Thursday, April 30, 2009

Long weekend

Tomorrow being International Workers' Day, the girls are off from school and I'm off work. The big plan is a mid-day picnic/cookout at Monte de la Cruz, assuming all the picnic shelters aren't staked out by the time we get there. Not having done a lot of this sort of thing, I'm not sure to what extent the national holiday will translate into Ticos at the park. Possibly quite a lot, but we're flexible; I'm sure we can find a backup venue* if necessary. Expect photos!

* Probably our own kitchen, but the kids can play at the park either way.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The kids were on the computer a lot this evening, and then there were cards (Julia won) and reading (only half a chapter) and falling asleep with the reading (there is nothing more soporific than reading aloud to children) and ... maybe I'll manage something a little more interesting tomorrow.

'Night, y'all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As long as I don't have to return the fax,* it's all good.

So, back in November I posted about residency cards and renewals and stuff because I thought my card was long-expired and it turned out there was an exception for my date range and I didn't actually have to renew it till April 2009.

It being the twilight of April 2009, I called today to get an appointment to renew. The nice lady on the phone asked for my name, my card number, and the previous expiration date.

She told me what to bring to the appointment, how much I would have to pay, and where to deposit said amount. I'm always up for not having to spend hours in line at Immigration, and was correspondingly pleased to hear that I would be able to renew for a five-year period this time.

So, finally she gets around to telling me the date and time of my renewal appointment. It's in June.

Now, that really isn't that shocking. This is a developing country after all; they do love their bureaucracy. And once I have the appointment, that's close enough for government work and my current card will remain valid as long as I also present the letter (which they faxed me) stating that I have a renewal appointment. So I don't really care when it is; I've done my part and I'm legal till they say it's time to go stand in lines and stuff.

Oh, did I mention? The appointment is in June of next year. I love it.

* See Christina for more on returning faxes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome back, girls

So, the first item of business when I picked the girls up after school today was to examine and admire Robin's new cell phone. It's pink! And it has ringtones! Many ringtones! And the children have a different dance for each one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"If you choose text box as your field type, then field size 1 is optional and field size 2 is not required."

And that's one of the more immediately understandable bits of...well, we'll call it "language"...that I've come across in the course of trying to configure the quilt retreat website to use a new kind of form processor now that we've changed hosts to a much more flexible and affordable option.

If I'm not back by 8:00 a.m., send someone to work for me, okay?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And now a word from our sponsor

Hello, my name is Loren but I'm more commonly known as "Bird," "The Bird" and "The Parrot" around these parts.

Our old pal Steve has set the stage for a veritable revolution in blogification, and let it not be said that I didn't play along.

Many of you may know me as the quiet parrot in the background of some of Jen's posts.

That merely proves that you don't know me, what with using "quiet" and "parrot" in the same sentence, there. Don't think I didn't notice. We parrots, we are not known for our tolerance, and you'd do well not to forget it.

In any case, I've been coerced er, obligated, um, elected...nay, privileged to provide today's commentary, as not a lot has actually taken place this fine day, and Jen is busy having a delicious dinner and a beer, thinking she's going to beat Bob at cards (and one day she will, mark my words), and getting ready to watch a movie. And now I have.

Enjoy your weekend and, whatever you do, don't forget the peanuts.

Thank you and good night.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Recent Commentses


Now I've added the new comments widget. Over on the sidebar, just below the Followers thingy, you can now see the five most recent comments.

Be still your heart.

Thursday, April 23, 2009



I sat down to post something and the Internet slowed all down. Since what I was trying to post was that I was going to install a new comments widget on the blog--and now the widget thingy won't load--I ... guess I won't be posting about that.

What else is there?

It rained today, and there was supposedly a bit of an earth tremor in the wee hours of...what was it, Tuesday or so? Changing seasons, ahoy.

It's official; Bob's been here forever now.

He makes a damn fine tuna casserole, so I figure we'll keep him around.

I didn't actually tell him he had to post something, by the way.

I called someone "the ebola virus of the Internet" today. It went over very well.

Harry Potter movies are so long you have to really plan your evening to both watch them and get enough sleep. And on that note...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A visit to our local Top of the World

It has come to my attention that today is Earth Day, much in the way that yesterday was not.

It hadn't occurred to me to actually go someplace pretty and, you know, enjoy nature on Earth Day, but it sure sounded like a sensible idea once it was raised, so that's what we did.

We drove up to someplace pretty, arriving at 4:05 to find that the park closes at 4:00. In fact, the guy was still standing at the gate, closing it. Not seeing the part of the sign with the hours on it, I though the whole place was shut down for renovations or something, so I got out to ask him when it would reopen. After a bit of confusing back-and-forth, I realized it was simply the regular schedule.

But the guy wouldn't let it go at that. "What were you going to do?" he asked. Well, we were pretty much going to go to the park. You know. Walk around and stuff. "You want to come in?" Uh, it's closed now. "It's okay, you can come in if you want." But getting back out? It's closed - you closed it yourself. Just now.

He really seemed to want to let us in, and assured us that he lives right there in the house at the entrance, and that it was no problem for him to let us back out when we were done. He also thought it was cool that today was Earth Day.

So, in we went for a little walk up the path to the scenic overlook and back down again.

It was so nice of him.

Plus a gratuitous sunset picture from after we got back home:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Me: What's with all the Che stuff?*

Someone Else: It's Earth Day.**

Me: ?

Someone Else: Well, he's dead. He's part of the earth now.

Me: Umm.***


* One person wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt and another with a button.

** No, actually, it's not.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just got a call

...from Robin on her new cell phone. From the sound of it, it's a few generations snappier than the one I've been using. Whistles and bells (and cameras and games) aside, if it gets decent reception here in the house, I may have to go for one of them myself.

Costa Rica tends to run out of phone lines - they're always expanding the systems, but often lagging a bit behind the demand. For instance, the reason I haven't applied for a land line here at the house is that a neighbor down the street has had the phone company work order posted in her window since December. December of 2007. The local switchboards (or whatever they're called nowadays) are simply saturated; there are no lines available in this particular neighborhood.

Cell phones were the same way until recently; you just couldn't get one. There was a waiting list, and then something like 100,000 lines finally became available earlier this year. From what I hear, more are coming out in the next couple of months and I keep saying I should go down and get an actual cell phone line in my own actual name.

If, as I say, Robin's works well here in the house, that'll be an added incentive to actually go ahead and do that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bed in a bag

So, not everyone takes naturally to the "dig around in a haystack-sized mound of stuff on the floor" method of shopping, but it works for me.

We went over to the local thrift store yesterday afternoon in search of queen-sized bedding, and came away with:

  • A king-sized mattress pad
    ...But one of those nice ones with the elastic extending down the entire vertical side, and in really good condition. I hope I can tuck the extra 16" in at the bottom or somewhere, because I really wanted a mattress pad for my new mattress.

  • Two fitted sheets
    One is queen sized and what I thought was your basic K-mart quality, but upon washing it actually has a pretty nice feel to it. It's beige.
    The other is knit (like a t-shirt) and purple, with no label. I tried to measure it at the store, but the fabric is stretchy, so it's hard to tell. I hope it'll fit.

  • Three flat sheets
    One is purple, so duh. And the other two are white, but much better quality than the sort of sheets I would otherwise acquire. One of them feels just like the older-than-God high thread-count percale sheets my grandmother used to put on the fold-away mattress I would sleep on on the floor of her bedroom when we visited them in the Olden Days.

  • Two eclectically-matched pillowcases
    By which I mean they're surprisingly similar shades of lavender, although one is a t-shirt knit and the other is regular woven sheet fabric.

  • One pillow.
    I know, but it looks (and smells) just fine, and I sometimes come up a pillow short when we have company.
All for $30-ish. I'm pleased.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bob wears girl shoes

...just thought you'd want to know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I swear, these children expect to be fed every. single. day. And then again the next morning!

Hmmm. My big casserole plans are failing to implement themselves without my help. Something about not going to the store for additional ingredients, and letting it get too late to start something that has to be cooked twice.

So we'll have Ramen & hot dogs tonight (down from Snoopy sandwiches, because Julia's agin' them right now).

Which, of course, also involves a trip to the store, but a lot less messing about once we've been & gone.

In fact, in the time it took to write this (Well, okay. In the time it took to start this, then come back to it), the whole thing has been accomplished! Everyone's fed!

No big weekend plans - thought I might get the girls to help wash the car, and Bob read my mind about seeing if he could fix the car radio, which will be great if it works. Maybe some sort of small outing if anything occurs to us.

And now it's Harry Potter 2 time. Happy Friday to one and all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


There's this pair of parking lots on opposite sides of the street next to the gas station on the road into town, where they park big container trucks. Every so often, going through there, you'll have to wait half a minute or so while a truck is maneuvered into one or the other of the lots.

I know some people who are irked by it, but I don't mind. They do it pretty quickly, and if you turn to look as you go past, you'll be amazed at how closely they line those things up. I wouldn't be able to squeeze in between some of the closer ones, were I for some reason inclined to do so.

'Cept, when I came home today, traffic was being diverted a block below that point, a utility pole was seen to be at an exceedingly inappropriate angle, and San Rafael was without power for five or six hours.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Waiting for pizza

And fixing to go downstairs with the kids for a movie when it gets here. Happy 15th, y'all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


* Crash *

* Pause *

"It was less than three seconds. We can still use that butter."

Monday, April 13, 2009

The whole picture/1000 words thing, or Rebirth of a bedroom

As you know, my bedroom suffered a spontaneous natural catastrophe that was in no way anybody's fault. I'm not supposed to post pictures of it because the sole witness feels bad about the whole thing, but I won't tell anyone if you click here: .

So, we did the sensible thing and abandoned the place for exotic locales (in this case, the Irazu volcano and nearby Orosi Valley, which Bob's already told you a bit about):

Then on Sunday it was time to remedy the situation.

Step One, removal of most of the remaining shelving and getting stuff all over to one side, had actually already been accomplished.

Step Two is, as always, "It's gonna get worse before it gets better."

Followed naturally by step Three, "Is it really any better?"

Step Four: Introduce bed frame and wonder if it's really all gonna fit.

Step Five: Assemble.

Step Six: Change mind about where it should go.

Step Seven: Decorate to taste.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In which a detail emerges at the last minute

So we took the new bed upstairs and put it together this afternoon, and it is Big and High. And the new mattress is Firm.

I think we'll all get used to all of those things, and the height is adjustable downward if necessary.

One thing might not adjust on its own though:

Me: The sheets aren't dry yet. Do you have a clean one?

Bob: I do, but all my sheets are full sized.

Me: Oh, crap. So are mine.

Note to self: Take tape measure to work tomorrow, that we might stop at the thrift store that has sheets on the way home.

It's definitely time for a Spades break.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day tripping

We're going to go point at things and say "pretty" a lot today. Expect pictures tonight or tomorrow...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reputation secure

Okay. I think I got the hang of two-handed Spades now.

Tip: Bidding 12 and making it is a good thing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Progress report

We had the glasses ordered by 10:00 a.m. I got these in black for the office--they're regular metal frames--and these in silver for home--they're memory titanium and likely to be more forgiving of the sorts of things that can happen to glasses around children.

Bob got two of these, one in black with clear lenses and one in blue with 80% tint for sunglasses. His are memory titanium too, what with the possibility of getting work in a carpentry shop and stuff.

Anti-glare coating on all four pairs, clip on sunglasses for me, and shipping (to my friend's Florida address that forwards to Costa Rica (we'll have to pay a few dollars in duty, but it's based on size & weight, so glasses shouldn't be too expensive), and the whole order came to $75. The site came highly recommended by another blogger; I'm sure you'll be hearing from us one way or the other a couple of weeks from now.

We also got the bed to the next stage, and that should be finished tomorrow. Then we can take it upstairs, put my (new!) mattress on top, and then begin to reassemble my shamblefied bedroom. I found out where I can order more of the plastic joints for the wireframe shelving, but we'll need to reassemble at least part of it before then, just to get the room habitable again.

We may yet watch one of the Harry Potter movies this evening, and we have played some cards, but I opted not to rebuild my repuation (of being "pretty good at cards") just yet. I'll get him when his guard is down, is what it is.

We're going out to an Easter potluck at Rita's tomorrow, and we'll probably take the day trip on Saturday.

So, all in all, the holiday is moving along nicely.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Big plans

I have four (count 'em! four!) days off, and big plans to go with 'em.

We've got a bed to build, an entire room to reconstruct, some glasses to order, a few movies to watch, and maybe even a bit of a field trip.

Also, Bob taught me two-handed Spades and...well, I've got a reputation to rebuild.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Just as I suspected

I "need glsses" in the sense that they'll probably reduce eye strain and headaches (which I don't consciously experience), and I suspect I'll see a difference in my vision as well. But I don't "need glasses" in the sense that the optometrist looked all shocked or lectured me like dentists do.

We actually only went in to Asembis to make appointments for eye exams, but the receptionist said if we could wait half an hour, they could see us both that same day.

We did have half an hour, and they saw us in less than that anyway. And they had Will & Grace on in the waiting room, so we were hardly going to complain.


Eye exams are frequently, including yesterday, two for the price of one. Half price is always nice. Turns out it was optometry, not ophthalmology (which I do eventually need) that we were getting apointments for, but the doctor had all the fancy machines, including my favorite, a cute little thing on her desk that read the prescription in Bob's current glasses as a starting point for his exam.

All for $3. Well, you know. $1.50 each, what with the special.

(I got a referral for the ophthalmologist's appointment I need, which will be much more expensive - about $30.)

For the glasses, we're going to give Zenni Optical a try. Eight dollar glasses, anyone?

Monday, April 06, 2009

People keep telling me, "I've been reading your blog." It's like they think they'll see something of substance here.

So, it turns out that spilling citronella oil on a quilt is a surprisingly poor mosquito deterrent. I woke up with more bites this morning than probably any other time since mosquito season began.

Curiously enough, mosquito season seems to have begun the very day tha Bob arrived. I'm trying not to hold it against him, but it's not a problem I've had to deal with before, so...

The girls (aside from having a lot of mosquito bites) have had a good week. They've been happy to go about their usual routines, but have also jumped at any chance to include Bob in them ... or run downstairs for a couple leaves of lettuce, or ask a question or deliver a cup of coffee, etc.

We shared a couple of meals and an afternoon or two, and everyone got along splendidly.

Now they're off for a week including, I understand, a trip to the beach. I've got a couple of days off this week as well, which will be nice.

For now, we have a pizza and a couple of beers and San Rafael's only Monty Python movie (The Meaning of Life), which is about my speed for tonight.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

In case you were wondering

The collapse of 20 units of fully loaded cubic modular wireframe shelving - to the extent that not a single cube survived intact - will really take the wind out of a tidy apartment's sails.


One ceramic angel, about a tablespoon of citronella lamp oil (I look forward to an unusually mosquito-free night), many of the cubic modular wireframe shelf corner joints, and Julia's aplomb for about 15 minutes following the event.

Kids' minds: A peek at the process

I cleaned the parrot cage just now.

The clean newspaper I put in was one I found on a table at the pizza place and perused while the girls played in the play place when we went there on, apparently, January 24. (Yup)

The article now positioned squarely under the parrot's favorite perch is about stem cell research. I probably pointed it out to the girls at the time, although I don't remember doing so. It's been in the stack of old newspapers in the laundry room ever since.

Julia saw me putting it in, and said, "Quick! Before the bird poops on it! Who's that guy?" I told her he was a scientist working to help sick people.

"Yeah. Obama let him. And the other one ..."

"Bush," I prompted.

"The other one ... what was the first President of the United States?"

I told her the President before Obama was Bush.

"No, what was the first President of the United States?"

"The first President was George Washington."

"Yeah. And George Bush didn't let them and lots of people, I think lots of people died, and that was mean."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Like the box says: Real Brothers, Real Music, Not Really Naked.

Okay, so we saw the Naked Brothers Band movie, and I'm of two minds. It's a mockumentary about a kids' rock band. And by "kids" I mean younger than my kids - most of the band members are nine, and one is six.

I was pretty turned off at first by all the cutesy ways the kids, especially the six year old, played out adult stereotypes of rock musicians, especially since it was juxtaposed with stereotypically little kid behaviors like giggling at references to bodily functions and burping the alphabet.

The whole soda addiction/rehab bit aside*, we have a six year old coming on to a leggy, curvy, scantily dressed full-grown woman. She humors him in a little-boy way, but it's just skeevy to see this tiny kid parroting this "she's my girlfriend" stuff because it's his role, when he's clearly way too young to see this woman as anything other than a mother figure.

Toss in a few gratuitously horrid female characters, including an actual catfight, and I was pretty turned off by the first half of the thing.

Then it turned half decent and had an actual nice ending. Go figure.

And the music CD is quite a lot nicer than some of the other music the kids are into these days.

Tonight a friend is over and she brought Spirit (remember Spirit?), but it won't play in my computer. So they're watching the buxom, sex-starved tree instead.

Ah, children's entertainment.

* And by the way, no parent in the history of ever is going to buy a six year old going on a lemon-lime soda bender and sleeping as a result. Seriously, did nobody involved in the production of this movie have kids?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Let's pull that button back up to the top, shall we?

The Breast Cancer Site Steve's sister Michele fought metastasized breast cancer for 3+ years, culminating in a sudden decline over less than a week.

I made a small donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure this afternoon, in hopes that by the time the Overlords are grown, people won't have to be losing sisters to breast cancer anymore. (The National Breast Cancer Foundation is another worthy organization.)

And of course, that little pink button there costs nothing to click, and actually generates income that funds free mammograms for women in need. The whole row of them down there is actually worth two to three minutes of your time.

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

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Be careful out there, y'all

So, it's not a full moon and Mercury's not in retrograde, but you couldn't prove it by my office printer and Rasheed breaking a finger at school today and...well, me rear-ending a guy on the way home from work today (and then nearly getting sideswiped by one of the other parents picking kids up at the girls' school 20 minutes later).

Happily, I was able to cash in a good number of karma points (and it was at a stop sign, so there was no velocity involved), and when the other driver and I got out, he peered and rubbed at the scraped-but-not-dented marks on his bumper, shrugged, smiled, and drove off. All with no words exchanged and without putting down his sandwich.

I love people.

My bumper is way-scraped-but-not-dented and I was only 10 minutes late to pick the kids up (that's five kids today - two of my personal ones and three friendly interlopers). And I was already headed to being at least 5 minutes late to begin with.

Note to self: Begin building the karma back up soonest.*

* Having two children taking recorder lessons at school instead of just the one...that counts for something, right?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


J [Gets up and goes out to the living room]

R [Amazed]: Did you come here because you got my telepatía??

J: Yes.

R: What did I say?

J: You already know.

Funny thing...there's no funny things

I'd like to make some big, clever April 1 post, but I'm just not seeing it.

There was this big virus scare that I was sure was an April Fool's thing, and now I'm not really sure whether it was or not, but nothing in particular happened (that I'm aware of) as a result of it - which I suppose is a good thing.

I had little worms in my fruit at lunch today. They jumped surprisingly high for little legless things. But, they were real, so no joke there.

I asked my child to stop doing her homework and she wouldn't. No joke.

And, of course, when I try to think of outrageous things I could claim were true, my mind tends to come up with things that I consider outrageous, but of which I've already been accused or suspected, and to be honest, I didn't find that funny at all.

I guess it's just an unfunny time right now. Please take a moment to go give Steve some lovin' and I'm sure there'll be plenty of funny to be had another time.

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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