Friday, July 31, 2009

Amazon's no fool

You know, for the frequency with which I buy stuff on Amazon - like, maybe once a year - it's surprising how often I end up casting about for some additional $5 item so I can round my purchase up to $25 and get the free Super Saver shipping.

So, of course I added a $7 item to save $5 in shipping. Which, if you look at it in just the right light, is kind of like getting that last item for two bucks, even though I wasn't originally going to buy it at all.

The upshot of it is, now in addition to The Gods Must Be Crazy (1 and 2) on DVD and Harry Potter 7 (paperback), my kids also get Ghostbusters on DVD.

I figure, I raise my kids in Central America, I have a responsibility to provide them with at least some pop culture.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hey, remember this?

Good on you, ColorVision

That billboard only sat vacant for a few days. It's been replaced with a different sign...advertising the same product.

I would conclude that it was removed due to complaints, and that Detektor was prevailed upon to come up with some way of advertising their "Lo-Jack" GPS products that didn't make light of international terrorism.

I know, right? Some people with their demands and expectations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A kitty by any other name

Rastafarian Phallic Pretorius.
Surrender the Portico, Parrots Vainglorious.
Lavender Calico Batter Fried Platypus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

St. John puts his two cents in

Wow, I totally forgot about this.

Costa Rica gets a brief dry spell called El Veranillo de San Juan ("The Little Summer of San Juan") every year, and we're having it now. I had noticed it wasn't raining as regularly - not driving home in it was my first clue. But I forgot it was a regularly scheduled two week dry spell in July of any given year.

I guess it's almost over, and once it goes we have rainy season back until it begins to taper off in mid November. I'm certainly not opposed to the reduced rainfall - it's still been raining a bit, but it tends to be lighter and after I'm home for the day, which is nice.

But today was SO HOT it's got me thinking I could put up with some afternoon rain if it would just cool off a bit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good riddance

I am happy to report that the billboard for "Detektor"--some sort of presumably GPS-based car tracking device--which I pass on my way to work every day and can see from about four blocks away right up until I pass it, was removed last week. It wasn't even replaced, just pulled down and the space left blank.

I hope it wasn't just that its run was up and nothing has been booked to replace it, but that it was removed because the billboard agency realized how inappropriate it was.

The entire right half of the thing was a picture of Osama Bin Laden. The left half said simply, "Detektor would already have found [him]." I can't even muster the will to parse all the layers of wrong in that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today in things you think you'd be told

Less impressive than last week's, but still.

You'd think, when the mechanic says it'll take half a day to drain the brake fluid, purge and refill the system, and you drop the car off at 10:00 on Saturday morning and the mechanic says they close at 6:00 and to call at 4:00, and you call at 4:30 but can't reach them on the phone, so you walk over and find out they ran into a delay and it's still not ready, but they are, as noted, closing at 6:00 and closed on Sundays so they'll definitely be finishing it that day...I say, in a situation such as that, you'd think someone would also mention that when they have to stay late to finish a car, they simply leave the keys in the gas station office and the customer can, in fact, pick the car up the following day.

Because if they didn't mention a thing like that, a person could walk back over to the shop at 6:00 (with a child in tow both times) so as to arrive at closing time, and end up waiting nearly two hours while they finish the working on the car.

And nobody wants that.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New tradition

I felt like making a cake today. When I told the girls, in addition to the obligatory "Yay!", they also asked what the occasion was. Forgetting that today was, in fact, a national holiday, I decided that finishing Harry Potter 3, the book, and watching Harry Potter 3, the movie was a worthy reason to make a cake.

So that's what we did. Robin and I had a math lesson figuring out how to half-again-as-much Sue (then) Benbow's mocha cake recipe, then Julia got to be all Competent With Hot Things On The Stove helping with Beth Oney's Texas Sheet Cake frosting.

The frosting recipe is like four ingredients and two steps, but it still managed to go wrong. Who ever heard of milk, butter and cocoa curdling when you bring it to a boil? But I beat it into submission with a wisk and all was well.

Tomorrow, on to Book 4.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Overheard or, How I know that voices carry


Me: /Sip/ *CoughCoughCoughGagChokeSputterGasp*

Julia: Are you okay, Mommy?

Me: *CoughCoughCough* Yes. But apparently I'm not very good at drinking water.

[Downstairs, 10 minutes later]

Me: *CoughCoughAhem*

Bob: You should get a drink of water.

Me: Hmmph.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Men don't have this issue

Tonight is the solar presentation at the university and I'm getting ready to go - shower, iron the blouse, grab a snack, etc. I have to say, the preparations involve rather more attention to my toenails than I would have thought.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I don't THINK this is going to become a habit...

...But check this out.

I went to the registration and opening remarks of the solar conference yesterday to see what it looked like and what sort of electronics would be available to us and stuff, and I took some pictures.

When I got to work and plugged my card reader into the computer there, I saw two kitty pictures and four sunsets along with the conference shots, and when I mentioned it to my boss, we realized that everyone in the office had noticed the previous night's sunset.

Which is as it should be, because look:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's official

One's marital status is a matter of public record in Costa Rica, so I've gotten into the habit of looking mine up every couple of weeks, just to see. We were told back when we processed the divorce that it would take "a while," which I surmised might mean three months or so. When I asked the lawyer, he said it might be around that long, assuming the judge who processed it didn't find anything to object to in our custody arrangement. (Everything was consensual, so it was expected to be approved without further involvement from us.)

Well, that was in November, see, and that's a long time ago. First I thought, well, it was right before Christmas and everything shuts down then. Then I thought it was just taking longer because it's a government process and I've seen my share of government processes here.

It doesn't technically matter either way - it's not delaying anything else, but it's a loose end and beyond just "so it's taking longer than we thought", the only actual reasons I could think of for delay weren't good ones.


I wanted to look up the website for the university seminar I posted about last night, but didn't have the address, and when I started typing a keyword into the address bar of my browser, the electoral tribunal website popped up as one of the auto-complete suggestions because it uses the same combination of letters. (No, I'm not a citizen and can't vote here, but they're the ones who maintain this particular database.)

So I checked again, and there it was. All official and public.

Also? It's dated January 19 - six months and one day before I actually saw it. Can't say I'm surprised, but sheesh. If you're gonna maintain an online database, how about actually maintaining it, ya think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Silver lining

So, the kitten is all totally cute and stuff, and learning the house rules very quickly.

She is, however, still learning, with the result that I did rather more laundry this past weekend than I usually do, of a weekend.

Way more, to be honest.

And now every single outfit I own is clean, on this the week that I have to actually look good on two different days, in front of the same group of people.

You see, our company has been invited to give a 20-minute presentation and 10-minute Q&A at a week-long seminar thingy (okay, so I don't remember the official title and can't find it online. It might be "seminar thingy"...) about solar technology at the National University of Costa Rica. I'm supposed to go attend the opening remarks tomorrow so I can scope out the crowd and see how many there are and what sort of atmosphere they're going to be soaking in for the next three days, and stuff like that.

And then I've been elected as the front person for the presentation on the day (which is Thursday) because of my Spanish and because I didn't object violently when they proposed it. My boss & coworker are compiling the information I will be presenting, and there's a more than even chance that my boss will in fact come and, possibly, present it himself anyway.

I'm just glad I have my full wardrobe to choose from. Looking all professional-y, and twice in one week, isn't really my wardrobe's long suit.

So, uh, thanks a lot Raxacoricofallapatorius.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This might be one of those lessons that has to be learned the hard way

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not a cat post - not that she doesn't deserve one.

It has appeared to be, over time, fairly important to some of the people in my life that I resume qulting.

I wasn't sure that I would, but on the other hand I never decided that I wouldn't. I just wasn't particularly interested in it.

And I might not have gone back to it, had it not presented itself as a potential source of income.

But it did, and I may just.

Except, when I actually got my supplies out today (and, in fact, carried them down the street to the neighbor's house) and cleaned off a nice spacious table and set up my machine and wound bobbins and everything...

It turned out my thread was aged and feeble, and not of a suitable quality for the project at hand.

Baby steps. Apparently.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping it short because holy wow, is this what dialup has always been like?

We're semi-housesitting for a neighbor this weekend. "Semi" because it's just a few houses down from our place, so we're in and out rather than here all the time.

So far this evening, HGTV has been doing its best to inform us how badly we need A) A high-powered mower/trimmer, B) Space bags, and C) Some European technology cream that will "Impruv" me immeasurably.

Raxacoricofallapatorius is lucky this isn't our usual fare. She probably would have been named Spray Foam.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh yeah, I remember this from when the kids were toddlers

It's long been my theory that the phenomenon of cuteness is largely responsible for the survival of any number of species in this world.

Raxacoricofallapatorius is beyond cute.

She is also a Very Bad Kitty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here, have a sunset (slightly used)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In which it takes me a while but I eventually realize what's going on

I was driving to work the other day when I noticed that my cell phone screen was looking pretty bad. It was all darkish and picky so I had to hold it at just the right angle to see the numbers clearly. I had just dropped it on our concrete steps a few weeks before, and I guess it hit at an angle that messed with the liquid crystalness of it.

Then I noticed that my watch was doing the same sort of thing. There was a nick on one side of the face, and it was all shadowy radiating out from that. I know the watch has been dropped too, but not recently, so I decided Bob had probably done something to it when he borrowed it for his class on one of these Tuesdays.

I was pretty disappointed to have all my electronics going all obsolete on me all at once, but whatever.

Then another day on the way home from work, I saw that the phone actually looked just fine. I figured that the dropping must have jarred it in some sort of way that was subsequently un-jarred, or possibly that the liquid crystals had evened back out.

Or something.

Also lately, I've been seeing a lot of cars where the rear - or even front - windshield defrost surface, or something, is all shimmery shadowy in either an egg crate or a wavy-stripey kind of pattern, like it wasn't applied very well and was losing its transparency. I saw enough of it, including a bit on my own rear windshield, that I began to wonder if there was some component of the tropical heat that was causing the things to look like that. Is global warming to blame?

Maybe everything in the world is wearing out, all at once. Doesn't it sometimes seem that way?

Of course, I did eventually realize that I had started seeing all of these things around the same time that I started using the polarized clip-on sunglasses that came with my regular glasses.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Oh lordy, what have we wrought?

She Who Has, In Fact, Been Named (I'm Pretty Sure) is...mischievous. I gather that's not unusual in Felines of the Smaller Persuasion.

For instance? I'm pretty sure none of us will ever take eating or sleeping for granted again.

Also? You have Not. Lived. till you've seen eight inches of kitten run up Bob's chest and lick his mustache because she's tried everything else she can think of to get a bite of pizza.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our new denizen

So, as you'll have seen over at his place, my idea of a kitten for Bob's birthday was extremely well received.

She and Bob are still working out the name issue, but I don't think it'll be long now. I've offered my share of suggestions, of course (my official nomination goes to Moxy Mocha Calliope Sockfoot) but, named or not, she's made herself completely at home.

When I went downstairs to return the cake just now, Bob was dozing on the couch. Kitty was sitting proprietarily on his hip; she watched me come and go with utter confidence in her own authority - not bad for someone who's barely lived here for 24 hours.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy birthday, Bob

I'm glad we're together for this one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another July birthday

This month is just full of 'em, isn't it?

Seems today is Béla Fleck's birthday. I was introduced to Béla's music by another July baby, but it won't be his birthday for several more hours yet.

I have this song at the top of my playlist, so even though I keep the player on shuffle, it always starts with this one:

Also, check out Béla's latest project - a very cool documentary (with, I might add, a equally cool website).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

If they would just sell a little bag of sugar and electronics, we could skip all kinds of unnecessary steps here

Julia went to the corner store to get herself something with her own money, and wow.

The thing she picked out is A) A toy gun, B) Startlingly phallic within, I suppose, the bounds of plausible deniability, and C) Almost 100% high fructose corn syrup (okay, I didn't read the ingredients, but I'm pretty confident).

And furthermore, the gun part is plastic, with a (let's say unintentionally) phallic nubbin of candy stuck in the barrel, and when you pull the trigger, the edible part lights up. So, you put the gun in your mouth, pull the trigger to illuminate the's just all kinds of win.

Anyway, I reminded her that she's not supposed to play with gun things, and she said she hadn't realized - thought it was an iguana, apparently (?). So she ate the candy and we reverse engineered the thing, and now she has some gun parts to throw away, and two little pellet batteries with a nifty little red LED she can build into something rather less disturbing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In which I save the day. Well, really the night.

Robin thought she had a bat in her room last night.

I assured her that, A) She really probably didn't, because if she had where did it go? and B) If she ever does, she must call me and let me evacuate it, no matter what time it is.

And five minutes later we discovered the dastardly (and Very Scary) bat impersonator, who I proceeded to evacuate even though it wasn't, in fact, a bat.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Okay, I'll admit it's more the concept than the execution...

...But if Mickey Dolenz is going to give a concert on my birthday, and I'm going to find out about it four days later (on my sister's birthday), and he actually sings Happy Birthday (to his drummer) right there on stage, well then it's going to have to go on the blog.

Happy birthday, Lisa :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Reasonable expectations

It was the kind of day where I decided if I didn't find a dead fly when I went to reheat the leftover coffee*, that'd be good enough.

And I didn't, so that's cool.

And in fact, other things have worked out such that the fly thing is now but a vaguely pleasant memory, which is even better.

* That actually happens considerably more often than I feel it should, given that we rarely have flies anywhere but in the leftover coffee.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Photo album

I have reason to compile a bit of a portfolio of my quilting work, which I have done here. Have a look and feel free to make with any sort of comments or suggestions.

Yes, Julie, this means you might one day get your quilt ;)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Got my wish

We all went out to dinner, courtesy of Mom & Dad, and then home for cake and presents and a movie. I wanted The Gods Must Be Crazy but Shirley at the local video store says they don't have it because whenever people rent that one, they don't bring it back. So we settled for Groundhog Day instead.

The restaurant is a fun family place with playgrounds and oldey-timey newspapers shellacked to the tables and a couple rooms full of antique stuff all lined up on shelves.

Oh, and the big (and in fact New and Improved and very big) beefcake poster in the ladies' room, with a little trapdoor in a strategic spot, with a "go ahead and open it" message on the little trapdoor, and which, upon opening, sounds a Very Loud Alarm so everyone else in the restaurant can look over to see who's coming out of the ladies room.

We decided to resist temptation this time.

ANYway. Here's the view before and after sunset. You can see the airport just to the left of the orange chimney in the daytime photo, and a jet getting ready to land there in the lower one. Well, you might not be able to see it at this size. But it's there in the larger version.

And my Hershey's Kisses and "Leave Julia Alone" coupons from the girls (that's where I give Robin a coupon and she moves 30 steps away from Julia and leaves her alone for three hours - looking forward to redeeming those), and a colorful new keychain from a friend, and the blanket, which is from Mom - she made it herself! ...I'm told there's a story there?

Friday, July 03, 2009

There. I'm 40 now.

Or will be at...whatever time. It's off to a nice start; flowers from Dad (with help from Bob and the neighbor), and good wishes via Facebook about every 10 minutes, at least now while people are still logging in for the day.

We'll have dinner and a video with the kids later, because what I really want is for all four of us to be able to spend time together - we do, a little, but we're still taking it pretty gradually, so dinner and a movie, all sitting together on the couch; that's what I want.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

We'll figure it out

Mom had the good idea of having dinner with the girls tomorrow (even though it's not my usual weekend) - Julia had been making noises about having some extra time with me anyway, so the timing was good. They'll stay the night thenI'll take them back for the usual weekend up the hill.

We've got plans with adult friends on Saturday, which will be fun. Iit looks like the family picnic thing we'd originally planned may or may not work out for next weekend, but we'll figure out something nice to do - maybe we can have our own picnic even if the other family isn't available.

Hopefully having dinner together on the day will buy us some time and flexibility as far as the rest of the celebrations go.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Not corrupted

Enjoying a few quality television programs is perfectly acceptable. I am subject to no advertising, nor enslaved to schedules.

As long as I don't get hooked on Lost, all know. Not Lost.

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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