Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In which the punchline doesn't, technically, have a whole lot to do with the intro. So sue me.

The girls are, of course, completely bilingual. They're equally comfortable in English and Spanish, although they do tend to intermingle the two as a kind of shorthand here at home, knowing that they'll be understood if they don't take the extra couple of moments to locate the specific English word for a concept they're used to discussing in Spanish.

But when they do that, it's conscious and passes semi-unnoticed. It's a habit that may endure well into adolescence, for all I know; but the older they get, the fewer and farther between are such moments of awesomeness as this:

Julia: Mommy, why don't you buy some panner solos?
Me: Some what?
Julia: Panner solos. You know, to use the sun.
Me: Oh, solar panels.
[Endeavors to explain...]

Monday, September 29, 2008

Best thing ever

Right here.

And I don't even know thing one about Christian Bale.

B of A can spare a dime. Several thousand dimes, in fact.

A lot of people, including some that I know, are going through a lot of hard times right now.

Sure, I'm living paycheck to paycheck and have a small loan (from the very best kind of creditors, thanks Mom & Dad!), but I'm not, fortunately, in a position to be hurt directly by the whole housing/economic meltdown business. Or, no more so than anyone else anyway.

I suppose the greater ramifications remain to be seen, but living outside the United States (I'm looking at you, socialized medicine) and working in the solar industry, I dare say I'm as safe as anyone.

I do happen to be carrying a small balance on my credit card for the first time in a very long time. And within two weeks of making that first minimum payment instead of paying off the full amount due, I was informed that my credit limit had been raised to what, after many seconds of arduous mental arithmetic, I can confidently state is at least 15 times any amount I have ever charged to any credit card, ever.

Is it just me, or does that seem like a particularly evil practice, in light of current events?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The corner store has these little candies in three flavors: Banana, Apple and...really?

Do they taste like avocado? Sadly, no. Not in the least.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In which I vote for Barack Obama and contribute to Quaker Dave's peace blogging series, both at the same time!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Etymology of "Deviled Eggs"? Anyone?

And, raise your hand if you're surprised:


What? Nobody? (Good site, BTW. Mine are already coming out better.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My little empath

So all I said was, that there are two men who both want to be the President of the United States, and they're very different, and that they have very different ideas about what to do with the country, so it's important to pick the right one.

And Julia said, "Mommy, I'm scared. What if they pick the wrong one? I'm afraid it would be really bad for the country."


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good news, Dad

Turns out used brake drums here are about the same price as new ones up there.

Guess that's about forty pounds I don't need to ask you to pack for me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A favorite around these parts

My mind is elsewhere today, so I'm-a let Jack do the heavy lifting. Enjoy:

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'll take it

I've lived outside the US for almost my entire adult life, and I can only remember ever actually using a voting machine once. Well, not counting the old fashioned pull-the-lever machine they set up for us to try in middle school that time.

Most years - well, I'll be honest with you, every four years - I'm soliciting the absentee ballot, hoping it arrives, filling it out, mailing it back, and hoping it arrives on that end. And then hoping it's duly counted. Ahem.

This year, fortunately, there's a way to take some of the uncertainty out of the process. Democrats Abroad is sponsoring an event on Saturday where I can actually receive, vote and submit a Federal Write in Absentee Ballot, which will be mailed through the Embassy.

I won't be able to vote my full North Carolina ballot, but the NC Senate race is on there, and I'm willing to sacrifice the lower-level stuff for the added certainty (well, likelihood) that my federal vote will make it to where it needs to be this year.

And I'm taking the kids with me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You want to see a parrot get mad?

Cut her toenails.

But, you want to make a parrot see reason?

Let her try to fly away from the nail clipper and watch her end up hanging from the arm of your sweater - by her toenail.

After that, she glared at me but good, but she sat (relatively) still while I did the clipping. She periodically attacked the clippers of course, but that's allowed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A little history

I do believe the Purple Hatchback of Loveliness (I'm the only one who's allowed to call it that, BTW) hails from northern climes.

The inspection turned up two things in need of fixing: All four tires, which I knew about, and the brakes, which I didn't. It was actually just one of the rear brakes that was really bad - and the hand brake was slightly under par.

I got all of that taken care of yesterday - well, except that I didn't have the car back till about lunchtime today - and one thing I learned was that this is a car with some rust on it. It's not falling apart or anything, but it does seem to have started out life as a northerner - rather as did I.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On the way to work

Kitten - Chicken standoff. The kitten stood to learn a few things.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Grades are in

Taking Vitamin C. Washing it down with orange juice.

Will blog again another day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fridge Art

The three of us, by Julia

Julia, by Robin

Monday, September 15, 2008

Paying attention

A few minutes ago, I was cutting up some frozen cheese (I don't want to talk about it) with a smallish knife on an unsuitable surface.

I was being careful, but also musing, as one does (Doesn't one? Or is it just me?) about what I would do if I cut myself, here alone with a sketchy cell phone.

As I was musing, I caught a stray lyric from the music playing in the other room: "The first cut is the deepest."

I decided to let the cheese thaw for a few minutes, get out a real cutting board and use an appropriate knife.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dear Future Julia,

Thank you for not waking me up on Saturday morning. I know you like to get in my bed with me, and it was nice of you to remember that I wanted to sleep in.

Thank you for not only amusing yourself, but getting breakfast ready for the three of us while you waited soooo patiently till I woke up on my own at 6:30 a.m.

And thank you for understanding when I explained that next time I'd rather put my own milk on the cereal, shortly before eating it.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lunch at Leah's

Friday, September 12, 2008

Must be fate

Remember the red car, and the whole taxi issue?

I thought I had left all that behind, but I swear to you, people have been trying to hail me lately.

All I can figure is that people aren't used to see a car with running lights, and they take headlights in daylight as a "looking for a cab?" signal on my part.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Before it was second-hand information. Now I have seen it with mine own eyes.

A little snapshot of the checkout area at our local grocery store.

We have neither Halloween nor Thanksgiving to put the brakes on this sort of thing; we do have Independence Day on Monday, but they seem to be pretty at ease with the both/and option on that score. You can see a bit of the red, white & blue stuff beyond the faux greenery there.

I'll let you know when they start playing the music.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I write letters

Dear Radio Dos,

Good call.

That public service announcement about how people don't feel safe, and how the three branches of government have pledged to work together to increase the sense of security in Costa Rica? The one you've run at 2:45 p.m. every day this week? There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Well, except that I don't think this is such an insecure place, but whatever. They send you the ads, you broadcast them. I know that's not your call.

What is your call - or anyway under your control - is the placement of the ads, and I do think it was wise of you to follow today's Recuperemos La Paz ad with the ad about the chance to win fabulous cash and prizes if you pay your municipal taxes on time, and then with the ad for the national power company's environmental "plant a tree" campaign.

I wonder how many people contacted you about running the ad for Street Kings* immediately after the "your government is working for peace" ad yesterday. And the day before.

Seriously, I was about to write to you myself.

J. Tucker
A Few Choice Words

* [From the link: Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a disillusioned L.A. Police Officer, rarely playing by the rules and haunted by the death of his wife. All of the cops in Ludlow's unit, including their captain, Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker), bend and break the rules of conduct on a regular basis. Their intention is often to deal with crime in a manner that they perceive to be more efficient, which leads them to routinely lie, falsify reports and manipulate evidence to cover up for their wrong-doings.]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


If there's one thing in life that's easy, it's blogging on September 9.

  • Happy birthday, Alex.
  • Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad.
  • Happy birthday, Rita.
  • Happy Children's Day, if you're in Costa Rica.
  • Happy birthday to my friend's youngest daughter, who is also my oldest daughter's friend. And happy birthday to her father as well, if I'm not mistaken.
  • Happy 19th 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.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pizza Hut blogging

Alex's birthday is tomorrow and he invited the girls and I to join him for dinner tonight. Pizza Hut was about what you'd expect on a weekday night. To wit:

  • There were twins having a birthday at the next table, so they put the Pizza Hut Birthday Song on the sound system and brought the little pieces of cake with the candles in them, and the cluster of waiters clapping along, and the tambourine and everything. The one waiter guy came in on the wrong beat, so I figured he was new. When it was Alex's turn for the PHBS, a different waiter guy came in on the wrong beat, and when they all started looking over at the cashier (with the computers), I realized it was the recording that was misbehaving. The PHBS quit altogether while they were singing to the girl at the (other) next table, and they had to finish it a capella.

  • The power went out once, for about ten minutes. The emergency lighting was adequate.

  • All children in the place were given a free toy (tomorrow is Children's Day in Costa Rica). Cause when you've got tables full of young children, glasses, and cutlery, the only thing really missing is a piece of knobby plastic that lights up when you swing it around on a string.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A little luxury

I met Rita for coffee at the mall today, and decided to get my car washed while I was there. I've been meaning to either wash it or have it washed for a while now, since driving through torrential rain several times a week is puzzlingly ineffective at removing even the worst of the dust, cat footprints (and I don't even have a cat), and Robin's name written on the passenger side door.

So when the kid with the carwash cart came up and asked if I wanted it washed and waxed while I was inside, I said sure. When Rita and I strolled out of one of the other entrances an hour or so later, my little purple car shone at me from two parking lots away, already resplendent and, it must be noted, a little smug.

When I finally got back to the car to leave, I actually double checked to make sure it was the right one. Did I know I had a pinstripe on my car?

I didn't know there was that much clean in all the world.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Just a little nudge

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home yesterday. I was in the mood for something healthy, and found a bag of that prewashed spinach. Well, prewashed leafy stuff that is called "American spinach" here because it's several times closer to what, in the United States, is known as "spinach" than what goes by that name locally. (The leaves aren't fuzzy, for one.)


I wanted to get some dressing to put on it, but I wasn't sure what kind, because I don't normally buy salad dressing here, except for ranch. And the ranch I have currently is very, very bad. But I was in no mood to make salad dressing decisions. What to do?

I loves me a little divine intervention now & then.

Friday, September 05, 2008

That fine line between working the system and perpetuating it

You know what's telling? I have an outfit - or rather a subset of my wardrobe - that I consider my "getting things accomplished in Costa Rica" clothes.

Not formal clothing, mind you. Fitted stuff. In my experience, it makes a difference.

(Had to get the car inspected today, you see.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Let me know when you get tired of the Haiku Cop Out...

No news from Brave Sir
Watching random YouTube vids
Don't know what to post

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More good wishes please

I heard briefly from Brave Sir Robin this morning. His brother was in a very serious motorcycle accident on Friday, and they're still waiting to see if he'll pull through.

Please aim your most loving thoughts up, down or over at Texas for our friend and his family.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Work today

Receive, count, check off
So many plumbing fittings
Brass nipples? Tee hee!

Monday, September 01, 2008

As promised :)

Mother and baby doing well

As we all suspected and fervently hoped, my neighbor and her baby are both fine. Thanks for the good wishes.

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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