Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bailey and a Christmas Interlude...this is the most decorating I am doing this year.

This is just too cute...if you love dogs, and what a snowy Christmas interlude! Bailey is just having a time of his life. I saw this on someone's blog, and just had to put it on mine too.

I know it has been 2 months since I have put anything here, but my arm is pretty good now, and I am back clicking on the keys, and knitting, thank God! It was a long dry spell. Enjoy, and I will be back.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not 30 something....anymore! Darn....

Saturday...broke my left arm.
Monday...x-ray and cast, funny thing, a friend, Elaine fell the same day, and was in the hospital same day as I was...our pictures are here to prove it. The tech was so much fun...
Tuesday...fell again, nothing broken, but my pride...and an awful goose egg. Decide to go for physical therapy. Acupuncture for the first time also...going back for more. The first fall had whacked my back out pretty good so I am not well balanced, and the second fall was just a matter of when.

Can't type so well...more later on what happened.

Note to self - NO MORE CLIMBING ON CHAIRS TO CLEAN...not even just one last thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Angel Valley Farm B&B

Several people have written emails and asked what B&B I am referring to in my, I am going to link it here, Angel Valley Farm B&B, and this week, I'll take a few pictures and post them here also. I have a link in the sidebar also.

I am helping Andrew with it, for now, and am enjoying it so much. It is located in the hills of Los Angeles Sur, north of San Ramon, and is near my home, so it makes it very convenient. It is an old Tico farm house, which has had some additions to accommodate extra guests. It is an easy drive off the highway, with a good restaurant within walking distance from the house. We have a dozen chickens, and receive that many eggs each day also. We have Tico and gringo neighbors, and though it is rural and quite, it is a great stopping off point with many attractions within a short drive. There are several daily bus runs on the highway, so even without a car, the town of San Ramon can be reached easily from here. Walks and beautiful sunsets are most enjoyable, unless it is the rainy time of the day, or October.

The B&B can easily accommodate large families, and larger gatherings, with ample patio areas, and living space inside. The kitchen is large, and makes it easy to prepare meals as well. I cook the morning breakfasts, and get many complements for the varied, and fresh great tasting, quality food. I also prepare cakes for a local restaurant, and can do them or meals, by request, if you give me some notice. Because my own home is close, and somewhat better stocked, I can whip up most any thing with a couple hours notice. So, if you are coming this can have home cooking, "like Grandma use to make", after your full day of touring. Though it is not a short order kitchen, I'll make sure you are full, happy, and ready for a good nights sleep, and not break the trip budget.

Watch for pictures too. And happy traveling.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Woman...Traveling to Costa Rica

For those of you who have never seen the "Go Galavanting" website, a travel online magazine for women, I highly recommend checking it out. They have many articles on interesting travels, and businesses in wonderful place around the world, owned by women. Here are the videos from the September Issue, and Webisode, and they have added several other Costa Rica related videos you may select at the end of the video, also. The video would not directly embed on my click on the pink word (Webisode), above.

I had the pleasure of hosting the film/edit team in July, at the B&B, and I think you will enjoy this. You can sign up for the online magazine, free, and keep up to date with the editors travels, and additional travel features written by many different ladies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This is the beauty of a 'September Morn'...remember Barry?

Beautiful September Morning in Los Angeles Sur (South)! Every morning has been so nice, one can only stand and breathe it in! This year, rainy season, my plants have come in so well. It is wonderful to walk out on my porch/patio, and see the flowers with all the green to match. No touch-ups have been done to these photos.




My new vines that will grow up to the porch overhang.

A close up of what the flower looks like.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September - Nice Days --ALSO--WARNING to TRAVELERS

Costa Rica has had such a beautiful September this year. The days have been full of sunshine, and late afternoons have been rainy, some hard rains, and mostly clear nights. So nice to be able to get out and enjoy the mornings, throw open the house, and air everything out. Laundry has even had time to dry on the line.

The B&B has had several guests, and it has been an interesting month. Again we have had a reminder of how important it is for travelers to be alert, and use your normal street smarts when in Costa Rica. A very nice young couple visited the B&B this weekend, and in route, they stopped in San Ramon, in front of the park and church. Their car was a small rental, with no trunk, open to view was all their luggage. While they were walking around, relaxing, thieves made off with their 5 pieces of luggage, cameras, laptop, and all the things they had brought, including clothing, and business items. They were going to do some work, while on vacation, and came prepared. It is not something they would have done back home, and were just not thinking as they walked away from their cars. This is a very common thing that happens to travelers, in a foreign country, and the thieves know it. The park and church, in any town, are prime targets for thieves, and San Ramon is not different. Usually, tourists take off to explore the area, and as they are walking away from the car, the thieves have already made them, and are ready to pop the lock, which takes just a moment, and no one even notices, that it has not been entered with a key. That is how quickly it happens. Apathy takes over among even the most alert person watching. The luggage is quickly wheeled away, yes, wheels have made their job easier also, and put into another vehicle, and away they go with any and all things that you may hold dear to you. You may want to check to see if your travelers insurance, or car rental insurance covers you in a case of 'laps of judgment', because it happens to the best of travelers. It is only too easy to relax, away from all the stresses of home, and forget that even the normal precautions you would take at home, are as important on vacation also. Costa Rica presents another problem too...unless you go to 'Goodwill', or something similar here, or are a small person, male or female, purchasing clothing is not easy here. Ticos are a small people, and though they have many stores, the size you may need may not be available. Think ahead, and know that no matter where you are, there is an element of "wealthy Americans" attached to gringos, here and in many other places around the world. Thievery is easier than working a regular job. More profitable also.

As a footnote, added Jan 2009: In November, we had a nice retired couple visit, and on their way here, they had a mishap also. They were walking to catch a bus and were swindled, in a 2 person scam to rob them. One person stopped them to point out some building structure, and another took one of their small bags while they were distracted, and the first got his wallet from his back pants pocket. They spent days on the internet, canceling cards, applying for a new drivers license, not to mention the beautiful day trips they missed. I say this only to help you as you travel to this country, please, use ALL the street smarts you can. Know where your money, passports, and important papers are all the time! Don't put them in a bag, or in your back pockets. Use concealed money packs, and don't carry a lot of money, or cards with you. It is easier to guard a small money pocket, inside your garment. Make copies of cards and passports, and email them, as well as important phone numbers and email addresses, to yourself before you leave home. And carry a photo copy. That way, if something should happens, you can get to an internet cafe or phone, and start the daunting task of recovering from the theft. Doing it in a foreign country is always harder, but take the excruciating pain out of it, before you leave. If you are careful, you will have a very nice vacation and return home not knowing the suffering a theft can bring.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Wonderful, New Puppy! Peaches


Aren't they the cutest balls of fur you have ever seen?

I think Ginger looks like she is laughing her head off, and Peaches does make us laugh!

I have been looking at Bichons and mixes from rescue shelters, online, for weeks now, and Thursday, I asked one of my friends if she would bring back a dog for me when she goes to the states again. She said that she would...but I guess my 'burn' was just more than I could take, and I am ready! I had to go into the Mall, for one of my errands, so I stopped at the pet store while I was there. They had 4 poodles available, and I even held one...oops, I was a goner! They were more than I wanted to pay, so I decided to stop at a couple of Vets also. Sometimes it is better to get one from the Vet, because they probably know the parents, and have taken care of them in the past also. I stopped at my Vet's, David, and was told they were at the "San Ramon Days". And he had a couple of poodles. Bichons are pretty hard to find here, more poodles are available. He did have 2, and they were darling little 6 wk old females. The dad was Apricot color, and mom was white. I got the lighter of the 2, and she may be white, later. I named her Peaches, and she is so tiny and cute! She is so full of energy, and has made me laugh so much. Ginger thinks she is Peaches' mother. She is herding her around, and doesn't let her out of her site. I have to get after her also, but the one who is the meanest to Peaches is Sunni. Peaches would love it if Sunni would let her stick her head in his dish, but he will have nothing to do with that. She will not do it too many more times, as he takes a good bite out of her, and she runs yelping. "Being nice" and "she is a baby", don't cut it with him.

The days have been great, but the nights have been something else! Peaches is the only one getting any sleep. Ginger wants to lay on her, and I separate them as far as I can. Ginger did better last night, but Peaches decided she needed to eat at 3:30 a.m., the night before it was 4:30 a.m. So mom drags out of bed, and pours her some milk. It is enough to let her, and me rest until daylight, except this morning, the squirrels decided to cut up at 5 a.m. I am dead tired from all of this. Sunni and Ginger are well awake if the squirrels make too much noise in the attic. God, I wish I knew how to get rid of squirrels, short of a bb gun! The worst pair now, is that the dogs literally scare the piss out of the squirrels now, and it runs between the wood slats on the ceiling, and wala...I have a stinking puddle to clean up. I may have to hire someone to put clear caulking in each crack.

The best part is that I don't have to meet any schedule, other than what I choose to make right now, so I can adjust, and take a nap or two, to get through this baby stage. She will bring me more joy and laughter, and I'll soon forget the sleepless nights. I start out knitting, and usually end up falling asleep in my it great!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ravelympics are over, and these were my events!

I was right down to the wire with the Cables & Bits for Sunni! (The Lime & Lemon one) I had made Ginger's Cables & Bits (Orange & Lemon), last month. I do not do well in competitions, and on time lines, with Knitting. I am a process Knitter, and do it for the shear 'JOY' of knitting. I like to really relax and will take out any little mistake and even larger ones, numerous times, until I get it right. So having a died line just killed me. But at least I know now, not to over-commit with a challenge in Knitting. I did the Monkey pattern Socks also, and I loved them. The pattern was fun, and I love the effect the color combo had when they were finished too. Merino wool is my favorite yarn to knit socks from, and they feel so nice on too.

Our Knitting S&B is going so well! We usually have 6 to 10 ladies each week now, and some just come to visit while we stitch. Everyone brings whatever they are stitching that week, and we have such fun, oooowwwing and ahhhhhing over each others work. Some gals are 'regulars', and some come when they can, as well as the ones who are not 'officially' living here yet. They come for a few weeks, and then we will see them again when they return for their next visit. And we share tips and information about living in Costa Rica, as well as what we want from the states when the next person visits. What a wonderful group of friends to share our lives with!

August has been absolutely beautiful! We have had such clear, crisp mornings, sunshine all day, and the rain seems to fall later in the evenings now. This was my favorite month last year too. The temperature has been perfect, 70's-80's in the day, and high 60's at night. Perfect sleeping weather too. As we move into September, we know the rain will increase, and so I am enjoying the sun each day. It is great sitting out on the patio, and breathing in the fresh, gorgeous days. My pups soak up the sun, and nap away, while I knit. The B&B is slow now, so I am enjoying the rest, before it starts to pick up again. The hens are laying more and more eggs, 17 yesterday, and I am cooking with with the freshest eggs. NavCafe is carrying my cakes now, and I hope to be able to put them in the souvenir shop near here soon too. It gives me something fun to do, and gets me out with new people also.

Sundays at NavCafe are always great too. Joe's Jazz band is most enjoyable, listening and visiting with friends, and having a great salad lunch, what more could I ask for. If you have not come out for the mid-day Jazz session, do join us. The Jazz band had been in San Ramon for several months now, but will be moving over to Palmares, Sunday, August 31st. Daniel will not longer be servicing the NavCafe in San Ramon, though it will still be open, under a different manager, so Daniel asked Joe's band to move over to the NavCafe in Palmares. I'm sure it will be just as great there, and many have started coming from the Heredia are now too, so this will make it a little closer for them also. Only a couple miles farther east for the regulars from here to go.

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a film crew at the B&B, and they were such a delight. They shot the B&B, and a coffee farm located in Berlin, near here. They were with the online women's travel magazine, Galavanting! They filmed a group of us, women living in Costa Rica. It was a fun interview, and after checking out the website, I was very impressed with the quality and vast concept of this new venture. The gals are young, vivacious entrepreneurs with a desire to see the world through a 'women's perspicuous'. The website has so much to offer, from tips, to blogs, to a community forum. If you have not checked out the site, you will be pleasantly surprised at the information available.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So much to do...and this is Retirement!!

So much going on right now, I hardly know where to start. I am working on 3 projects for the Ravelympics (knitting in conjunction with the Olympics), and two are pairs of socks. I must keep up with them, or I will not finish on time.

We have had more guests than were expected during this rainy season, several calling just before traveling, and they have been such a delight. I sure like visiting with the travelers, as well as those looking for a possible place to retire. They all have such an interest in knowing more about Costa Rica, what to see, and are so curious about my experience here. I am so enjoying meeting them and a B and B is the perfect setting for sharing food and great conversation. Angel Valley B and B is comfortable, and not stuffy at all. I found out from guest, last night, that they found us in a NY Review, totally amazed me.

Jazz in the Gardens, on Sunday's at NavCafe, with Joe's band is so fantastic! They get better every week, and it is a great setting. This past Sunday, the weather was perfect, and no rain to chase us inside. The food is very good, and with the addition of Steve's breads, it is even better. I am hoping Daniel will add my cakes to the menu too. The cakes they make here, leave something to be desired, not very good, for sure.

The English education volunteer group has shifted focus from the college level to elementary education. I think this will be a much more rewarding and beneficial placement of our energy. Volunteers will adopt different elementary schools, and foster increased learning in many different forms, whether it be teaching, or by repairing badly warn schools. Many gringos have helped with school supplies, or the funds to purchase supplies. We even received several used computers to be given to school programs. Most schools don't have books, or supplies, and computers are very rare. Intel has a computer program for children in Costa Rica, and I have seen pictures, but I would love to make a connection with that organization to help the children in the central valley area. As more gringos retire in this area, we are getting more volunteers who have a great desire to help educate the children of Costa Rica. One statistic I heard recently, is that each day, over 5000 jobs go unfilled here, because not enough natives speak English well enough to get the jobs. It is not only the tour industry needing bilingual workers, but in all shops and walks of life, as more gringos immigrate. Most gringos try to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, and believe me, the Ticos are most patient with us as we make noises, and use hand signing languages, until we learn to communicate what it is we want. My Spanish is getting better, but I still make plenty of noises when I go to the hardware stores. Everything is behind the counter in most stores, so asking is a must. Even in stores where you can walk around to look, the clerks are most helpful, and what to assist you, so talking is a must. I've done plenty off the "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" imitations trying to get many things. And noises are international, even if it makes the clerk laugh. One has to have no shame here.

Well, back to knitting, and pictures to follow....I am a process knitter, and the challenge of a race against time does not set well with me. I do it for the shier pleasure, so what the heck...will I finish...yes, but maybe not with the clock ticking.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm in Trouble now....reading too many other blogs!

This is another quiz I took...after seeing it on another blog.

You Are Most Like Carrie!

You're quirky, flirty, and every guy's perfect first date.

But can the guy in question live up to your romantic ideal?

It's tough for you to find the right match - you're more than a little picky.

Never fear... You've got a great group of friends and a

great closet of clothes, no matter what!

Romantic prediction: You'll fall for someone this year...

Totally different from any guy you've dated.

What kind of knitter are you?

I found this simple test, not rocket science...but just cute. It is in my side bar, if you wish to take it too. My results...not sure they are too scientific either.
You are interchangeable.
Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it's amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Finished Toe-Up Socks! Started Maddy...

Finished these while working at the B&B... Guests were fabulous and I could visit and knit for most of the time I worked on these socks. Now I am working on Maddy, a beautiful longer length top, with lace panels. It will be darling when I am finished with it. The lace pattern is easy enough, just have to remember where I am in the chart when I pick it up again. It is a neck-down project.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some days, just too busy to write....

I have been so busy, that I simply must catch up on some of my posting ....

I shot some pictures of the pups yesterday, while I was taking a minute to do some knitting and relaxed on the patio. This year we are getting more rain than we did last year, so I am trying to enjoy the sun and freshness of the valley when I get the chance to. They love resting with me, and still have not settled who gets to in my lap, when, either. Sunni has had to become more assertive to get his lap time, and is asking to get up more than he ever did before. Ginger just leaps up, and takes me by surprise most of the time. Her hair is growing in on her hind quarters pretty good now, and she is no longer bare, and what a pretty coat she has. I finally decided that she must be a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. If I cut her in the standard way, she would look like a standard. I don't care for the long hair look on the jaw line, so she will not have that. I think she is cuter with it trimmed back, so she does not wear her food. Ginger fits her to a tee!

A friend wanted to go to Poas a couple of weeks ago, so we drove up. Coming back was the hardest I have ever seen it rain when I was in the car. There were 3 accidents on the Auto Pista, I think 2 were the result of the first one. Before we got on the main highway, we saw a neat little shop and stopped to look at what they had. Most things were imports from El Salvador and Peru, and mostly hand knitted items. Well, you know I just had to touch every garment and cloth in the shop. There were felted items also. I purchased 3 beautiful scarves, hand woven, and the fiber has a wonderful, lush feel to it. And colors to die for....

I will go back, and get a gorgeous, wool table clothes they had, which I think would look wonderful on a bed as well. They were so bright in color, and stunning. The sweaters were fabulous, though I would have a hard time wearing one here. I am sure some people could wear them comfortably, but not me.

Sundays, we have been spending at NavCafe in San Ramon in the garden, well part of the time anyway. We run for the cafe when the rain starts. The Jazz concerts are fabulous! You must come out to see them, noon to 2 pm. Joe and his Tico band members are easy on the ear. Jeff sits in with his guitar occasionally too. Steve introduced his variety of breads for sampling this past Sunday. NavCafe is going to put in a baking area, so Steve can make bread, and I was teasing them they just have to let me make some of my delicious cakes too. Mine are so much better then the cakes they bake here. They do not use baking soda like we do, so they are not as light or moist as northerners make. I think a Texas cake would go like gang busters here. When I make them here, they do not last long, no matter where I take them. And visiting with all my friends is always the high light of the afternoon. The comfortable sofas and a good glass of Sangria make it difficult to leave too soon. Having a great northern style hamburger, or a great salad always hits the spot.

I am looking forward to the Olympics starting too. Ravelry, the knitters/crocheters version on "My Space" is having the Ravelympics, and everyone has been signing up for teams like crazy. The moderators have been so busy with that...I can't imagine doing that. But I am team captain for Team Bichon Blitz and Team Costa Rica, and will participate in events, Sock Put, making socks, and Pets Pommel Horse event, making a Cables & Bits cover for Sunni. We have 17 days to complete our projects, and even have a Finish Line to post our projects as we finish them. What fun!! I'll post them here in my blog also, so you can see what I will be working so hard on. The funny thing is that after choosing patterns and yarns to do the projects, I realized I have chosen the same color scheme for both of them, neon colors. It was by accident, not intentional.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On a happier note...

I am recovering from the loose of Spanky, though it has been very difficult, I did adopt another dog to care for in my home. Ginger is a delight! She is 5 years old, the same as Sunni, and they have not completely bonded yet. I think it was very hard for Sunni also, because he had always been with Spanky, his 'dad', and pal. As you can see from the picture, Ginger is a blond/golden color, and I am sure she is a breed, though I am not sure which. I thought she may be a mix, but I did see a dog on a movie, "Open Range", last night that looked just like her. So I will have to see if I can find out what kind of a dog she is. When I got her, her hind quarters were pretty tangled, so we cut it our, and the front was manageable. The hair is growing out, so it will not be too long before she is back to normal again. Brushing is a must. She is so loving, and gentle, until it comes to teenagers. She does not like them at all. I think she must have been abused by young people, and she knows. The gal that cleans my house is 16, and Ginger wants to snap at her, so I have to keep her separate while Ines is here. I hope to get Ines to calm down around Ginger, so they can bond, because Ines is such a help to me.

I've been doing several things to keep my mind busy also. Went to Poas Volcano one day last week, and did not see much of it. The clouds blew out partially for a few seconds, but there were so many people there, that it was hard to get close enough to see much. And then it fogged over again right away. The kids were out of school last week, and many families were there. I went with a gal who was staying at the B&B for a few days, and it was great getting to know her. We came home in the afternoon, and it rained so hard all the way back. There were 3 accidents on the Auto Pista, and one was very serious. I hate to imagine the outcome of that one. I am sure the other 2 were results of the major accident. I had jokingly said earlier that morning, that we needed to take water, something to eat in the car, and something to do, well we had each other to visit with, but we sure did need the refreshments while we were stuck in traffic. I still do not know my way around well enough, farther away from home to take the back roads either. We had intended to take a back road, but never were able to find the road we needed to take. Lack of signs, and not knowing what bloody town you are in sometimes are the hardest parts of navigation. But we made it home, finally.

Sunday was "Jazz in the Gardens", at NavCafe, and it was GREAT! Joe's band is getting better each time I hear them. The day was beautiful, most of it anyway, and we only had to run for cover for the last 1/2 hour or so. It does pour when it starts here, so one does not wait to see if it is going to stop. No chance. As always, the food was delicious, and there were so many people, from near and far. It is beginning to catch on. If you have not yet caught the Jazz fever, join us every Sunday from 12 noon, until 2 or 2:30, they get on a roll, and don't stop sometimes. It is fantastic!

I have also enjoyed the company of two other single ladies who are preparing to move here. They are building their houses, and are here for short periods of time to oversee the results, and buy what is needed. Shirley and Joanne are cousins, and are going to be my very good friends, I am sure. The community here is cohesive, and it is always great getting together. For the most part, we get along with each other, and it provides diversity for all of us. Of course, many of the retirees are couples, and understandably, most would not come to a foreign country alone. Well, with a few exceptions, present company included. It is always nice to meet other single ladies, to have someone to go places with, and share like experiences. I recently met a couple, who have come here with the lady's sister and her husband also. Most seem to drag someone else, kicking and screaming sometimes, but they come together. I, on the other hand, have come alone, but gathered many friends after getting here. I could not live without making friends and having people to share with. Friendships are really my greatest joys in life. How did I leave my friends behind? Well, I really did not in one way, we talk on the phone all the time. I have a stateside line, and love having connectivity to my friends there too, as well as my children.

Well, back to to go pick up veggies to cook for my pups. The dog food here is not good, and the difference in my pups allergies is proof enough that I will continue to cook for them. My friends often tell me to make a baggy for them too. One should be so lucky as to be my dog. God love them!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Atropine...and it is FREE!!

When I was in town yesterday, I went looking for a vile of Atropine to
have on hand just in case I ever need it again. I love my dogs and so
wish I would have known this before. First stop was the pharmacy where
I go frequently to buy meds. They only had the liquid oral bottles,
which if one really needed to take it quickly, that would sure be
great, but trying to get it down a dog, would be a waste. They need
the intravenous type. I stopped at two vets, before I found the atropine.

And, what I found out about put me in a state of shock. The Atropine
was FREE! Yes, that is right, I paid for the syringe, but the Atropine
cost nothing! And you know, at this point, I would have paid much,
just to have it on hand. The vet said, unless I did not understand
correctly, but I think I did...that the USA gives it to CR because of
the Sapo/Bufo problem here. Now, if that be the case, why do the vets
not automatically give it to Gringos, or at least warn us of the
dangers when we first bring our precious pets to them for the initial
exam when we arrive here. Emigration advised me to see a vet asap,
after arriving.

I will continue to use caution when taking my dogs out, but I at least
know that I can use the Atropine to keep a dog alive until I can get
to the vets, if the need arose. I'll also make every effort to insure
everyone coming here has the same knowledge. If you or anyone you know
plans on bringing pets, especially small pets, please let them know
about this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Spanky Part 2 Information

Thanks to all who have sent me messages with kind words and encouragement during my grieving over my beloved Spanky. I can't say how much it has meant to me to have such good friends and concerns from even people I don't know. There are a few things we pet owners can do to protect our furry little friends, and you may want the information also.

I wanted to add information I have received from friends and pet
concerned persons. It sounds like the best of the advise...

Lilian Schnog at the refugio "So washing the mouth...and giving
atropine and trying to get to a vet as fast as possible. If you can
give you can give an intervenus to the dog, it would be even better,
the fluids will wash the poison out of their system."

I found this on a Costa Rica Yahoo group, and is as Lilian has said also. "One
truth here is, that dogs can get poisoned. One is "self-poisoning", if
they attack a "sapo", usually the species bufo marinus, which release
a poison from glands on their back. The other way is by "well-meaning"
neighbors. Have in any case Atropina and Antihistamínico in the house,
together with some fine syringes, alcohol and rubber gloves. I am
giving you the names in Spanish so that any vet can provide you with them.
The symptom of poisoning – thank God they use just one basic chemical!
– is: very erratic walking, dropping down, foam at the mouth – do not
confuse with rabies, which is very rare! – little or no acoustic
reaction, little or no reaction to touch, violent shaking of body and
legs. In case of poisoning do NOT give milk!
Inject immediately 0.5 ml – 1.0 ml Atropine, depending on the size of
the dog, intramuscularly (usually the haunches), and wait for the
animal to react (eyes will widen immediately, shaking and slobbering
should stop within minutes). This is the moment when you can call the
vet. After ten minutes give the same dose (0.5 ml – 1.0 ml)
Antihistaminic with another (new!) syringe.
These are emergency measures only until the vet arrives, but
definitely they can save your dogs life. We did so about 15 times in

Atropine is at the top of my shopping list.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spanky crosses Rainbow Bridge - June 14, 2008

The Real Costa Rica

In memory of my dear sweet Bichon, Spanky, born September 2001, died June 14, 2008.

The video I made was too large to put here, so I am posting a couple of the pictures. One is the last picture taken of him, on June 6th, and the one with the striped spread was taken in Oct 2007. And know this was much harder to write than it may be for you to read.

As I work through the grief of loosing my dearly loved pet, I find I want to let everyone know of at least one danger they face living here in Costa Rica. First I want to talk some about his live, and then I will relay the details of his untimely death.

Spanky was a feisty, energetic pup of one year old when he came to live with me. His girlfriend, Snuggles was just about to throw a litter of 7 puppies. The owner felt it would be better to find a good home for Spanky to ease the over population that would soon be a reality in their small home. It was perfect timing, because I had just suffered the loss of my first Bichon, Monty, age 2, to and untimely death. Spanky was everything one could want in a pet and he returned my love and affection 100 fold. He brought happiness back into my life, and joy into my heart. 2 weeks later, his pups were born, and the runt of the litter chose me from the very beginning. I visited every weekend, and brought him home near Christmas to be Spanky's co-heart in crime. Spanky would get into enough trouble for both of them, and if you have been reading my blog, you know of incidences when Spanky caused such upheaval in our home. Sunni would wait to see if Spanky was going to 'catch it' before he would participate, and I could hear Sunni saying "Oh-oh, you are in for it now, just wait 'til Mom sees this!" Even that said, he was loved beyond belief! It was as if he knew he had to make his life a great adventure, because he knew he was not long for this world. The years I had with him were the best. He was such an "in your face" dog, always wanting something, and mostly wanting me to sit down so he could rest in my lap and sleep. We , the three of us, spent much of the last year sitting on the patio, enjoying the beautiful days, while I knitted and he and Sunni would play or sleep next to me on their chairs or in my lap. I have a lounge chair, and 2 patio chairs pulled up to it, so they can both be close and they could rest too. I can not count the hours that Spanky spent sitting out in a chair, enjoying the beautiful view of the valley, even when Sunni was not interested in being out doors. I would be on the computer and could see him through the window. I would tease him about 'reading the paper' each day, and meditating. What a joy he was. Happy, demanding, and so self assured that no matter what, it was always time to eat. As many Bichons have such awful food allergies, he wore a cone for most of the time from around turning 2 until almost 4 months ago, when I changed from regular dog food to home cooked meals. Good dog food down here is hard to find, and very expensive when you can get it. Spanky and Sunni responded very quickly to their new diet, and with the readily available fruits and veggies here, cooking stew for them was very easy. He no longer dug at himself, and no longer had 'hot-spots'. He was happier, and no longer required antihistamines to maintain a calm. He was a challenge, faithful companion and would protect me literally to the death. He died doing what was his nature, and not understanding the extreme danger he had just encountered.

Saturday was WWKIP day, World Wide Knit in Public, and I had spent the whole afternoon with friends, knitting and sharing with friends. I arrived home about 5 p.m. and fed the boys. They were most happy to see me return, and hungry as usual. Near 7 p.m., I put them out for their second round of potty duty. I had been watching a TV program, and decided to get a dish of ice cream while they ran on there leads to do their thing. I was tired and never gave 'checking the patio before coming back in the house for that minute' a thought. I heard them bark, and yelled at them to "go potty", and put the ice cream back in the freezer and rushed back outside. No more then a minute of time had passed. To my horror, Spanky had one of the Sapo toads in his mouth, and was giving him the standard 'clamp-down' and 'I'll teach you not to invade our space', lesson. I pulled them back into the house on there leads and it was already way too late for Spanky. Sunni had licked the toad also, and both were showing the effects already. I never dreamed the poison was so deadly. Sapo toads, click on the name to find out more about them, and see a picture, grown, are about the size of a softball, or larger. I immediately took Spanky to the kitchen sink, running water, and forcing his mouth under the water. This was met with much resistance. I did the same to Sunni, and meanwhile, Spanky started going though all the symptoms listed about the toad, and I would add that it had to have burned where it entered through his gums to the blood stream, for he was using his front paws to violently scratch his gums and teeth. I felt so helpless, and the shock I was in rendered me almost motionless. From the scratching his gums, he started to bleed, and the hallucinogenic effect of the poison was evident in his huge eyes, and rapid heart beat. Thus, speeding the venom through his body in seconds. I am told that the Mayans licked the toads in ceremonial rituals for the 'trip'. I grabbed both of them and rushed to the car to drive to a neighbors to call the vet. After frightening the daylights out of them, they called, and the vet was still at the clinic so I drove there. I should not have driven in my condition, but by then was in 'command' mode. All I remember was I screamed and yelled the entire trip to town, about 12 minutes. Begging Spanky not to die, and people to get out of my way. Because the following day was going to be Father's day, many families were already gathering, and Saturday evenings are the night everyone comes out, if there is no rain, and walk down the street, will total disregard for cars in the streets. I really knew already that Spanky was no longer with me, but only hoped that he was unconscious. He had passed as I drove from our road onto the black top. Sunni was on the front floor boards, scared so bad, and I did not know, could not see if he was even alive, in the darkness. My panic was extreme. Upon arriving at the Vet's, I rushed Spanky into David, returning just long enough to pick Sunni up also and take him in. When I saw that David was still trying to find a heartbeat, I knew Spanky was gone. Spanky had been through 2 near death situations after rabies shots, and because it took days for him to show any symptoms, it took two years for us to realize that he was allergic to the rabies shot. The last shot he had, we were able to prep him for it with a shot of Benedril, and he was absolutely fine. Perhaps, because of these experiences, he had a weaker heart already, and he did not have the resources to fight this situation. Not all dogs died from this venom, but many do. Since, several people have told me they have lost a pet to this toad also. Sunni did not get as much, and maybe it was so little that he was able to counter it quickly, and rinsing his mouth under running water possibly helped also. This was by no means, a less difficult loss than when I lost Monty, and both times the hole in my heart was and is the size of TX.

I have found such comfort and peace from my dear friends and neighbors. With only a couple exceptions, we are all dog lovers, and have pets, and I truly felt they really understood my pain and were willing to share the load with me. I count each one as a blessing in my life.

Sometimes, at that particular moment, we do not understand why a seemingly unimportant event will later make such a difference to us, and be the answer to a situation before it even happens. I have been so busy this month, I have not had time to write in my blog, but did manage to get pictures downloaded of the time my daughter spent here with me, and a couple of gals who are doing veterinarian practicals came to stay also. While I was traveling with my daughter, a little street dog came up to our table at an outdoor soda (cafe), and very politely sat and never even begged for food. There are not as many street dogs now, due to the efforts of many who have provided sterilization for many of the small animals who roam the streets. This little dog was so cute, and so gentle, I am sure you know that I want to bring her home with me. My daughter would not give in to holding her, and insisted that I surely did not need another dog. So I did not bring her home. Perhaps someone else came to her rescue. And this is the first time I have been so moved to open my heart to another pet to be added to our family. Now you must understand that I have allergies to most dogs and cats, and most animals. I did walk away, without too much "oooooohhhhh" to boot. Then while the vet students were here, one of them is the daughter of one of my childhood friends, I took them to a friends to ride horses. My Tica friend thought they may enjoy meeting a friend of hers, who lived just down the road about a mile+. This lady, Helene, who I had spoken with a couple of times in San Ramon, in stores, but had never exchanged names, (imagine my surprise) helps poor dogs who are homeless, need medical attention, or need to be fixed. On that day, she had 58 dogs in her compounds. I saw several I would love to have, and one really was so sweet. I told her that I would come back for her later when she was spay. Helene has a heart of gold and can not say no to a dog in crisis. Little did I know that within the week, I would loose my precious Spanky. And my heart was already prepared for an addition of joy and happiness to our small family. Oh my little Spanky, did you have to go to Rainbow heart aches for your warm body, and sweet kisses. I will place the poem here also, I am sure it has ease the pain many have suffered.

One last thing before you read the beautiful poem. Costa Rica does not provide cremation service, in this area anyway. I could not put my little friend in the ground, and wanted him cremated so I could save his ashes as I have Monty's. We learn the level of creativity for which we posses and to what length we willing to go to find what we need, while we live in Costa Rica. I have the dearest Tico neighbors, and after being offered the available options, I could not put him in a pet cemetery and could not bear to have him just disposed of in the waste facility, and really do think cremation was best for Spanky, I asked Geraldo if he could do the cremation for me. Sunday morning, he did this for me. And though some may cringe at this, I'm sorry, he wanted to be sure I knew he was giving me the actual ramains, he showed me a rib, a spinal disc, and part of the jaw bone, with a tooth still remaining in it. They were soft as ash, but still holding together. He wanted to show me before he crushed the ash to condense the bag to fit in the tin. Though this has been very painful for me to write, I know I will get through this also, and again feel the happiness living in Costa Rica has afforded me.

I could only edit parts of this, so if I have made mistakes, they will remain uncorrected.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends, so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;
they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes,
when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass,
his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face;
your hands again caress the beloved head,
and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

Friday, May 30, 2008

Here Comes the SUN!!! Yippy!

The storm clouds moving on to the east.

The Blue Mountains farther south.
Photo is a little sharper with the tripod.

The mountains to the south west, with the sun shining on them.
Brightening up the morning after the past 5 days of rain.

Oh my Gosh...finally a break from the rain, well, at least until 1:45 p.m. today. Yes, we are getting another shower, but hopefully it is not the same kind that just moved out. I got up this morning, and after taking care of the boys...the normal routine, I grabbed my camera to shoot the beautiful, clear sky as it got sunny outside. How beautiful it is and the crisp clearness is worth getting up for. I shot to the west, which is where the clearing after the rains came from. It is amazing that the ones I shot to the east, where the sun was coming up behind the clouds, still show signs of the storm moving out. I am still in awe of the distance I can see, and the blue mountains beyond, which are a little east of direct south. Never lived any where from which I could see so far. I grew up in Montana, and one can see for miles in 'big sky' country, but flat (the eastern part) is different than these beautiful mountains I see here. I remember being able to see quite far when we would go into the park, Makoshika, if I remember the correct spelling. Click the name, for more info. It is located on the edge of Glendive, the town I grew up in, but most of the area is very flat, and is mostly farm land. The road into the park is the 'flash back' I get on some of the roads here, when I have time to think about it. I remember swinging out over a steep cliff, from the door of my dads truck, as it swung open as he took a curve in the road, perhaps a little to fast. Yes, I remember screaming and hanging on for dear life! Those old (antiques they call them now) trucks and cars my dad kept running, were slightly more than barely running sometimes, and it is a wonder they had doors on them. After that experience, I was always more careful to slam the door shut, and double check it again when we were out in the park. My dad use to do some work, he was a handy-man, for a small ranch on the other side of the park. Getting there meant having to drive through the park each time we went there. It still is a pretty rustic park in the "badlands", but not as it use to be, that was the true 'back to nature' experience. They have since paved the roads, straightened and widened them a great deal. And I have not seen them since I was in my 20's. Long time ago.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Friend's Son Gets Married

A Beautiful Couple!

Mom & Son Dance

Congratulations Jen & Matt!

Rain, and Knitting Days

I am hearing that this may be an "El Nino" year, with all the storms they are having in the states, and we sure are having a lot more rain, earlier in the year, than what we had last year. The weather seems to have no pattern, any longer, only does what it must with global warming and all. We have definitely had plenty of rain this past week. I hope it stops, even if only temporarily, long enough for my daughter to visit me. We will have to hit the decks early to get ahead of the rain. One of the best things about the rain, is the clear skies we have when it lifts, and even when it rains, it is not the same darkness I use to associate with rainy days.

I shot some photos early in the morning and the blue mountains you see here, I can only see on the very clear days. I took them on telephoto, so they look closer than they really are. They are miles away, even as the crow flies, and to drive there, well, it takes a long time. It sure is beautiful. They are not as clear a focus as I would like, and I guess I will just have to get out the tripod one of these days.

I have even had to put on a sweater to keep the chill from getting me. Maybe I'll get to use my new sweater and socks sooner than I thought this year.

I finished the Honeymoon Cami for Ines, and see for yourself, she is as cute as can be in it.

Rachel just loves the blanket, and will not lay it down, carries it everywhere she goes. And nap time could not be easier. At 3 years old, her little smiles of excitement are so gratifying. I also made a small crocheted blanket for her doll, to match with left over yarn.

The gray Saucy socks are finished, and I just need to take some pictures to add to the files, and will put it here when I do that. Added, and am happy with them! The pattern shows up nicely, but pictures just don't do them justice. They will keep my feet warm this rainy season.

I started another Cami, called the Bias Corset, and it is coming along well, and has been fun to work out the uniqueness of it. I decided to put a second color in the front ribbing and it is interesting the effect it is having on the lay of the top. I am using a different fiber, than suggested, with a bit of stretch to it, so it will finish slightly differently than the merino suggested. I think it will fit me better with the extra elasticity in it. The ribbing in the back will give it a close fit, and ease as well. Turning out beautiful! The decreases in the lower front have given it the slop in the center that I am loving.

I also started another pair of socks...what you think I would not have a pair going on the sock needles again? I guess I am as addicted to making socks as everyone else who makes them continuously. And I like trying different patterns each time too. Because I love the color variations in yarn, I usually have to try each pattern before I cast on for real. Not every pattern shows in the variations of colored yarns. I just love multi-colors, what can I say. This time, I am doing a vintage fluted pattern, and they are looking good. I had started a different pattern, and even after testing it, and then casting on, I didn't like the result and frogged it. My knitting friends gasped, but I am a process knitter, and I don't finish what I don't like, so I am better off to frog the silly thing and start over, different pattern, different result. And may times, I'll frog if it isn't feeling 'right' in my hands. Don't really even have to look at it to know, there is sometimes it just tells you.This is Cafe Delicias, where we knit.

Our knitting group is going great, and this past Thursday was no exception. We get more and more traffic just stopping by to say 'hi' and introduce themselves. We are a 'chatty' bunch, and anyone speaking English, is drawn to our table. We met several ladies this week, one wonderful lady who has lived here for 14 years, and who was 'uuuhhhing' over our beautiful yarns, wondering where we got them. Costa Rica has many crafts and many small shops with items for sale, but yarn is not one of the best items offered. I never considered myself a 'yarn snob' but I guess, I am and may as well defend my tastes. Polyester and I are not on friendly terms since I long ago found knitting with real wools, cottons and silks to be so much more of a pleasant experience. Not only does it make a difference in the construction process, but the finished garment is miles ahead of the look poly affords one. So, the internet is my friend too. Living on a global basis is not a big stretch, if you know it is there. I am amazed at the number of people who are still "computer-phobic" and will never have the pleasure of this wonderful tool. Even here in Costa Rica, where most of the population still do not have personal computers, there are Internet Cafes on every block. They may even last, time wise, longer here as a business than they did in the states. The income level is much lower here, so it is not a high priority of things to buy for ones home. The youth are growing up with more desire to have technology and are learning it quickly. The next generation will be very computer literate.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Knitting: 2 Completions, and 2 new WIP

As I am learning more about myself, than I ever did when I worked...I am finding I love being retired! I can now finish what I start, and they no longer turn into UFOs (UnFinished Objects). I am finding out that I really do love to cook, and have the time to do that also. My only dilemma, is what do I do when I finish one project, and which of the next 1000+ ideas I have, gets my undivided attention next. Oh, what fun!

I finished my Top-Down Sweater, several weeks ago, just needed to sew in the ends of the yarn, and block it. Now, it is finished, and I will be warm come the October chilly rains. It fits perfectly, and I love the colors.

Then, I also finished, in 2 weeks time (a record for me), a pair of Slipped-Stitched Rib Socks. I started them for myself, and a friend saw them at our Knit-Ins and she fell in love with them. I have another skien of the same yarn,
so I will make another pair for myself. The Fly Dyed
Monarch Merino was so great to work with, like butter in my hands. Not all wools are created equal.

I started the Saucy Socks pattern on Sisu yarn, and it is working up nicely, but not as wonderful a feel in my hands. I like the pattern, and only one row out of 12 rows in the pattern, the cable row, is difficult to maneuver on the magic loop. I am using one dbl point needle to hold the cabling stitches on from the opposite sides, makes it easier. I know, you have to be a knitter to understand the lingo.

On the trip to San Jose, I started a small coverlet for Rachel, the neighbor girl. She is 3 years old, and can hardly wait for me to finish it. I decided to just make rows of different stitch patterns for a variety in each skein of yarn. She loves the bright colors. Will post it when finished too.