Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for February 2012

Woke up early to car doors slamming and chatter.  Worker guys were trampling around the empty lot to the L of our house. Next thing I know, they are walking up the road and standing and looking at the mess Patrick left us when he tore out most of our coffee, claiming he didn’t know it was our property!  The partners in the development were not happy and are going to restore the property, probably with fruit and various flowering trees; we’ll still have the few coffee plants that didn’t get destroyed.

The road behind us is going to be either concrete or asphalt but first they must put in the large drain pipes. Which is good since during the rainy season, the road was graded so the majority of water of runoff water ran into our driveway.  Sort of a deal where you put up with the bad to make the good.  So a huge back hoe is now digging the trench, dirt flying everywhere and do you think they even asked us if we wanted to move a car in case we needed to get out?  Nope, and the dirt they are digging is being put at the entrance of our drive!  We have learned in Costa Rica they just “do things” and worry about correcting them later! Sheesh…

Couldn’t go back to sleep so decided to get up and at least make coffee; I bought a different brand at the grocery – a chocolate flavored coffee.  Sometimes a girl just has to have a “little chocolate fix”.

While waiting for the coffee to brew, I washed the few (HA!) dirty dishes and noticed I didn’t put the filter in the coffee pot.  I’ve done this a lot before and know the freakin’ mess it creates!  So the coffee continued to brew and spew all over the counter.  What a waste of good coffee!

Now I’m sort of afraid to do anything because obviously this is going to be a day of  “oh, geez, look what I did now!”

Pura Vida from the land of perfect weather! (as long as it’s not rainy season)



We spent last week frantically getting things completed to complete our residency requirements for Costa Rica.

Today, Mark went to the bank and paid the taxes and fees; 1) which is money we “give or loan” (my words) to the government in case they decide to deport us.  I’m sure this will apply more to Mark than it will to me. Supposedly, this money is in a bank account and is used to pay airfare out of Costa Rica.  Don’t quote me on this, but I think if you’ve been here 5 – 7 years, you can ask for the money back.  We don’t know of anyone doing this successfully. 2) We have to convert $1,000/mo into colones; not a big deal since we have a dollar account and a colones account.

Tomorrow afternoon we will go to the Costa Rican Social Security office in Atenas and sign me up for CAJA, their government insurance.  Mark signed up last Thursday but I have to sign up as a dependent at another office, go figure!

Then tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be calling Monika, our residency attorney, to get our newly developed paperwork to her; she’ll make sure everything is in order and then on Friday she’ll request an appointment, I think for Monday or Tuesday for us to be present, or resolved (as they say here) and then we’ll have a picture taken for our Cedula’s.  This little card will show that we’re eligible for the CAJA and not have to make a 90 day border runs.  WOO-HOO!  We didn’t have to make any border runs because Monika got our paperwork in line before the first 90 days we were here.

When we look back at how quickly things happened, and what has  gotten done here in Costa Rica, it’s unbelievable!  The big reason that we were able to do all this was because the house in the U.S. sold so quickly.  My neck still hurts from the whip-lash!

I’m thinking we should have a “We’ve been resolved party”…..what do you think?

Pura Vida!

We received word from our attorney that we needed to go ahead and sign up for CAJA, (Costa Rica’s socialized medicine) and get our ducks in a row (pay the taxes and fees) to become a resident.  When we have done the required tasks, she will then make an appointment for us to get our cedula’s and  we’ll become residents of Costa Rica. I think I will make a better Tica than a Southern Belle!

Since I already had an appointment to “install my bridge” this afternoon, we thought we should just go ahead and head into San Jose and get signed up for CAJA.  At least that was the plan.

First we stopped at the ARCR office, of which we are a member.( Association of Residents of Costa Rica)  We decided to go through this organization because they have an agreement with CAJA for a group discount.  If you are over 55, you can get this insurance for $49/month – that is the cost for both of us.

Met with Annabelle, a most pleasant woman, but more importantly, one with a sense of humor!  She was quite impressed that we had copies of everything we “needed”; multiple copies.  Thanks to Monika, our residency attorney who emailed everything we would need!

We left the ARCR offices and walked 2 blocks to catch a taxi to take us to the CAJA – or as I call it “CAJA CENTRO”.  Went in and found where we were to be with very little trouble.  However, the computers were down and expected to be back up around 3 p.m., which put a real glitch in the day’s plans.

So, we hailed a taxi and headed back to where we had parked  our car.  No way would I ride with Mark in that horrible traffic!

Off we went to the dental appointment.  Got there a half hour early with the hopes I could get in early!  And voila!!!! I got in right away.

GULP!  The temporary bridge came off without a hitch; however, when air hit a crown prepared tooth, I thought I would come out of the chair and high tail it out of there!  After being reassured, it wouldn’t be too much more painful, they continued.  I could not stand it!  Let me say it again, it was so sensitive, I could not  stand it!

In a short time a different “Doctora” (female dentist) came in to numb me.  After 4 shots, I was pretty numb!  Then the dentist that did the prep work came in to see how the bridge fit.  It didn’t.  After probably 25-30 mins. of putting it in and taking it out, and trying to “sand” down the high spot, he decided to send it back to the lab to correct it.  The lab is downstairs from the dental office.  So we needed to wait approximately 30 mins. for that to get done.

They called me back in to the cubicle and the numbness had started to wear off – requiring 2 more shots!!!  I don’t ever recall having a tooth so sensitive!  So within 10 minutes, the bridge was cemented in, and off we went.

Originally, the plans were to go back to CAJA to see if the computers were up and running; alas, too much time was spent at the dentist and besides I certainly didn’t feel like going back there with my face so numb and swelled!

We headed for home and arrived close to 4 p.m.  Yep, I’m still swelled at 5 p.m. and numb! LOL  I’m sure Mark is thrilled because I don’t feel like talking! LOL

So tomorrow we’ll go back to CAJA in San Jose and hope we’re successful!  For the record, I doubt that the computers came back up at 3 p.m.!

Pura Vida for now!!!


A while back while I was at the grocery, these kitchen towels were in a markdown bin.  They aren’t really a heavy towel since you need quick drying things in C osta Rica! LOL


I thought they would be perfect to do a little embroidery on…and Embroidery Library had these cute redwork designs….voila!  Turned out cute for next to nothing money wise = less than $2.50 for both!  I love quick, easy, cheap things!


Pura Vida….and happy drying!

I don’t envy my friend Pat. Well I do and I don’t. First of all, she is shopping.

A lot. That would be fun.

As a matter of fact, when we were shopping for light fixtures, we had a good chuckle over the boobie lights we saw everywhere. OK, when you see brushed nickel hallway ceiling lights displayed as they should be… on the ceiling… they don’t look like boobie lights.

But for some reason, here in Tica land, where boobs are everything, the lights are displayed vertically not horizontally…

it’s a whole new perspective, agreed?

They are building a new house and she is shopping for all kinds of goodies.

I can only hope she will be shopping for a gooseneck led reading light clamp or a 56″ wide half round wool hearth rug minuteman, — love to see how those are displayed.

The downside to her shopping? She’s under some time pressure. Recently they made a trip to pick out some floor tile for a number of rooms. That mission accomplished, she returned home to learn from the contractor that they would be ready to install a boring ceiling folding attic ladder in a couple days.  They had not purchased a folding attic ladder yet. Bo-ring.

This meant another 45 minute drive to the folding ladder place.

Shopping for boobie lights? Fun. Shopping for folding attic ladders? Not fun.

Sunday evening, after a dinner of lasagna, found me in desperate need of a dentist.  After receiving a few recommendations from friends, I was able to get an appointment at DentaVac in Escazu on Weds.  Yep, I took the dentist that had the earliest appointment for me!  And yes, we drove Ms. Smartie to the appointment as you can see from the picture.

My appointment was at 2 p.m. and after being stopped at a road block with MOPT, and “stuff” reducing the speed on the autopista, and at times actually stopped, we made it 10 minutes early.

After filling out the required paperwork, I was immediately taken back to a cubicle.  After explaining to the dentist what had happened and the previous experience in the states and what was done, I was told I had two options.  One: an implant or Two: a permanent bridge.

I opted with the permanent bridge because I heard the magic words:  we can  begin the preliminary work now, if you have the time and you will have the permanent bridge installed next week!  Woo-Hoo… different than the states where you would make an appointment to see what needs to be done; then another appointment scheduled to do the work; then waiting and waiting for the bridge; and finally the appointment to get that installed.

Since I was there I said let’s get started!  He began immediately after taking one of those “head swirl x-rays” to see what was underneath.

Six shots later, I was numb and away he started grinding  off the temporary fix.  I had been quoted $4,000 for this bridge in the states and here it’s $1200; quite a savings!  Mark just doesn’t realize the money I’ve saved him in 43 years of marriage! LOL

We were home in time to let the dogs out and head back into town for a birthday gathering at Bar Lourdes!  Yep, I was swelled, and very sore!  But hey, if eyes almost swelled shut from a hair dye reaction doesn’t keep me from playing in a golf tournament, a swelled and extremely sore cheek, won’t keep me from a birthday party!

Lots of ibuprofen at bedtime and 3 times during the night and I’m ready for a new day!  I may be old, but I’m a tough old bird!

I would highly recommend this dentist and thank you Sally and Leonard for recommending him to me.  Everyone in the office spoke very good English.  I wonder if the day will come when seeking out medical care won’t require me to have English spoken. Sigh…..

Pura Vida for now…..the washing machine is calling me to hang out the clothes.  You know, it is true a woman’s work is never done…..but there’s always tomorrow to do it!

We had been told that the Chili Cook-0ff is so much fun!  It’s a fundraiser for the Orphanage here. It’s the event to go to and be seen! LOL

We arrived around 1:30 p.m.  It’s held at Roma Vista and if you ever have a chance to see this gorgeous place, do not hesitate to accept the invitation.  A pavilion, a swimming pool – two areas, one for little kiddo’s and larger ones. Gorgeous grounds, beautiful view; well, you get the picture.

You pay 1,500 colones to get in and that gets you samples of the contest chili.  Tickets are sold for drinks and other food.  We stayed with the chili and drinks.  Some very different tasting chili….from blow your socks off hot, to a nice mild flavored one.  I stayed with mild ones, when there was a choice and Mark chose the blow your socks off hot!  One he tried was extremely hot and he immediately said, we’ve got to get drink tickets, NOW! LOL  So he got some beer and I got water…and he continued with the hot stuff.  Some entrants even had sour cream, shredded cheese, onions and a little more hot stuff!

Then we wandered down to where the entertainment was held.  Frances, from Lighthouse Animal Shelter, was belting out some oldies but goodies!  I wish we could have seen her when she was an entertainer……love the genre of music she sings.

Ran into Bruce, her husband, and said “go tell Frances to sing some Whitney songs”…..he said “I’m not doing that and I can guarantee if you do, she’ll kill you!  She can’t hit those high notes anymore!”  And we laughed…..she’s still got it in my book!

Then there was time for drawings, etc.   Ran into Pat and John….they were getting ready to leave and she gave me her tickets for the drawings.  Wouldn’t you know it, the first number drawn was one of her tickets!  Stopped by their house and John came out and I told him I had helped him with his Valentine’s Day gift for her! LOL

Headed to MegaSuper to pick up a few things. When I came out, Mark was sitting in front of the grocery with 3 strange small kids sitting in Ms. Smartie!  A woman was with her three kids and her son was so excited about seeing the car….she just opened the door and plopped her toddler daughter in the seat; then another girl probably 6-7 years old; and her son – maybe 5.  Mark put the top down and they were thrilled with that….their mother was taking pictures like crazy and they were standing up in the car and having a ball.  It was funny!!! She introduced herself and her children to us and thanked us for letting her kids do that.

Came home and had lasagna and oh boy, not a good way to start the week!  Broke a tooth….so first thing in the morning I’ll be making phone calls to find someone that can fix it….I guess it’s bridge time!

Another fun day; lots of Gringo’s at the festivities and even Tico’s…..nice mix of everyone; young, old, etc.

Pura Vida.


Went to Connie and Roy’s for a Super Bowl get-together!  Walked in and I felt I should be living there.  The casa they have rented in Vista Atenas is decorated in African animals!  And the first thing I spotted was this gorgeous giraffe! I want a giraffe just like it – altho’ I would prefer it be a real live, breathing giraffe, I would settle for this beautiful one!  Reminds me of my Lola at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado!

There was also a huge zebra in another corner of the living room – but I was just too fascinated with this lovely giraffe! LOL

Lots of food, way too much food!  Lots of drink, way too much drink! LOL

They also have a pool and I love that they are complaining that the water is too cold too!  I hope to get Mark to start making some calls on getting our pool a little heat!  Roy and Connie said that some new people that moved into their area have already had solar heating installed…we’re looking into that!


Fun evening last night!  Roy and Connie, Frank and Deloris, Tom and Lee and Mark and I were planning on going to Alida’s for dinner.  Got there and the table was set by the road with a cloth on it and bottles of wine, which indicates they are open!  I kid you not….I should have taken a picture!  However, their gate was closed.  We were parked in front of the gate and then some other people (not with our group) pulled up behind us.  So I called the phone number on the sign.

A woman answered and immediately started babbling in Spanish…I handed the phone to Mark and she spoke in English. Why she couldn’t speak to me in English is beyond my understanding.  She indicated to him that they had been without water and wouldn’t open for another hour and a half.

So we sat by the side of the road till the rest of the people arrived!  Then off we went to “the lobster shop”!  Was funny because when we pulled in to park, there sat Bruce and Frances with another couple!  So we put together a LOT of tables and had a party of 12!!!   All the women ordered lobster!  Tom order a small order of wings – which turned out to be 2 wings, I kid you not!  Mark had chicken fajitas; Roy had BBQ pork, and Frank had steak!

Lee ordered a gin and tonic and received a bottle of ginger ale and a shot glass of gin!  I tried to order a vodka tonic to no avail and finally said “just Pepsi”.  So Mark decided he would go to the bar and tell them how to mix these drinks.  At one point, I looked over at the bar and he was actually making the drinks! LOL  I couldn’t get there quick enough to get a picture but it was quite funny!  All things can be had in Costa Rica, you just have to improvise! LOL

Today we’ll be going to the Atenas Chili Cook-off.  Will get some pics and bring you up to date on how it was!

Another gorgeous day here, it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Pure Vida….Hasta Luego!

Two loads of clothes, washed, on the line, now down and folded.

Three sinks full of dishes washed; two of those sink fulls put away.

Spent hours, yes, hours on that damned kitchen window curtain!  I can sure make myself get involved in LONG projects!  Still not done….have 2 more appliques to put on it.  Still waiting for the coffee bean fabric to arrive to back it with; on the 4th bobbin fill; and the 3rd needle; that’s a lot of embroidering stitching and appliqueing!

Communicated with the gardener on a few things to do around the yard.  He found LOTS of cutter ant houses (casas, as he called them) and they are now hopefully gone to the great beyond.  Found 4 hibiscus bushes stripped of leaves this morning.  They are vicious with plants!  So far the plants they’ve destroyed, have not come back; however, I keep watering them.

Another batch of bananas going bad so I made banana bread again. This time with the correct ingredients. Are you all aware that if you use the correct ingredients, things taste really yummy?

I’m thinking it might be time for a little vodka/tonic and lime.  I’m beat!!! LOL

Pura Vida…

Hasta Luega for now!

A new restaurant/bar has opened on highway 3. It’s called Bar Lourdes – altho’ on the menu it says something else. (welcome to Costa Rica, folks!)

Lobster was on the menu – and I jumped at the chance – first time it’s been on a menu when we’ve eaten out!  Altho’ I’m sure places closer to Jaco have it.

My lobster was $6 – yes, $6!!!  Can’t wait to go back….it was delish!  Not sure what it was grilled in, but it was super-duper yummy!!!  And their French Fries (Papas frito) were just enough different that I want those again!!!

Life is good in Costa Rica!

Pura Vida


Adio for now.


Stay tuned for when I get some pictures downloaded from Super Bowl Sunday – here’s a hint:  I felt like I was in Africa with my favorite animal!!!

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