Thursday, July 31, 2008

Guess I'm not cool enough to get banned

Blogger's techies need a strict talking-to today.

At least three bloggers I know of have suddenly found themselves locked out of their own blogs, having been erroneously tagged by some sort of automated process as spam blogs.

You can't see anything's wrong from the outside, except that the blogs won't be updated till the snafu is ... unsnaffed. They can write new posts, but can't publish.

Bob found that he could retitle a widget at the top of his page, providing him a tiny peephole to the outside world. But to my knowledge, both Freida Bee and Dr. Monkey - both of whom I know in passing, but not directly, are locked out for the duration.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Small world

No, not the Disney ride.

You know what's cool? Radio stations that simulcast over the Internet. This weekend, I was listening to a radio show with some of my friends. Me here in Costa Rica. One in Texas. Another in North Carolina. And one in Georgia who has better musical taste than the rest of us and declined to click the link.

Infernal bagpipes aside, if I'm at home or in the car, I'm generally listening to this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pic of the day

Hat tip to Cate and/or Bill :)

Monday, July 28, 2008


Well, I've decided that I can't let the branches stay that way. Not without at least trying a different idea I have. So I'll fiddle around with that before making anything permanent.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tree of life

So yesterday I had a bunch of fabric strips, and a pieced background.

Today I started by quilting the background:

Then I began twisting and wrapping my strips into roots. Twist ties are your friends!

Uncharacteristically, I had to sew that down by hand. Normally, it's all machine all the time.

Once the roots were more or less figured out, I began arranging the branches.

And this is what it looks like now. I'm not completely sure I'm going to keep the branches like this, but it's likely. I'll have to sleep on it to be sure. I'll trim up the root ends a bit, but they will be left hanging, more or less like they are here.

Now I just have to get it all sewn down, bound, and a hanging sleeve on the back before the deadline. Also have to find out when the deadline is...

Last year at this time

I stopped by the Virtual Pub at Shakesville and ended up having a brief conversation with a fellow commenter I'd seen around, but not really interacted with before.

...Who else is around?
Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:19 pm

Hey, Phydeaux.

I'm back from the (real) pub, but I'm off to bed in a minute, lightweight that I am.
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:22 pm

Sleep well, Jennifer (and I won't tell anyone what you said).
Phydeaux Speaks 07.27.07 - 9:28 pm

Hey, what'd I say?
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:29 pm

*whispers* that you're a lightweight.
Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:30 pm

Aw, hell, that's just fact. Beer goes straight to my head.
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:31 pm

Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:32 pm


Want to hear something amusing before I go? I blogged my trip to Greece last month, and I've gotten a lot of hits from people searching for information on some of the places I visited.

Tonight's winner:

"Signs of the Acropolis"
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:33 pm

That's funny!!

btw, I read the posts of your trip and enjoyed them very much! Glad you made it home after all the airline BS!
Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:36 pm

And, are there four hoarse men reading the signs?
Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:36 pm

Well, there were prolly at least that many at the bar tonight...

I'm all flattered and stuff that you read my blog *blush*
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:38 pm

I enjoy it! As a resident of the tarheel state, I'm glad to see one who has escaped and is loving life (as you appear to be doing) in CR.
Phydeaux Speaks | 07.27.07 - 9:39 pm

Definitely. Coasting Richly is more than just a handle, you know.

I like to think that my blog provided a kind of public service to that anonymous Googler - "Hey! Acropolis? What the...? That's not what I meant! Hmmm..."
*reaches for dictionary*

Could have saved them some embarrassment down the road, even.

Or, you know, not.

(Now I'm off to visit your blog. I can picture you but I'm not sure I've actually visited yr homestead, as it were...)
Jennifer | 07.27.07 - 9:42 pm

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekend project

There's a quilt show coming up. I thought I missed my chance to participate, but then they pushed the deadline back by a month, so I'm working on an entry this weekend.

The show is called Tela Contra Tela: ¿Quien Soy Yo? which means something like "Cloth Against Cloth: Who Am I?" Very artsy :)

I had an idea a few days ago, and today I picked out fabrics:

These include fabrics I love, fabrics that remind me of the people who gave them to me, and fabrics from quilts that I've made for other people.

Then I spent the day sitting on a too-small floor space. Ow.

(I had a picture of that, but Blogger keeps rotating it which is, quite frankly, bizarre. And it also throws it a bit out of focus. Weird.)

I tore a 1-inch strip from each (well most) of the fabrics. Turns out that what I want to do with them limits the total quantity a bit, so some of them were left out.

I also pieced a simple background and got it ready to quilt.

I'll quilt the background in the morning, then add the strips.

Tune in tomorrow to see what the heck I'm talking about!

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's been something of a critter-ful day.

In addition to the usual pesky mosquito or two (of which there are two less than there were this morning), we had a high-volume birds' committee meeting convened just outside the window, a quick Google to make sure that this:

is not, in fact, a coral snake (it's not), and a consequent discussion regarding preferred methods of scorpion disposal, complete with visual aids.

Then on the way home I saw a guy I've seen before. There's this stretch of road between a traffic circle and a busy intersection where people hang out and sell stuff to the idling drivers.

There's the newspaper lady (mornings only), the sunglasses ladies (any time), the coconut water man (once in a while), the cell phone charger guys, and the random-stuff-of-the-week man (currently wooden alligators, cartoon window decals and somewhat ratty peacock feathers).

And then there's the grass grasshopper guy. I've seen him before, but never really paid much attention. But when I saw him walking from the greenery in the center of the traffic circle back down the road with a double handful of palm fronds tucked under his arm, I recognized him.

And it just so happened that he was all the way up to the traffic light by the time I got there a few minutes later. And, being second in line for the light, I stopped right in front of him. So I asked how much he sold them for.

Got a big smile, a nice compliment and the answer, "whatever you'd care to give me."

So I gave him 500 colones (about a dollar) in exchange for my very own grass grasshopper.

Art. For the sake of it. Awesome.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Think I've found my new medium

coulda sworn I had
something to say today but
now it escapes me

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


No post yesterday
Just completely slipped my mind
Postdating this one

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pillar bandits

All I could see yesterday was an R and an E.

Today I could see that it was these folks.

Coulda been worse, I guess. There's a Microsoft building next door.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Complete and utter sellout

Well, friends, I have some bad news.

I noticed some unusual activity near the Purple Pillar of Pointlessness today. I turned to look as I came abreast of our favorite splash of color and they were...

I can hardly bear to say it.

They were...installing letters upon it. Our beloved P3 is no longer. Now it's just a pretty colored sign.

Remember the olden days, when you could enjoy a random three-story purple stucco pillar without the taint of commercialism?

Man, those were the days.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We went to the beach and all you get is a lousy crocodile photo...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jaco Beach

We had a day trip to the beach today. Six grownups and two kids in two cars...quite an expedition compared to our usual closer-to-home style.

Everyone had a nice time.

There was a pool and ample supervision for the kids, a beach nearby for the out-of-towners to walk over and peek at, a great restaurant and an early enough lunch that even the drivers could have a beer, and we not only saw the standard flock of green parakeets flying around, but also a couple of toucans and two pairs of real live scarlet macaws. Very cool.

My little car did splendidly up and down the mountains. I still need to look into the fuel delivery system - hopefully it's just a fuel or air filter in need of changing, but in any case the car did very well and will doubtless run even better once it's been lovingly tended to.

Those of us in my car agreed that a quick stop for beer and Coke was in order on the way back here to Rita's. By that time we were back at higher elevation, in a little mountain town. It was after dark and drizzling, and as I crossed the street to the grocery store I realized that I was still in my bathing suit top and little beach shorts.

Gotta say, that is one friendly little mountain town. Never seen a store fulla men so willing to let a girl past on her way to buy some beer. Big, smiling guys, friendly hellos...I swear I would've gotten a discount if I'd gone to the boy cashier instead of the girl cashier.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just a quickie

It's been a very nice day, but for some reason I just got really tired all of the sudden. Like, the kind of tired where your conversations start to include phrases like, "I'm sure you're making perfect sense, but are you talking about yourself, or Al Gore?"

So, here. Have a picture of my kids and we'll call it even, okay?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Overheard, Mark 2

Adults in kitchen, finishing beers. Children in bedroom, changing clothes.

A crash is heard.

Julia: I didn't know it was loose!


Julia: This is perfect. This is a bookmark.

Mom: This is twenty dollars. It's not a bookmark.

(Also? That was dinner last night, you guys. Not beer for breakfast!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Feeding five in the micro-kitchen? A Kodak moment if ever I saw one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oxcart factory

These guys still make the ox carts the old fashioned way - by hand and with tools powered by a waterwheel - and then hand painted in the traditional, colorful patterns.

They also do some beautiful inlaid work.

This one's for Dan Gordon, cause we know he would have enjoyed it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Evening at the Quilt Retreat

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A taste of the tropics

So Rita's making a lime something or other for dessert. She says we need more limes. Do we go to the store?

Not at all.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What does a Quilt Retreat evening look like?

Bob the Builder in Spanish on TV in the other room.

The chocolate is gone already?

"So there were three masseuses and five people. That comes out to...too much math."

And ladies telling drinking stories. Wait. How, exactly, did I end up as the boring one here?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Taking "flowers" to a whole 'nother level

The best thing happened today. My rechargable camera batteries continued their downward spiral into "don't recharge anymore" so I couldn't use my camera at the orchid place.

That was great news because Mom's camera is way better than mine and she was happy to hand it over.

Enjoy! (And after you do, head on over to Bob's place and wish him a happy birthday, kay?)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Flowers for a Thursday

Today is the first day of the retreat. Everyone's here, and tomorrow we have our first activities.

It's been a long day, so I'll just leave you with some pictures Mom has taken in the past two days of exploring the town where I live and the town where I work.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Thank goodness for the Internet.

Mom´s flight was two hours late, but I found out about it well in advance, and used the time to good advantage.

We got back to my place close to midnight, and stayed up talking and having a beer for another hour.

Fortunately, today was about ... no. Not "about." Today was hands down the busiest day we´ve ever had at work, so that (plus Bruce´s espresso) kept me alert all day.

Mom and Sandy had a nice time exploring my town, and tomorrow they´ll explore the town where I work, then we´ll all head over to the retreat.

I´ll try to keep up with the daily posts during the retreat, if only a photo or two to make everybody dream of the tropics!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hey, fates? I could also use a microwave. JSYK.

I tell you what.

There's nothing like a little free stuff from out of the blue to make a girl feel smiled on by fate.

And free stuff that fills an imminent need and is quirky to boot? You gotta love it.

Turns out it's not actually that easy to give yourself a birthday present of a $5 mouse-with-scroll-wheel. The first one had issues, so I took it back yesterday and got a different one, which works perfectly but also may drive me insane before I ever reach 40. The scroll wheel is illuminated so brightly that it's bothering me now, in broad daylight. Just imagine at night.

But I'm not here to tell you about mice.

After exchanging the mouse, I stopped by the appliance store. I decided to get the extended warranty when I bought the washing machine a couple weeks ago, and one of the selling points was that they'd finance the cost of the warranty for as long as I wanted with no interest, since I had the cash in hand for the machine, but no more than that immediately available.

So I stopped by to make a payment. They're getting to know me in there, since it's the same place I bought the mattresses for the bunk bed a month ago.

The guy processed my payment and then asked me to wait a moment. He said since I had been buying stuff in there, he wanted to ring me up a gift so I would keep buying from them. I decided I had a moment to spare, and while he went into the back, I wondered what it would be.

And that's when I remembered I still didn't have...well, hadn't had...enough dishes for Mom & Sandy's visit. The visit that about 12 hours now.

I prolly wouldn't have picked out this particular pattern, but let me tell you. For a randomly selected set of Costa Rican dishware, that is one startlingly palatable pattern, right there.

But people like me anyway

Huh. I'll have to contact the author of that book and tell her it's not that people don't care. It's just not lunch they have strong feelings about. Who knew?

Yep. I heat up yesterday's coffee in a saucepan, then add powdered creamer. And I like it. Mwahahahaha!

And my vision is perfect ;)

Monday, July 07, 2008

The evidence says otherwise

Okay, I'm a morning person.

Today, I wake up a little early. I think I'm all fresh and rested, so I get up and go about my business, doing last night's dishes, heating up the coffee. Feeling good.

So how come I just caught myself about to pour creamer on my corn flakes?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Bean Trees: Chapters 14 - 17

We're reading The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver.

Click for the posts on Chapter 1, Chapters 2 & 3, Chapters 4 & 5, Chapters 6 & 7, Chapters 8 & 9, Chapters 10 & 11, and Chapters 12 & 13.

I've loved rereading this book but, as usual, I'm not sure what to say about it.

These are the parts that caught my attention in these last four chapters:

But it also occurred to me to wonder why I had come this far. Generally speaking, I am not a fool. I must have wanted something, and wanted it badly, to believe that hard in snipes.

It must have been a very long time since Esperanza and Estevan had been in a place where they looked just like everybody else, including cops. The relief showed in their bodies. I believe they actually grew taller. And Turtle fit right in too; this was her original home. I was the odd woman out.

It occurred to me that nobody else on earth could have understood what Lou Ann had just said.

Let's take a break before moving on to the sequel, Pigs in Heaven. There's a quilt retreat coming up, the girls are on vacation, and Mom will be here for three weeks starting soon. We can either start in August, or read the whole thing during July and talk about it in a few weeks, since I'm not actually contributing that much to the chapter-by-chapter mode anyway.


Saturday, July 05, 2008


When I went to pick the girls up at school on Thursday, they were busy with the art teacher, helping repaint the wall around the playground.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Was a nice day

I got lots of nice greetings and best wishes, and a couple of surprises too. Thanks everybody!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Pushing 40

I've been waiting for like two years to say that. Now, at 39, I think we can all agree that I am, in fact, pushing 40.

So it's sundaes for dinner and if I get back from work early enough, I'm getting myself something I've missed Every. Single. Day. since I stopped hanging out at Internet cafes: a mouse with a scroll wheel.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Apparently, you're not allowed to be blasé about birthdays around kids, even if they're not the kids' birthdays.

I told the girls my birthday tomorrow was "no big deal" and Julia cried through half of dinner. I tried telling her it could be a big deal if I wanted it to, but that I didn't...but she was having none of it.

So I guess it's gonna have to be at least a medium-sized deal. Maybe we'll have ice cream sundaes for dinner. That oughta do it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reflections on a bottled beverage

I almost never do this, but today I bought a bottled "flavored water" beverage to go with my lunch.

I'm not opposed to bottled beverages in principle, but it's hard to find a straight sugar-sweetened version anymore. They're all low-cal, and that means artificial sweeteners. I'm afraid of NutraSweet and suspicious of the other ones, so I usually just skip that whole class of beverages.

Anyway, I found myself in need of a lunch today and stopped at Bagelman's to get a chutney turkey peanut wrap...and a drink to go with it.

So I'm sitting here drinking this Grapefruit Bliss stuff, and reading the bottle.

The self-congratulatory verbiage on the back starts out 0 Calories - Yes, yes. I know. I bought it anyway. Then they claim Thousands of Smiles which, now that I translate it I realize must have been written in English originally, since it sounds a lot better that way. Anyway. The third little raindrop delivers the best news of all: Good source of ...wait for it... hydration.

Wow! This stuff delivers hydration! Unlike, you know, every single other beverage in the world.


News from the commuter lane

The car seems to be pretty happy with the new muffler. And with the brake fluid I added yesterday. And with the super gasoline in its tank.

It does feel and sound better - now I just need to see how the mileage compares. For a car with such a great reputation for fuel economy, it sure wasn't getting very far on the gas. I'm optimistic that I'll see a difference now, though.

Also, new traffic restrictions that went into effect last week have made a huge difference in the rush hour traffic. What is generally a 40-minute drive, and was up to a solid hour early last week, is now pretty much a half hour. At least for these first couple of weeks while they're enforcing the restrictions (approximately 500 citations issued each rush hour so far - that's 1000 a day). Once they stop writing tickets, traffic will go back to normal.

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

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