Monday, August 31, 2009

Today in Things You Don't See Every Day

"An enduring Cold War relic," now serving drinks on a hillside in Manuel Antonio. Really really not what I expected to see when looking up the website of the hotel at which we'll be attending (and setting up a booth at) a trade fair next month.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What today looked like

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Torchwood, quilting and pie

Those have been the primary ingredients of the day; not, perhaps, in that order. Also featured: Napping, laundry, chili, and Facebook.

Oh, and apparently there's some sort of game in which groups of men pass an oddly-shaped ball back and forth amongst themselves, and they're going to start doing that on a regular basis. I gather it's important.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The ebb and flow of things

Today being an "ebb" sort of day, in the end.

So at work today I was suddenly and unexpectedly given a wireless mouse to try out and, if desired, to buy for what would have been a good price...but it works too erratically on my computer to bother with. Oh well.

And, as we were turning into our street after going to the store this afternoon, my neighbor stopped me to say that the Korean family that moved out of that house yesterday had some sort of contretemps in the new place and is moving back in tomorrow.

That's very much the way things tend to go here, and although we had given a lot of thought and conversation to the place, and we both agreed that it would be a great fit for us, it was still clear to me that it was all something that might work out.

And, it may yet; both the family that's moving back in (assuming they do) and the owner of the house know we're interested, so I trust we'll have another crack at it if things change again.

When I told the story to my other neighbor, she said she'd keep an eye on the house next door to hers - also 3 bedrooms and renting for about the same price. It turned over a couple of months ago, and she thinks the new renters may be tiring of the landlord stopping by every week to see if they've got the rent. As someone who will make it a point to have the rent on the first (well, the first or so...this is still Costa Rica after all), I don't see that being a problem.

So, we wait. Something will come together sooner or later.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

File Under: Wishing (cf. Careful With That)

I have found, more and more as time goes by, that when there's something I really want, it does tend to show up, often sooner rather than later.

I'm talking about simple but meaningful things, sometimes involving personal interactions and general lifeyness, and sometimes flatly material items.

This computer right here, and the accouterments it took to get it up and running, are a good example.

Living in the two apartments has been a really good thing for all of us; we can be as close as we want, but with enough distance to give the girls the space they needed, especially at first.

When the girls aren't around, we've tended to spend almost all our time down at Bob's, and I had started to really covet a more shared space. I wanted to be able to spend time not only doing things together, but also just being together, even when we were involved in our own activities.

One really effective way of making that happen would be to have a second computer down here. It's not that I wasn't welcome down here, but we would both have things to do on the computers in the evening, and I would either be waiting for him or keeping him from his own computer. But I didn't want to just go upstairs and do my own thing.

Then all of a sudden someone Bob used to know reconnected with him on Facebook, and after a couple of exchanges he mentioned that he had several computers and wondered if we knew anyone who might be able to put one to good use.

Oh, and Dad was planning a trip down here a few weeks later.

And here we are.

Even longer than I'd wanted another computer, I had deeply, cravenly coveted a flatscreen monitor. I knew prices would be coming down over time, but I also knew that it wasn't something I would be spending money on, certainly not until I actually needed a monitor, and probably not even then.

And then this computer showed up and we needed a monitor, and Gerarda suggested Craigslist, and there was a flatscreen 15 minutes out of town, together with the exact chair I would be needing, for a price that even I could see my way to paying. (I trust the wireless mouse & keyboard issue will sort itself out eventually, but I'm willing to be patient; the computer itself works and that's plenty to keep me happy for a while.)

As the whole computer situation was arranging itself to my satisfaction, I was also becoming aware that, A) The girls have become comfortable spending time all together when we do, and with me spending a bit of time downstairs when they're home, and B) I was still feeling like I had to divide my time and pay very close attention to who was where and when and for how long and how everyone feels about it and are the girls invading Bob's space and, and, and.

What I really really wanted was a living room. Someplace that wasn't one person's territory, but where Julia could do a puzzle and Robin could read a book or chat with a friend and Bob could watch Star Trek online and I could read Shakesville, without anyone having to be Visiting someone else.

I assumed we'd get a single house eventually, but who knew when, and besides I love my little neighborhood and really didn't want to leave it and start over.

You see where this is going, don't you?

When I got home from work today, Bob mentioned that the Korean family was moving out of the house two doors down.

When I went to the corner store, the door of the house was open and I stopped to ask them if it was going to be available to rent. She thought it would be. It's three bedrooms and she even told me how much they pay; it's about $35 more than we're currently paying for each of the apartments.

The neighbor across the street came out and told me where the owner lives, and I walked over but there was nobody there. Then he turned up at the house and I went in and spoke with him (and got a quick look at the place - it's the mirror image of the house between it and ours, which I have been in).

He's got some work to do on it while it's empty, and I assured him we're in no hurry. It shouldn't be difficult for our landlady to re-rent these apartments if we do move, but I don't want to leave her too suddenly either.

So, who knows. These things are decided solely by word of mouth, and the guy may already have someone lined up for the place, or someone else may come along who he knows or has some connection to, and we may come home one day and see someone moving in. But he knows we're interested and now we'll just wait and see what comes of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yes, yes, I know. Here they are.

Okay, on closer examination I do see that a lot of the buns on that blog are, in fact, very close variations on the same theme - some so close I can't really tell how to make them differently. But there are still several that work and a few I haven't tried yet, so I have a few options now, and I'm still happy about it.

This is the one I had in at work all day, still in fine shape after I'd been home for several hours (the sticky-outies at the top are a feature, not a bug):

And this is one that works to make a quick ponytail or half-up with just a hairstick. I love being able to do that.

Today in Absurdly Cute

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In which I talk about my buns

My hair's been bothering me lately, both in appearance and in length, so I decided to look up some of the old long hair sites and think about new options for both care and styling.

Our old standby, Pert Plus, stopped working on all our hair a couple of months ago - it still cleans, but it really doesn't condition anymore, so I picked up a different brand of conditioner last time, one that calls itself "anti frizz" because that's got to be a good thing, right?

But my hair didn't like it, and I didn't really want to start working my way through the hair care product aisle because each bottle is a chunk of money and takes weeks to use up and in the meantime your hair's too greasy or dry or whatever between washes.

So, as I mentioned briefly yesterday, I decided to go the non-commercial-products route.

Baking soda is a base, like soap, and cleans hair very nicely (couple tablespoons in a cup of warm water). Rinse well. Apple cider vinegar as a rinse (again, a couple tablespoons in a cup of water, followed by a good rinse) neutralizes the base and restores a healthy pH to the hair, as well as leaving it soft and detangly.

You wouldn't think so, but it does.

Plus, both are very cheap and I rather like the smell of the vinegar (which doesn't linger in the hair, but it does in the bathroom.)

Both solutions feel just like water - there's no soapy sudsy, no lather, rinse, repeat. But it works and it's nice that the first thing I tried made a difference.

So, on to the styling. I liked wearing buns back when my hair was long, and I can't help but notice it's only an inch or two above my waist now. That probably qualifies, once again, as "long." No wonder I'm getting tired of the daily ponytail.

I remember, in times past, struggling to find new ways of putting my hair up. I would find instructions for different kinds of buns, but they would be all Step By Step Instructions and "It should look something like this picture," when you can't see the back of your head anyway, and it was arm tiring and frustrating and hard to do.

And the pins. Oh, the Amish pins. Don't get me wrong; Amish pins are a wonderful thing. But it shouldn't take the whole package to keep a bun in place.

And then, suddenly, there was a link to this little blog with something like 30 styles, most of them buns, and each one has a teeny tiny (clickable to enlarge) picture and maybe three lines of text describing how to do it.

And I tried a couple.

And they worked.

And now I am happy,* the end.

* Well, okay. I'll be happier once my scalp gets used to snug hairdos again. And once Bob polyurethanes my hairsticks so they don't snag as much. And I'd have been happier if someone hadn't said to me, "What's with the bun, did you forget to wash your hair?" But in the grander sense, I am very happy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coming to you live from our branch office four paces to the southeast and down a floor

Though we got this computer when Dad['s luggage] arrived, and we set it up the next day, this is the first time I've actually sat down to use it beyond just making sure it worked.

It seems to work just fine, although I'm afraid to get too settled in, because we're thinking a wipe & reinstall of Windows might be in order. It doesn't seem to have much on it at all, but still takes quite a while to boot up and stuff. And then there's always that Linux disc. Hmmm.

In other news, I'm trying baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner, respectively, and I like it very much so far.

In other other news, I DON'T LIKE BAND AIDS, yet every time I take mine off, I reopen the not-very-deep-but-somehow-deeply-vulnerable knife cut on my thumb within about 90 seconds. I'm tired of bleeding on things.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sometimes Sunday feels like Friday

Lots of reading this weekend, and two kids over to play at different times. We never did quite manage anything you'd consider an actual Birthday Party, but Julia had a standard party at Alex's before her birthday, and Dad and I went in with a cake to join in the school celebration on her actual birthday, which was Wednesday. And we had a suitably Julia-focused day after school that day. And birthday cupcakes when each of the friends did make it over this weekend (two of the three that were invited, neither of whom actually came on the day we had specified, or at the same time as anyone else). All in all, she seems to feel that the birthday was suitably dispatched - which is nice, because it hasn't always been so for her.

And I'm ready for one of my quiet weeks; the girls have been here for a bit longer than usual, plus (and because of) Dad's visit, so it'll be nice to have a bit of just going to work and coming home and, probably, watching a lot of Dr Who :) We actually have yet to use the new dual-computer room to its fullest potential, but I see quite a bit of that (with accompanying refinements if needed) in the coming week as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I, for one, welcome our new Bunny overlrods.

() ()
(> <)o

() ()
(> <)o

() ()
(> <)o

(It's all Steve's fault, naturally. Well, okay. I gave mine tails. The tails are my fault.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

You know what's disorienting?

Spending whole swathes of the afternoon reading Harry Potter 7, then putting it down and picking up Harry Potter 4 to read a couple chapters to the girls.

If the timing had been a bit different, Harry et al would have been arriving at the same place in both books; for the first time in Book 4, and for the first time since then in Book 7.

I remember when reading and later seeing Harry Potter 4, thinking that this was a turning point; it's much darker than the first three, and I wasn't sure I wanted to share it with the girls. I must say, reading #7 myself while they venture into #4 certainly puts it into perspective. I guess we went through the first three in less than a year, although it seems like longer (we started them when Obama was elected and we learned that he had read the whole series to Malia). It'll be fine if it takes us another year or more to get all the way to 7 - and for the movies to be made. (I hear they're making the final book into two movies.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick pictures & early bed

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Julia!

Eight years ago today our family gathered to welcome Julia into our midst. Robin, Alex, Mom, Dad, Lisa and Scott were all there when she was born.

We had a nice day, but it got pretty full at the end, so pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick lesson

The Spanish word "ferretería" means hardware store. From the Latin root, ferrum, meaning iron and employing the Spanish ending "ía" which generally denotes emporia of various types.

Our small town has a couple of ferreterías; a larger one with its own lumberyard, paint center and (new this year) nursery; and a smaller mom & pop one where the stuff is usually dusty when you get it, and which would probably be about the size of a two-car garage if you emptied out all the shelves and stuff. I like them both, in different ways.

The larger one, El Rafaeleño, has custom made cash register tape with the tw0-color logo printed in the background and the computerized code/description/quantity itemization of your every purchase.

The mom & pop place, Ferretería San Rafael, has inch-and-a-half-wide register tape with the dot-matrix printout that pretty much tells you the date and the total amount you paid, as well a the store's name and ID number and stuff required by law.

All this by way of noting that the first line of the wee little register tape reads "Ferret San Rafael."

Monday, August 17, 2009

The dongle, dangled, was denied

Hmmm. That may be too catchy a title for what is, essentially, a mini rant about peripherals. Oh, well. Such is the signal:noise ratio of the Internet.

The computer sent to us by Bob's wonderful friend works perfectly, now that we've obtained the various and sundry little bits that were needed to hook all the bigger bits together.

The one remaining bit was the wireless keyboard receiver, so this afternoon I sat down to find out where and how to get one and it seems the answer is, pretty much, "that harsh buzzing sound that accompanies wrong guesses on game shows."

'Bout anyone will sell you a wireless keyboard and/or mouse with the receiver for dozens of dollars.

Nobody, but nobody, will sell you the receiver alone. Microsoft actually has a Supplemental Parts Team that they will unleash for with which to track down...uh, supplemental parts. But they won't talk to you without a proof of purchase, so...hey, there's that buzzing noise again.

I've got a borrowed regular keyboard for the meantime, and considerable motivation to either make the wireless thing work out, or find a really good deal on a local used one. Or something.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grand Grandparenting

Pursuant to (or in any case relevant to) this post, Mom sent the girls a copy of Life Stories of 100 Famous Women with a personalized contest, with prizes, for each of them to complete.

Dad brought a children's book written by his cousin, about the rescue and rehabilitation of a baby seal. He had me take a picture of him reading it to the kids, to send back to the author.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Costa Rican Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a national holiday here; of course, this year it's on a Saturday so that didnt' get anyone out of work. But it's been a nice day anyway.

We stopped by to say happy birthday to Jan, then headed over to get the monitor, chair and power strip thing, and are well satisfied with all three.

After getting the Craigslist stuff, we hit the mall and some other shops to get the various cords and accessories we would need. Then we came home to rearrange Bob's place according to the plans he laid out yesterday, to comfortably accommodate the extra computer. It's amazing what you can fit into a little space when stuff is free :)

We thought there was a problem with the router (which was a bonus we didn't know was coming with the computer, but which we were very glad to see), but then Bob figured out that there was software involved, and I figured out how to apply said software, and now all the computers are all wired up and online, yay!

The new one came with a wireless keyboard, but not with the transmitter, so we'll have to either borrow or pick up a regular keyboard until we get that sorted out, but basically we now have two computers in the same room downstairs, which I've really been wanting.

We've also had Mother's Day presents and Just Because presents, and pizza's on the way. Can't beat that!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The trials and travails of travel and technology (Or an equally catchy title; it's late.)

So Dad arrived safe, sound, on time, and without his luggage yesterday. His first flight was so late they had to hold the second one for him - and they did, but the bags didn't make the cut.

Continental did very well; we got a tracking number for the bags, which came in on their first flight this morning, and were delivered to our door this afternoon (thanks to the help of my neighbor, who I put on cell phone duty while I had to be A) Out of range and B) At the bank.

One of the things Dad was commissioned to bring was a computer that a friend of Bob's has given to us. It seems to be missing a couple of cords here and there, but they'll be easy to pick up tomorrow.

I asked at work about used monitors (since we knew from the outset it wouldn't come with one), and was told about a guy who sells used computer stuff on Craigslist (yup, there's a Costa Rica section on there).

We checked and found that listing, and alongside it was an even better one; someone is selling a monitor, a computer chair (which we were also going to need) and some other things in the next town over from us. They'd only posted the listing last night, and when I called this afternoon they still had everything, so we're going over in the morning and I expect to come home with a flat screen monitor and what looks like a pretty good chair for less than it would have cost to get a new (but poor quality) desk chair and a used (and iffy) CRT monitor.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Torchwood's got some 'splainin to do

[Spoiler warning for Episode 4 Episode 6 (turns out we watched them out of order), Season 1 of Torchwood - not that I think that applies to my readership, but you never know.]

Torchwood is a spinoff of Dr Who and by all accounts, yes, it's darker than its parent series. That's fine.

But it's still supposed to be in the same general genre; humans interfacing with alien life forms - in the case of Torchwood I believe largely (or entirely) on Earth - and dealing with them, generally by preventing them from doing any (or any further) harm to humans, and either dispatching them completely or sending them back where they came from or convincing them they can get what they need form another source, or whatever. In Dr Who there's a great deal of compassion shown to all life forms, and often what are perceived as menacing out-to-dominate-the-world aliens are in fact merely seeking to fill a basic need of their own.

Well, okay. There are also not a few races that are, in fact, out to dominate the Earth.

ANYway. We've only just started watching Torchwood - again with all the warnings that it's "darker" than Dr Who - and it's interwoven enough with the first series to be a lot of fun, noticing the references and characters who may cross over, and again the basic premise appears to be similar.

Except in Episode 4 Episode 6, which appeared to be the same sort of thing at the beginning, and then devolved into a completely typical horror movie. The minority character was even the first one to get caught . There was no understanding the motives or compassion for the species or each being meeting its own needs as best it could; it was straight-up human psycho killers, with some torture by the good guys thrown in to boot.

I almost stopped watching at one point, but by then the heros had been caught, escaped, caught again, escaped again, and were about to get caught again; I figured it wouldn't be long before the whole thing turned a corner.

So I watched to the end, and as a special bonus got to see the primary heroine turn, in relationshippy desperation, to the arms of the totally disrespectful, full of himself pig of a coworker who was on the verge of forcing himself on her earlier in the show. It had looked like he was on the verge of growing into a better human being in the previous episode, and I suspect that we're supposed to feel that's what he's doing. Whether he actually does remains to be seen.

I'll give the show another chance; I'll give it several 'nother chances. I hope they go back to aliens and basic decency, and I hope this character does go back to showing a redeeming quality or two. It's only Episode 4, after all. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things that make me think of Mom

Holly Near and women's rights

Meg Christian, Chris Williamson and flowers

Margie Adam and the Bosphorus

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quiet evening at home

Beating Bob at Spades
Stroganoff a-simmering
Dr Who on deck

Monday, August 10, 2009

And they held me to it. Who DOES that?

Robin and I played cards with Bob while Julia was at a friend's house yesterday. It was a chilly, rainy morning and I was losing comfortably to both of them, so I proposed that the winner make cookies.

I even went out in the rain to secure the missing ingredient from the corner store, which closes early on Sundays.

And then, wouldn't you know it, I staged a comeback and beat them both.

These are good.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

He's like a fine wine - if I liked wine

I recently rediscovered a VCR/DVD player that was tucked away in a closet, and it turns out it works just fine, and has proved to be a drastic improvement over our previous DVD-watching options.

We celebrated this evening by revisiting the Muppet Show DVDs, which never played right on the computer, even when some others kind of did.

It occurs to me that there are some Muppets you love your whole life long, some you outgrow after a while, and some you actually grow into. I had no time for Sam when I was a kid, but I daresay he's aged rather well.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Joke-listening: I do believe we've found Bob's niche.

It's amazing how much intestinal fortitude is required to permit a child to truly tell this joke the way she wants to tell it:

Q: What's black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white and black and white?

A: 101 Dalmatians.

...and I wasn't even in the room at the time.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Downloading the Skype upgrade

And wishing I could have a beer with friends tonight.

There. Aren't you glad I have a blog?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cable TV is complimicated

Remember when "eight, seven Central" was as complicated as the TV listings got?

Ads on cable here are more like "21:00 Colombia, 23:00 Chile." The one Julia wants to watch tonight is "7:00 Mexico/Bogota," which appears to be six here. (And then there's the ever-popular "This advertisement valid only in the Republic of Argentina.")

Gotta say, watching long enough to figure out which channel and what time this Naked Brothers Band thing is on tonight (well, okay, and a little longer to get the examples in the previous paragraph) was more than enough to make me glad I don't really watch any TV anymore. All those ads for cheap plastic crap and disturbing TV shows and people doing things that just makes you wonder how they really are - are they okay? Do they really want to be acting this way?

Now, I'm not against TV per se. There are plenty of shows I like. But I'm content to watch some of them online and collect or get temporary access to others on DVD, and simply let the others go. There is just way too much to wade through on regular "turn it on at the time it's on" TV.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Just how awesome is Steve?

He's so awesome he wears purple Crocs when he travels. (That wasn't a secret, was it?) He loves his family and friends like all get-out, and gives my kids comics and buys stuff his friends are selling and says nice things to me near about every time we talk, and also comes up with post topics when I complain about not having anything to write about.

And this is (I think - I can't actually see it myself because my computer had a fight with YouTube) a song that always makes me think of him, although I usually listen to a different version:

So, to recap: Steve is very very awesome, the end.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Such a cool game, in fact...

That I really need to go to bed early tonight. Because I kind of didn't, last night.

So for now I'll just say Happy Birthday, Mr. President, and also share a link I found apropos and highly wonderful today. (Warning: It'll really only make sense if you had heard of Raxacoricofallapatorius before the kitten came along.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Yup, definitely a cool game

Zoo Tycoon II is basically The Sims for zoos. Very fun and kid friendly. And then Bob and I play it after the girls are in bed.

The 3-D graphics are good enough to be really enjoyable, but they do get a little wonky way up close. The one zebra walking right through another (and nary a police box in sight) was fun. And you gotta love a game where zoo guests make comments like "It's interesting to see Common Zebra 1 sniffing Common Zebra 2."

To say nothing of real live comments like, "Mommy, Mommy! Thomas Gayzel Six is pregnant!" when the game informs them that the Thomson's gazelles are preserving the species.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Time to review the whole "Biting the Hand That Feeds You (See Also: Don't)" thing

The parrot bit me last night. There were a number of extenuating circumstances and I can see where it came from enough to not take it too personally.

But me and my three-inch bruise are still mad at her.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Checking in and checking out

Did some quilting, some routine cat maintenance (Raxi was much praised by our vet, who hadn't met her yet) and some computer stuff (from what we've seen, Zoo Tycoon II is a pretty cool game) today. Now we're getting ready to watch Aladdin, with Julia who has joined us for the evening.

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

  © Blogger template 'Personal Blog' by 2008

Back to TOP