Julia dreamed that her teacher told her she had to change her name.

I was really pretty sure there had to be some misunderstanding (Dad gets points for having the closest guess), so I wasn't too worried about discussing it with the teacher, but I will admit that I spent some time trying to think of a good counter-example, preferably one where the teacher, Flor (which means flower) gets called Floor in the States. Of course that's how it's pronounced here, too, so it really wasn't a great example.

Maybe I could have worked in something about a guy Alex met recently through one of his clients. The guy, who is Costa Rican, has the unusual name of Níger and let's just say that Alex's client, who is Greek, really really needs to work on pronouncing it the way Níger himself pronounces it, rather than adapting it to suit the phonetics of his own language.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What's in a name

I guess I'm going to have to prime Robin for some bloggable moments because here we go again with the Julia stories:

Last week Julia told me her teacher said that they were going to start using the Spanish pronunciation of her name (like Julio Iglesias, but with an "a" at the end) instead of the English one (like Julia Roberts) because that's how the name is pronounced in Costa Rica.

Let that sink in a minute. Sorry, kid, you're saying your name wrong. Here, let us help.

I crossed the name Julia off our list of baby names the first time I was pregnant for that exact reason - I love the name, but decidedly do not love the Spanish pronunciation of it.

The second time around, I was more confident and figured we could just tell people her name and expect them to use it. And that has been the case, up until now.

Obviously if she decides she wants people to use the Spanish pronunciation, that will be different. But that's not what's happening here.

She's been going to the same school, with the same teachers and peer group, for over a year, and now and all of a sudden her name is wrong? It just didn't make sense, particularly given the school (Montessori) and the teacher in question.

One of the other kids is named Ganesa, for crying out loud. Are they going to correct her too, or is she still allowed to be named after the many-armed Hindu god of intellect and wisdom? Or maybe it's okay because she uses the Spanish pronunciation. Of an elephant-headed deity.

I promised to talk to the teacher about it, but didn't have a chance until yesterday.

So...can anybody guess the outcome?

Monday, September 03, 2007

A kid with her feet on the ground

Julia, whose front tooth has just come out: Mommy, right that there's no fairies? Right that Moms and Dads take the tooth and put the money for the kids when their tooth falls out?

Me, kissing her on the nose: Don't you want to go show Papi your new big-girl space?

Julia: But am I right? What I said?

Me: You're right.

Julia: So can you give me my tooth from last time?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Explanation. And quandary.

No, my anonymous "g", you probably didn't miss anything. Whoever you are.

It's just a fact. Although they are both male, they are both good, decent human beings, and they are both only children, my husband and my father are pretty much on opposite ends of any other spectrum you might apply.

That is the explanation.

The quandary is this:

If, hypothetically, you understand, you had a quilt half made and had kind of thought of giving it to someone for his birthday, and you intentionally left the blocks lying out to see if they might elicit any kind of commentary whatsoever, and said person spent time in the vicinity of the quilt blocks and unquestionably saw them there, but instead commented on a 2-inch flashlight lying well beyond them, then would you have a run on sentence?

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