Monday, January 28, 2008

Summer is Here!

The days are so beautiful, warm and breezy now. And I love it. Has helped a bunch to get rid of the holiday blues. I think it being my first year here, and not many friends that I feel are family yet, had a lot to do with the blues. With it so bright from 5:30 a.m. on, it would be hard not to smile and be happy. I hang out my laundry and enjoy not having to run the dryer because the wind has them dry in no time. The humidity is much lower, and the temperature is very comfortable. I guess the only down side would be having to chance the dirt out each day, but a little dirt never hurt anyone.

I have been emailing and re-connecting with friends from the past, many years ago, when we were in school together. I spend several hours each day at the computer, and I have found so many sites I never had time to search before, or never knew existed. It has been fun getting caught up with their lives as well. Retirement can be a time for re-connecting again. When we were younger, seemed there were so many things needing our attention, our children, our careers, our communities, schools, and if we had a minute left over, we could soak in a bubble bath. No, I don't remember having time for that either. Now, I do pretty much what I want to, and other than paying my bills, I don't have many time lines that must be met.

Ines, a neighbor girl, has been teaching me to speak Spanish, and in return I have been helping her with English. Her family are wonderful people, and I have grown to love their friendship. We recently went to the parade in Palmares, and you might say I connected with nature again. I don't even remember seeing so many horses all in one place, even in my childhood, and I grew up in Montana. Something else that I did not know was that horses can dance to music. We were standing near the stage where the music was being blasted from. I say blasted, because I could feel it pounding in my chest. Even when the horses were standing in one place, they were picking up their feet to the beat. It was pretty cool. The part that amazed me was the massive number of people, and I hear that a local paper estimated 800,000 people were there for the parade. I can't even imagine how many horses were there, I can only guess, perhaps 300 to 500... And it is only a guess. I took pictures, and not the normal way either. I had to put the camera over my head as far as I could reach and shoot. People were body to body, and the streets were packed. There were 5 to 8 horses abreast across the street for the entire 2 hours it took for the last horse to pass. The red coats signaled The End. And horse shit, oh my Gosh! Being shoved by the crowd one direction and then back again, the whole time trying to not get my feet stepped on, or kicked by a anxious horse, were only part of the problem. The parking attendant, upon seeing I was a gringa, double charged me $10 to park. It reminded me of some of the October Fests in Missouri, when open containers were not against the law. Bottles were being passed to the riders, some had clearly had enough already. Many, young and old, were drinking heavily. We were standing on the street at a T in the roads by the park, and I think every policeman was standing right at the point also. I think there are perhaps, no rules to this game, and only if something very tragic happened, would there have been any intervention, IF, they could have even reached the place. I know they have these festivals each year, this one lasts 10 days. Most towns have numerous festivals, but I have not seen the number of people as there were at this one. It is a cultural thing, and one that... I went, I saw, and I probably will not go again. I'm sure there were days in which there were less people, and it was less crowded, I will choose to attend on one of those days, next time, instead of the horse parade day. People watching was very interesting, they have all kinds here too. These are just some of the pictures I shot. As you will see, there was not a spot of street, sidewalk, or grass that did not have feet standing on it. And yes, the horses were that close to us, I did not zoom in on any picture.
Guisel and Ines

The white horse was beautiful!

Dancing and yes, drinking

Yes, they were that close to us! And look at how many abreast. They shine because they are Hot!

Men in Black, the police...vest and I bet they were warm too.

Every spot up through this street is a person! I could not believe it.

Mostly cowboys, but look at the man with the ear his ear, not on it. The skin is around the 2+ inch circle.

Men in Red...signal The End!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Suzanne, Thanks for the comment, but don't know how to reach you.

I'd love to meet you and have lunch while you are in San Ramon. I am going to post my email here,, so you can email me when you know what day you will be in San Ramon. Email me and I will email you back with where to meet me. There is an Internet Cafe called Solo Bueno just as you come into downtown San Ramon, on the right side of the street, from the Auto Pista. Friends of mine own it, and you could email me from there. It is the shop, right in front of the bus (in the picture) and is the first bus stop after the stop light/signal you can see hanging in the picture. Most drivers are familiar with Solo Bueno. Pull the bell cord, on the bus when he is at the light. I always have my email on, during the day, so I would get it and get back to you quickly. I can call you back at Solo Bueno too. I'll be at home the days you suggested.

Hope we can connect. I have a car, so I can drive the 4K to town fairly soon after hearing from you. I'll bring the clogs for you to see. I am going to go back in my post on them and add the answers to the questions you asked, I thought later that I should have posted what I had made them from also. I'm working on a pair of socks too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Yes! I finished the slippers! Knitted and Felted Slippers

I finished these beautiful clog/slippers a few weeks ago, but had not had time to felt them yet. I used the Fiber Trends Felted Clog pattern. It was fast and easy. The fiber is Plymouth, Outback 100% Wool, and they are made all in one piece. Doesn't look possible, but...there you have it. Today, I decided was the day to felt them. I had to carry hot water from the kitchen sink, and heated 4 tea kettles of water also. I must get a hot water connection to my washer! I love to felt projects I have knitted, and I also make projects from slightly worn wool sweaters found at thrift stores. If you've never tried them before, you don't know what you're missing. I have a couple sweaters waiting to be processed and I have some ideas for them. Are you asking, "Why would anyone knit with wool in the
tropics?"? We do have some very cool weather, having no heat, unless you count space heaters, it is nice to curl up under a throw, with knitted socks, a sweater, and slippers on, and read a good book or watch a movie. It saves on electricity too, green wise, both money and environment. They are drying now, stuffed with a pair of shoes and wash cloths to stretch them even. I will take them to a small shoe repair shop in San Ramon to have soles added. Ceramic tile floors would mean a sure fall, and I can't chance that.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Got Nerves of will need them to live here. Part I

Though life in Costa Rica has many benefits, one must understand it has it's share of problems also. One advantage to reading blogs is, perhaps, to glean a little insight and avoid a few potholes. Part II will follow.

I think we northerners have different requirements than the native Costa Ricans, that life can require much more flexibility than what I ever imagined. I find my most difficult times are the days I need to pay bills. After paying bills automatically for so many years, and I hardly ever wrote a check or carried cash in my purse, this is stepping back, in some respects, perhaps into my parents time of experiences. The catch22 is that the technology is here in Costa Rica also, but the knowledge has not caught up with it yet. They are operating on memorization, just like they do in the schools here. They have memorized how to do things on a computer, but have no understanding of what they are doing, or at least of what consequence it may have. And correcting errors, or undoing the mess, is out of the question.

Without going into the long, believe me, long story of my banking adventure...I will suggest that you embrace alternatives to banking at Banco National, here/after called BN. I knew when I went to the bank to pay three bills, the same ones I pay each month shortly after the first of the month, that, this being so close to a holiday, I may have to wait for a while. And I was "tranquilo" with that. I waited patiently in line for over an hour to get to the cashier, giving her enough forms of ID, my USA bank card, list of bills and their account numbers, and was fully prepared to be asked for everything short of my first born. As usual, she took my card into Neverland, and after a short wait, she returned only to tell me that my card was regetted! Imagine that! Due to my stunned look, I'm sure, she replied that she had ran the card twice and handed me one "declined" notice. I begged, "Please", (in my broken Spanish) "run it one more time, plllleeeease." She went back and moments later, returned, as through a revolving door, and told me "no" again. Now, I am tired, my back aches, and I wonder why I had not gotten in the MUCH shorter "Aged, and Handicap" line. As I turn to leave and try to figure out "What the Hell am I going to do?", I see the line is just as long as it was when I came in an hour and a half ago. I decide to go to the bank about a mile up the road, and get dollars out of the ATM at a bank where I can not use my MasterCard bank card at the teller, they only give you money for Visa cards, but I can get money out of the ATM. Are you starting to see the irony in all of this? I get as much as I can out of the ATM, remember most cards have a daily limit, and drive back to BN, with cash in hand, not enough, but to pay 2 bills, and part of another, thinking I will return on another day hoping the line will be shorter to pay the remainder of the bill, when I can get more money out of the ATM. Does this sound like fun? I go into BN, and yes, the line was just as long, so I stepped into the line with 8 or so people, the "Aged and Handicap" line. I wait for my turn, get to the teller, and he tells me "I am not old enough!", and I am betwixt reaching through the hole in the glass, and kissing him, or something less sensual. And for the record, I am old enough! He points at the LONG line, and says I must go to THAT line. I made it perfectly clear that I was not going into THAT line, and waved my fist full of dollars at him. I remember babbling something about having been here before, and NO, I was not going to that line, and take my money! At this point, the lady teller next to him, who had originally 'declined' my card, got his attention, and said that she would take me next. He was relieved, and I would not have to resort to obscene gestures. After paying my bills, and happily walking to my car, I realized I just spent two and a half hours trying to pay 3 bills, and would still have to come back for another episode. Reruns are hell.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Isn't this just adorable?!!! I call the picture "Learning Spanish While You Sleep". This is my little Bichon, Sunni, and he must be in the pile of stuff, no matter what it is. I have a pretty good library of Spanish books, and while I was organizing them, he decided to take a nap. for the Rubik's Cube trick, you must go to and see the absolutely cool things you can do there. Gives new meaning to picture taking. Enjoy!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fearless Knitters! Well, it started out that way...

Yes, I am one of "them". I had a store for a couple of years, before I moved to Costa Rica. I sold yarns, beads and all the things one needs to make anything from them. Needless to say, I came here with some of my "stash". I am often asked what I do to keep from going crazy, now that I am retired, and usually two things I usually list are knitting and reading. I also have many books I never had the time to read when I was working full time. I keep adding books to my shelves, and recently I made the comment, that perhaps I like books more than I like reading. When I made that comment, I was remembering the first book I ever had as a child. It was "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore", and I loved that book. I read it so many times, and sometimes, I will admit, that I did not even read it cover to cover, because I knew what it said, I would just open it up, and read words from the pages, or read it backwards. One of the reasons I loved that book so much, was because, we were so poor, and it was the only book I ever received as a gift while I was a child. I read many books from the public library, and loved touching the rows of books. I still will run my hands along the book backs in the shelves at the book store. It reminds me of the days, when I was a child, I would do that at the public library, on my way to the section of books I was going to pick one from.

I started this, wanting to talk about knitting, and I took a turn in my mental drive about the second sentence. So I guess, I really didn't want to talk about my knitting today...well, another day perhaps.