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Friday, February 29, 2008

Haiku Friday - Beauty and the Bump

Haiku Friday

The tree was in bloom,
I didn't see the pothole.
Beauty and the bump.

Springish stuff is happening here in Costa Rica. It is the turning into the nice part of the dry season and things are blooming. Kind of strange for this New Yorker. Seems backwards, but beautiful.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friends coming to visit - oh the stress....

So we have invited friends over this weekend to stop by and visit. They live in Heredia and have been kind enough to offer to make the trek. I have advertised it as very low-key, cuz that's the new me. So now I need to get ready....

I need to straighten up the house - no, wait the maid does that
Mop the floors - nope, maid
Wash the windows - maid

But it will be the maid's day off, so I will need to make the food - nope, Pricesmart/Costco Pizza to the rescue.

How much do you hate me now?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not as scary as it looks

This is the checkpoint to get in and out of our neighborhood. There is this little shack with a gun guy in it (see him peaking out - see the big gun). Another just like it on the other side. And a few gun guys riding around on motorcycles. They put the gates down at night and open them as you drive up. There are cameras mounted on the entry side to take an image of the car/license plate. Still - they don't stop you. They don't ask your name, your business or who you are visiting. I have definitely visited friend that have a more formal security system.

Still, this makes me feel safe. Also they will respond to alarms, etc. and on one occasion when Bars was knocking at the door (having forgotten a key) a motorcycle gun guy was going by and he stopped and waited until I came to let Bars in. Just to make sure.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dinner in a dash

I was reading the Silicon Valley Mom Blog - just to remind me of home and I came across this funny post here. I had to laugh because it is the same everywhere. Even here in Costa Rica. Look what was for dinner last night!

And it was DELICIOUS!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bird names and other business

By the way, the birds were in lieu of getting a dog just yet. I want to, but there are many complications. We got these from a veterinary/pet store in Escazu Centro. They only sold birds and rabbits (a rabbit is what Bella really wants - thanks cousin Rach). When the entire transaction was done, the jovial older big guy leaned over to me and told me in our broken Spanish conversation to make sure and love them. Guess he knows Mom is the one that changes cage paper/feeds/etc.

Bella picked the Yellow one (I think because it was the only yellow one at the store - that girl knows how to determine value!) and she tried several names that first day before deciding on Ella (from Ella Enchanted)

The green one belongs to Gus, and he named him FUEGO

Bird, Bird, Bird Birds the Word

We got lovebirds. That's what they call them here. Also in the Philippines. But I looked it up and they are actually budgies. Anyway, they are cute and musical and pretty easy as pets go. We move the cage out to the lanai/patio every morning, clean up after them and feed them -then they sing and play all day. Then at night I move the cage into the laundry room. It seems like just a little too cold for them and I am afraid of the neighbors' puddytat.

Bars thought Daddy might like to see this - although this is only a small cage, nothing like that mini-aviary he had back home.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Family life is the same everywhere

This video is Pachabel - suburban family style. So true, except we don't have a cat and I like the shrek songs....

This is "The BIG Chicken." It is at a little pay-to-play park near the Multi-Plaza (and our house). The real name is Brinca Landia, which means jump something. But we just call it the Big Chicken. We drive by it every day. Sometimes the chicken is "sleeping" and the head is deflated. Sometimes the whole slide is deflated and the chicken is missing. We always enjoy seeing what state our old buddy is in.

We have gone a couple of times to play. It is about $6 entry for each kid (a little steep by Costa Rica standards). It is great though, the kids love it and it is very different than anything like it in California. First, there is no signing away of liability to allow kids in, they figure you know kids can get hurt. Second, it is practically empty. We have been the only people there, or one of three families. Third, there is a staff of young guys that whatch the whole area, moving from thing to thing along with the kids. They watch, interact, play with the kids. Fourth, there are chairs for the parents to sit and relax (remember there are about 5 guys following the kids around and no other exits). It is really a good time.

If you come visit - we can take you there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Schooling Mama

Yesterday I had to attend a "reunion de los familias" at the school. It sounds fun, right? It sounds like a family reunion or a party. Um, no. This is a meeting. A come sit in chairs designed for 3-year olds and listen to the teacher explain the proper way to outfit and bring your child to school. Entirely in Spanish.

Just when I think my Spanish is improving, God smacks my arrogant a** back into place.

First - I don't know why I think my Spanish is improving. The only practice I get is to talk with our maid. She is very nice and we can communicate fine, but I think it is more that she has learned to decipher jenish then that I have improved that much.

Second - What was I thinking? I was worried about being on time. Made it. I was worried that I might need pen and paper once I got there (and all I had was a black sharpie). They had some materials. I was thinking it was a bilingual school. I was thinking someone would simultaneously (or in short breaks) translate for me, I was thinking that it would be quick, I was thinking I could handle it. I was thinking wrong.

I got to the school, got to the class, sat in the forementioned chair and just before the teacher started, she leaned over to me and said, "I need to speak Spanish, but I will help you when it is over."

It began. She spoke soft and she spoke fast. And there were overhead fans. There was just no-way. But I didn't realize just how frustrating this was until there was parental feedback/discussion and I didn't understand that either. ONE HOUR LATER - I am ready to cry. My poor kids have been waiting for me to finish this and I haven't even really started. I left and made arrangements for the kids to stay a little longer and went back for "my version."

It went quick, between the little bit that I got (more than I thought), looking at the teacher's own notes (also in Spanish, but my reading gist is much better than my listening gist), my anxiousness to get going (did I mention I now needed to find a bathroom as well), and some commen sense, we were through it in 10 minutes. Should have done this in the first place.

So, I understand it and I made a special appointment with Bella's teacher for an individual run-down. At least I am smart enough not to sit through it again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Old-Fashioned Way

A few months ago, our dryer wasn't working. (Luckily it turned out that the electrical issue I heard (POP) was the line and didn't hurt the dryer - fixed now, thank goodness.) But in the meantime, we had to do things the old fashioned way. Wash early in the morning, get them out on the line. There is this little outside area for hanging clothes, not part of the house, not part of the yard. This is what it looked like.

The unfortunate thing was that during the rainy/damp season, it didn't get sunny enough or dry enough (even on the rain-free days) to completely dry the clothes. We would have to bring them in and hang them up in the shower (again, luckily there was a handy gadet there to make about four rows of clothesline the length of the tub - of course, no baths or showers then). And maybe by morning they would be wearable. But not completely dry. And definitely not smelling that sweat outside smell. Another Mom mentioned that ironing them would help finish the drying, but we just ain't an ironing kind of family.

Boy was this annoying. Made me realize that we wash way too regularly. And luckily there were no bed-wetting, throw-up issues during this time. I do love my modern convieniences, but we do wash less frequently and re-wear school uniforms and the like when possible.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Years Resolution

My New Years Resolution is to stop procrastinating and actual post to my blog.
- Resolved on February 19 (only 50 days late for New Years!)