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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving. What are we going to do?

This is the first year it is just us. We have spent the last few years back and forth between Barry's family and mine. I have never been the master. I have been told what my contribution will be and I have done what I was told (make this, sit here, eat that) and LOVED it. So what will we do now?

I first have to mention what has happened on the last few Thanksgivings spent with my Filipino family. In the beginning, there was a very big "American" style to it. I guess for me and for my brother-in-law Brad from Minnesota. It was nice, but I have to say - if it ain't Toots doing the cooking, it ain't Real Thanksgiving. The food that woman puts out is amazing. Did you read my post about losing weight? Wonder how it got there in the first place? I do love me some good eating.

Over the years, the California Thanksgivings have become more casual, more diverse in food selection and more fun. I always sneak in a little from home. Usually something straight from my Mom's recipes (for example jello salad with sour cream - deliciouso). But I also have enjoyed pancit, teriakyi salmon, salads, lumpia and many other delicious things. So Thanksgiving has really shifted over the years.

I LOVE the BIG EVENT of my youth which had my Mother in the kitchen all day, as a participant.
I also LOVE the casual gatherings with my husbands family.

So what will we do this year.
1)Send the kids to school. It is a school day here after all, although Friday is off for teacher appreciation day.
2) Go to a Gringo hang out here that serves a Thanksgiving buffet.
3) Feel a little homesick for the families that we will miss this year.
4) Start decorating for Christmas, we are really behind by Costa Rica standards - things have been up since around November 1.

Have a happy Turkey Day everyone.
Lots of Love.
Jen

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Golden Gate Bridge and Visa



This is a billboard image here - kinda makes me homesick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Make New Friends

This past weekend we met up with our blog friends the Jones Family. They live in Heredia (about 45 minute drive from us) and were coming to town for the women's bizarre. By chance I saw Jodi's invitation and we decided to meet up. When we got there, I didn't think that we would ever find them. After drifting through the food aisle, and the lunchroom with crafts, foods, books - I mentioned this fact to my husband - who promptly pointed them out. That is why I keep him around.

We chatted for over two hours and got along real well. It was nice to spend some time with them. The kids got to go play on the school play yard. I have one last comment. Azure - you rock!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cold in Costa Rica

It is pretty cold here. People are donning sweaters, although no scarves and mittens. It is also pretty windy and gloomy. Kinda like Northern California in January. I feel a little chilled as well and so I looked at the thermometer in my car. It is 20C - this is like 60F - now coming from the northeast - that is spring!

Guess it is all relative.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On Weight in Costa Rica

In California I felt like I had the best behaved kids and was only a little overweight.

In Costa Rica, I am very large and my kids are out of control.

Okay, not really.

I have lost a little weight and changed the way I dress, so I look only a little heavy and if I would stop yelling at the kids so much, they would appear just as well behaved as all the other kids. I just can't stand kids laying on the floor in public. Yuk.

Enough about the kids, let's talk about something infinitely more degrading - my weight.

After three kids, fat genes, no exercise and a lifetime of, well, less than perfect eating and a long-time love affair with all things carbohydrate (and I mean the bad boy kind - white bread, pasta, potatoes) and REAL butter, I am extremely overweight. Probably by the numbers I am "morbidly obese." Due to big boobs and big clothes I just appear, really fat.

So we move to Costa Rica. And in the first three months I drop about 20 lbs.

Here is how I think it happened:
1) No GOOD Butter
2) Hence, not much bread - my carb cravings were replaced by whole grain cereal
3) It is a little warmer, I "glow" a little more
4) Busy, busy, busy moving, unpacking, hauling boxes
5) Good sleep when there was no television to watch
6) Once good things like this start, they seem to snowball
7) Everyone wears pants and tight shirts (see #3)
8) I was cooking myself here and didn't know the "Tico" way to make food delicious. Turns out the secret is oil.

I was feeling pretty good. Mommi noted that my face looked thinner on the webcam and said lots of nice things about that fact. My Dad when he saw me made the statement "You look good, Jen" (this means that I don't look sloppy) although I was cautioned not to wear shirts too tight, that "skin" tight only looks good if the skin is tight. I didn't explain that dress-code is a little different here. I will save that for another post.

Then I discovered the bakery section at the markets. Awesome, fresh, cheap bread. It seems Italian to me (Barry says it reminds him of Filipino breakfast bread). It is delicious. Also, Bagelmans is pretty good. So the scale still is going down, however the middle is a little fluffy.
Today I bought multi-grain bread. We will see if that works. Could certainly stand to loose some more. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dona Nobis Pacem



Monday, November 5, 2007

My Heart on the Road

They have these hearts painted on the roads. I think that it is where there was an accident and somebody died.

Some have borders, some do not. I am not sure what that means. If anyone knows and wants to fill me in, I am very curious. Sadly, they also seem to be mostly near the bus stops and other places where people run across the highway.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Red Sox Revelations

I know it is late. The world series is long over, but I want to talk about the Red Sox.



First, I must confess that I don't really watch baseball. I don't really follow baseball. Most years I could not even tell you when it is over or who has won.



Except when the Red Sox are involved.



Being born and raised in a household where "Yankees" is considered a bad word leads to certain formative thoughts, and realizations. The most obvious having been that one is always free to dream. The most negative being that there will always be next year. It has been exciting to watch them rally, to come from behind, to fight back to even and then not quite make it to the top. There was a certain reliability there, as gambling addicts always hope to win but know that they will lose. Having faith in the Red Sox was like believing in God. How do you know he's real, it all about faith.



Except now.



Now they win.



In the past foreigners that followed baseball, invariably rooted for the Yanks. I married one (I know, sacrilege). Now, I've met people here (i.e. Nicaraguans, etc.) who prefer the Red Sox. They have become popular. That is all well and good. Congratulations on another series to the new and improved Red Sox. But frankly, I kind of want my Red Sox back.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween

Happy Halloween to everyone.

Yep we had it here, thanks to one of Bella's classmates we attended a party last night. Kids dressed up, Moms dressed up, overdose of sweets - the usual.

The party was held in an upscale condominium here. A condominium is really what we would call a gated community in the U.S. This place was really nice. Large houses, largish plots of land, nicely mantained streets.

Now some kids did not come, devil worshipping implications and all. But those that did had a great time. Around 5:30 pm the rain slowed to a drizzle and off we went to trick or treat. This would not have been possible in the regular neighborhoods, but the people in Parque Valle del Sol did it up. Not every house participated and we only hit about 20 houses out of a couple hundred, but wherever we went the decorations were out of control. Hanging skeletons, strobe lights, inflated ghosts in huge jack-o-laterns, you name it, we saw it. And the place was crawling with trick-or-treaters. It was typical flow, younger kids first and then older kids with minimal costumes out for mucho candy. I swear that I saw at least 250 people trawling the streets in the few hours I observed. On the other hand, the take was not typical. There are many hard candies (for example the strawberries that have strawberry cellophane covering). No way would this fly in the U.S. due to safety concerns. Here, it is accepted. No problem.

The similarities to the U.S.:
costumes, kids, candy and crazy

The differences:
Over the top decorations and weak candy collection

All in all a wonderful time.