Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for March 2012

We met Al and Clara the day we received our Cedula’s.  They were obtaining their permanent residency; we used the same attorney, Monika.  Imagine both our surprised looks when we realized they live a mile down the road from us!

Went there this morning for a most delicious breakfast.  Fresh squeezed juice from their orange tree; Johnsonville sausage, pancakes, and instead of syrup, she got up early and made fresh applesauce.  Warm, fresh applesauce on top of pancakes was so yummy!  Not sicky sweet like when you use syrup.  We’ll be doing that at our house sometime!

But, the real kicker was Irwin Mangoes for dessert.  I said I would try them, but so far, I’m just not a real mango lover.  She said “you will be after one taste of these.”  OMG!  Let me say that again, OMG!  They were so delish!  Almost had a peach flavor to them….and we will be going to the nursery and planting one of these trees in the yard!!!

Many thanks to Al and Clara for introducing us to a new way with pancakes; but most of all, for introducing us to the Irwin Mango.

When we arrived home, they had made great progress on putting the pavers down for the street! WOO HOO!  I don’t care how far they get as long as they get it done to at least our driveway!  Selfish, aren’t I? LOL  Since no one else is here down the road from us, we are the only ones that count!

Pura Vida for now….

Yesterday our guests, Abby and Gayla, left for their home in Tennessee.  I love going to the airport to get visitors but I sure don’t like going to the airport to say good-by!  That’s how the morning started.

But it ended on an up note because we went back to the airport and picked up Jonny and Warren from Phoenix.  They are renting a place here, actually not too far from our house, for 6 weeks.

We played “tour picker upper” and even took them to the grocery before depositing them at their lovely abode!  Old Bessie was loaded down with their luggage and groceries.  They are staying in a development called Hacienda Atenas. Can’t wait for Mark to see it in the daylight – it’s gorgeous!

I hope Jonny remembers I told her it was very hilly! LOL

Anyway, she spent a lot of time in Ghana at the end of last year to get a library open.  And, this is the best part, well, actually the selfish part….she brought me some of the greatest fabric from there!





Aren’t these colors gorgeous!  Oops, got one in there twice; click on the thumb nails to make them larger!

Wondering about attempting to use the last one to make a coverlet for our bed. What do you think?  I’m open to any and all suggestions for ideas on how to best use this fabric.  It’s so much prettier in person without a shaky camera blurring the colors! LOL


Hope Jonny and Warren are getting settled in their new digs.  Will check on them tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’re going to some friend’s for breakfast! We met them the day we received our Cedula’s and found out they live about a mile down the road from us.  Breakfast is my favorite meal…when someone else cooks.  However, I need to watch what I’m eating because Gayla insisted on buying oodles and oodles of things from the bakery!  She knew the layout of their products and didn’t hesitate to update me on it! LOL


Update on the road behind us:  We had been told it was going to be asphalt, then concrete, then pavers, then concrete. Today concrete pavers (all one color) were delivered.  We don’t care what’s put down, but we sure would like it to be pronto!  A word not in Costa Rica’s vocabulary.  The dirt blowing, etc. is just plain out of control with all the heavy equipment that is being used.  Actually, it’s just a backhoe driving back and forth….The curb and gutters are installed and cement was mixed by hand for this.  The “bedding” for the pavers has been delivered….come on guys, please, at least get to our driveway before you take the week off for Easter….pretty, pretty, please!!!



Abby declared today “was a fun day!”  Left this morning for Playa Dona Ana (I need Pat to fix the keyboard so I can put in tilda’s where they belong – and that might not be spelled right.)

Anyhoo, we left this morning to go to the beach and feed the monkeys; then stop to eat lunch, a little souvenir shopping, and down the road to “the crocodile bridge”.

Mark and Abby went down to the water and buried a dead frog!  Played a little at the edge of the water.  And of course, there were no monkeys in sight!  After awhile, Abby and Gayla went down to the water’s edge to look for some shells, etc.

Of course, while they were gone, and as more people arrived at the beach, the monkeys appeared.

Finally, Abby and Gayla returned.  I immediately took Abby to some of the trees where there were monkeys; we fed them pretzels and crackers.  Went to another picnic area and they gave Abby a piece of banana to feed the monkey.  It was a mama monkey with a baby on her back that came to get the banana!  She was so tickled!  First time I’ve seen a mama with the baby on the back come down the tree to get something to eat. (Please click on the pic, to see the monkey more clearly.)

Abby then wanted to give them some “jelly shooters”.  So she took a pretzel in one hand and the “candy” in the other.  The monkey didn’t want the pretzel and let her know it by trying to take the “candy” out of her hand; then Abby held it up, and the monkey took  it.  They are so gentle when they take “food” from you.

Lesson learned:  They prefer fruit – so we’ll be taking that from now on!

Then we headed to Art’s Deli for lunch; Mark had a pizza, I had a pizza that I shared with Abby and Gayla had Seabass.

After eating we walked to Mola’s a souvenir place and she picked up the cutest dress for Abby! Bright blue with Mola’s on the bodice. Very bright, like Costa Rica!

Headed to the crocodile bridge.  Lots of crocodiles sunning themselves and lots just laying in the water.  The river is so shallow there that the top of their bodies were out of the water, while the bottom was in the river.

Gayla and I walked back to the souvenir places and Mark took Abby back to the bridge; there a man had a bag “of chicken parts” and gave some to Abby to drop in the water to feed the crocodiles!  She was in 7th heaven.  When they came back to where we were, her first words to Gayla were: “I fed chicken guts to the crocodiles!”  I thought Gayla was going to have a heart attack!  You know, the “priceless” look on her face.

I gave her some of the waterless soap to wash her hands….Gayla kept telling Abby all the way home to keep her hands off her face.  At one point, I heard this little voice say “Granny, could you itch my eye because I can’t touch my face.”  It also might be a situation that you had to be there to think it was as hysterical as I thought it was!

She has made friends with the “gate guard’s” children and she and Mark have walked many times down to the house and the kids haven’t been home, much to her disappointment.  Saturday, three of the kids came to the house and they sat around the pool dangling their feet.  A 10 yr. old, 6 yr. old, and a darling little boy of 4 and Abby, 8.  Mark got them a ball and they started tossing the ball back and forth.

The ball was a big hit!  So big that one time when Abby went to pick it up out of the water, she lost her balance and fell in!  Yep, Abby fell in the pool!!! The other three kids just giggled and giggled!  (She’s reading this over my shoulder and said “I thought you already told about this.”  So if I did, chalk it up to I can’t remember!

Anyway, she and Mark eventually walked the kids back to their house and he said the three kids couldn’t wait to tell their mother, Maracita, that Abby fell in the pool!  He said there was more giggling and giggling!

It’s been a fun week of seeing, doing and shopping!

Pura Vida for now!



Abby, Gayla and I left the house about 8:45 a.m. and didn’t return until 7:00 p.m.! WHEW!  What a fun day we had.

Started out the day with going to ZooAve.  As soon as we entered two beautiful peacocks spread their tail feathers!  What a site!  Abby, 8 years old, was impressed.  Saw lots of animals….she was most impressed with fawn that was in an enclosure with a huge turtle and an iguana!  LOL, you know the animal she can see in Tennessee!

Saw lots of monkeys, emus, various sizes and kinds of turtles, crocodiles, you know lots of Central American animals.

Left the zoo about 11:30 a.m. and coming home we decided to take a detour to Grecia and Sarchi.

Had lunch in Grecia and then Gayla wanted to hit some fabric shops!  And hit them, she did!  As we would leave a shop, her words were, “we can come back, right?”  Went to 2 fabric shops and then back to the car and we were on our way to Sarchi.

Let’s just say, Abby made out like a bandit today!  She got some cute things, including a leather purse with a brightly colored parrot painted on it.  She’s so proud of it!

On the drive back to Grecia, we stopped at a little quilt shop!  Gayla got more fabric!  And wanted to know if we could go back there too, because she couldn’t make up her mind about a bag!

Started to rain a little, which actually felt good!

We drove “on the good road from La Garita to Grecia” so of course, coming home we came the narrow, twisty road over the horrible bridge because I thought they should experience it. LOL

Abby kept insisting we were lost!  Finally, I said “Abby, you might be lost, but I’m not!”

We went to a few shops in Atenas, again, Abby made out like a bandit….but I will say the shoes she got were so cute! If they had had them a little bigger, I would have gotten some too!!!  Tomorrow, I’ll get a picture of them and put it on Facebook!

Hit Atenas and I knew there was no way I was cooking dinner tonight after the day we had had; called Mark and asked him if he wanted to come in to town and eat with us.  Gayla felt like having some “good rice” so we went to La Troilla and had some “muy bueno” rice!

Adios for now……really tired!

Yep, going to bed and yes, it’s 7:35 p.m.

Needed to go into town to pick up a prescription for me, for Sedona, check the mailbox, pay Linea Vitale , gas up Ms. Smartie, and go to the grocery store;  was going to get a haircut but the place I was going to go to says they are open on Lunes (Monday) from 9-12 noon; however, after stalking the place 4 friggin’ times, the last time being 11:15 a.m., she was still not open!

Any-hoo, while I was at the grocery, the manager, who speaks very little English came to me with a Gringo following because he didn’t speak English and the Gringo didn’t speak Spanish.  The Gringo was looking for Charcoal…should have sent him to our friends, Pat and John, because John made charcoal because he couldn’t find any either! LOL

This was the manager that gave me the coffee bag.  He and Mark had many conversations! LOL

Guess I better start hot and heavy on learning Spanish….like one cab driver asked us if we spoke Spanish and we both said, “poco” (meaning not much, a little;  LOL); then he said do you know words, and we agreed we knew words; it’s putting those words into sentences; we are getting along and everyone is so helpful, but I really need to get started, seriously, get started; oh dear, company arriving tomorrow, so it will be on next week’s agenda.

It’s a really HOT one today!!!  And, shhhhhh, the wind isn’t blowing like a hurricane gale – LOL – at least right now it’s  not!

Pura Vida…..


Yesterday was a milestone for us!!!  We’ve received our Cedula’s and are now officially residents of Costa Rica!  Woo Hoo!

Monika, our residency attorney is the best! If you are considering applying for residency, do yourself a favor and save yourself a LOT of headaches, by hiring her.  We found her to be extremely reasonable in the “cost” department.

And once we arrived at the Immigration Office, we met two other couples from the Atenas area that she was representing. One couple, Darlene and Glen, were getting their residency’s, like us.  But Al and Clara were getting their permanent residency!  They’ve been here five years already and get this…..they live just down the road from us!  We’ll fast become friends….they are dog people too!

Costa Rica is a “dog lovers” country – they are everywhere!  And there are some beautiful chickens too!  Still debating whether to get a few for eggs or not… sure they would drive our dogs nuts to the point where they wouldn’t lay eggs!

Back to getting our Cedula….after all the paperwork was filed by our attorney we then went to another waiting area to have the dreaded picture taken.  Not a long wait at all!  Then we were informed to come back in an hour and we’d receive our Cedula’s.

We had received paperwork in our mailbox letting us know we would need to go to the main P.O. in San Jose to pick up our package.  Since we were in San Jose already, we decided to use that hour to do that.  The procedure to pick up a package is something else.  Talk about job security!  First you go to #1, and she inputs your info into her computer; then you sit and wait till your name is called; #2 is where they bring out the package and say “can I open it” – everyone agrees, sort of a moot question.  #2 opens the package and says “oh 2 books and sheets” in English!  Then tapes the package up and you go sit and wait for #3.  #3 is paying the “tax” which amounted to a grand total of $2!  Then you sit and wait again till #4 calls your name to come pick up the package.  I was called after much waiting and then a lady proceeded to rattle of something in Spanish so quickly that even if I could have understood it, I wouldn’t have!  So she proceeded to speak slower, which of course, didn’t help.  So she yells for a guy that speaks English to come to the front counter; please keep in mind that sauntering to the counter is “fast” in their department! LOL  Anyway, he comes to the counter and says “Pretty lady, how can I help you?”  I responded with “I have no clue what she’s trying to tell me!”  He had a good laugh over that and then said “just take this paper to security to get out”.  So off I went.  Got home and the sheets were for a Q bed and I ordered a K!

Traffic in San Jose is to put it mildly…..HORRIBLE, AWFUL, and any other negative adjective you can use!  Then factor in 2 motorcycle accidents, causing a delay…..of course we were back at Immigration at 3:05 p.m. – guess what, on Friday, or it could be every day of the week, I don’t know, they close at 3:00 p.m.  As we were going to the office and discovered the door locked, Security came and told us we’d have to come back on Monday. AAAWWWGGHGH!

Mark called Monika and explained what happened….she then asked to speak to the security guard; the next thing we know, he’s opening the locked door and asking a lady to bring out our Cedula cards!!!  Can you imagine a security guard in the U.S. doing that?!!!!  We were thrilled and then happily on our way back home. It was a very long, stressful day and we were both exhausted.

Derby and Sofi had spent the day getting “beautified” – so we picked them up; they were so happy to see us! LOL

Came home to having very little water AGAIN.  Third day in a row that by mid-to late afternoon we have a pathetic stream of water coming from the  tap or none.  For some reason, I think it has to do with the building they are doing in the development….but by morning, water is again flowing freely.  Maybe we need to think about having a well dug for us! Haven’t had this problem before.

The Canadians that live up the mountain behind us are starting to head back north.  They refer to themselves as “living upstairs”.  Pretty soon it will just be us, the guys doing the construction, and the guard at the gate.  A new family is moving in, this week-end, I think.  We’ve been picking them up since we arrived if they need a ride to town and we’re headed that way!  Feel like it’s old friends that will now be our neighbors!

Gayla and Abby arrive on Tuesday, I’m so excited!!!!  It will be a fun week….I have a sneaking suspicion that she will like it here!  Living here is not for everyone….however, we LOVE it.

Yes, there are some things I/we miss but you know, we can still get along without it.

NCAA basketball games are on…..toodles for now!





Today is the day I decided to go to the blood-letting.  Needed to go to CAJA for some of the tests.  Waited in a long line, that became longer (behind us) starting at about 6:30 a.m.   I’m happy to share the procedure with you…LOL

You make sure you are in the right wing for the laboratory; which of course, originally, we weren’t.  Saw a Security Guard, they are very plentiful in Costa Rica, and showed him the orders for the lab work and he was nice enough to take us where we needed to go; thus, began the wait.

Probably waited 20 minutes or so.  Was sort of fun to see all the newborn babies coming in – not sure if they were there for the babies or the baby’s  mammas!  After getting up to the front desk, things were a little iffy; we had a receipt that showed we’ve paid for 3 months however, it wasn’t the correct receipt!  After the guy behind the front desk had to begrudgingly get up and get approval with our receipt, things then went smoothly.

You just sit in a chair till they call you into the lab – sort of assembly line style.  That accounted for 2 vials of blood.

Left there and then headed to the private laboratory for more blood work.  Two more vials taken there.

Used CAJA because I didn’t have to pay for a $200 blood test; and went to the private lab where I’ve been having my thyroid tests run.  Afterall, we are now “on a limited income”.

I despise that phrase! LOL “On a limited income”…..we’ve always been on a limited income – which means to me, living within your means. You have so much money, which IMHO, is a “limited income”.  However, now, it’s a lot less than it was. LOL

After all the blood letting, we headed to Kay’s for breakfast!  Yummy food!

Haven’t done much the rest of the day.

Mark is out trying to track someone down because all of a sudden, we have no water.  And, YES, the bill was paid! LOL Hmmm, could mean dinner out tonight!

Need to get a good night’s rest tonight because the beginning of the NCAA tourney starts tomorrow – at least of the teams I’m interested in.  Only have 5 games to watch tomorrow…..yes, folks, it’s bleacher butt season!  I love the March Madness and am thrilled that we can watch the games down here.

Another gorgeous day on the mountain side….

Pura Vida!


Mark got a text from Monika this morning stating that we will be going to San Jose  on Friday to get our Cedula card, which means we’re residents!  Woo Hoo!!!    Been a long wait it seems!  So we’ll be getting “wanted” pictures taken on Friday….the pictures they take here for legal stuff are the pictures that you see in the U.S. Post Offices of wanted people!

You cannot wear your glasses!  Those that wear glasses, please go to a mirror and remove them; funky picture, huh?  You also have to remove all jewelry, ie: earrings…..and in my case, earrings are used to detract from the dark circles under my eyes!  I think y’all are getting the picture now.

Lots of improvements going on in our development.   The front gate is now closed, (we have remote openers)  – except for the construction trucks, etc. that are supposed to be using the other entrance.  Last we heard, pavers were going to be installed for the road.  To the right of our property, there will be 10 new casas or casitas built.  Further up the mountain, or as the Canadians call it “up stairs”, Swiss people have bought a large piece of the mountain and will be building 40 more casas along with their winery.  You know, sort of like a commune! LOL

These worker bees like to sing…and I don’t mind listening to them BUT I do take offense at starting at 6 – 6:30 a.m.!

I see a vet visit for Sofi today or tomorrow.   I think it’s allergy more than anything.

Getting ready for Gayla and Abby to come for a visit; talked to Gayla yesterday and she had told Abby that they were going to do lots of school work this week, so they could come next week.  Abby wasn’t too sure that was a good idea!  I asked to talk to Abby and I said….I’m excited you are coming next week; her response was “I can’t come if I don’t get my school work done!”  I just replied that she needed to get that done so she could come….then the tears came and she promised me she would try really hard to get her work all done.

Lobster dinner last night….so yummy!

Weather has been unbelievable with really high gusts of wind….you guessed it, lots of dust and dirt blowing – in the house!  Our housekeeper, Mark, (yes, Mark, the hubby), thinks that maybe we should hire someone to come once in awhile. LOL  My theory is a housekeeper is not going to keep out blowing dirt and dust!  We’ve been told that it’s unusual for these “December” winds to still be blowing!  Guess we chose an unusual year to make the move here with the record setting rain in October!  We don’t drive Ms. Smartie to the San Jose area with these winds….we could end up in Kansas!

Need to get something done this morning so Adios for now….

Pura Vida!



Mark has returned from paying the water bill; I should say, trying to pay the water bill.  We don’t have the bill.  Originally, it was going to a Canadian and he was paying it; however, he would bring the bill to us and we would pay it.  He’s in town at Vargas, the hardware store.  They wouldn’t let Mark pay the bill without the bill…it would seem to me they would have had something to compare the bill with and would know what we owe.

So he started naming guys that live up the mountain from us…..he said, a bunch of Spanish words and ended with “Nancy”.  He said it a couple of times and Mark finally said “me esposa” – so he came home and said “well, they have no idea who I am but they certainly know you!”

Ah, just another adventure in the land of paradise!

Pura Vida!

Today was day #5 and the day I was to go back to the Clinica and get my CAJA card.  After waiting probably 20 minutes or so, we were at “the window”…..yep, I got my CAJA CARD!!!!  So excited….because this means there’s only one more step to getting our residency.  Just waiting on our attorney, Monika, to send us an email telling us when and where to be!

CAJA just means we’re on the health care system here; sort of like “medicare” for lack of a better description; however, it’s $49 a month for both of us; covers Drs. and medication.  We’re sticking with a private Dr. for now because it’s easier to get in to see her; however, she can write prescriptions for us and we take it to CAJA and they fill it at no charge.  (Providing they have it)

Mark used it the first day to fill a prescription that we had just been purchasing at a drug store (farmacia).  Interesting because at the farmacia, they filled it with a generic; at CAJA, it was filled with the brand name drug.

At any rate, we’re both pretty happy to be this far in our residency!

Then we headed to the Lighthouse Animal Rescue…..Bruce and Frances’.  Some neighborhood kids brought her a baby owl they had found laying on the ground; we’ve had some pretty good winds so maybe it was blown out of a nest.  She has a HUGE, and I mean HUGE, bird cage she’s keeping it in for now.  Owls do not drink water; they get their liquid from what they eat.  Right now, Doc, named by Frances, is eating liver that she  feeds with tweezers. Very small pieces of liver.  She sort of waves it below the owl, in hopes he thinks it’s a moving bug, etc.; then, she proceeds to move it to the beak of Doc.  Doc opens his beak and down the hatch it goes.  If she touches him, he clacks his beaks together making a noise.  He’s still really fuzzy so I’m guessing he’s not too old.

She said the kids that found it had visited there earlier this morning.  They were calling it Boo.  She is going to take it to ZooAve for them to rehabilitate it to be released in the wild.  ZooAve is a great Zoo to visit!!!

On the fifth of the month, we pay our water bill; Mark has walked up the hill to the Salon next to the Church in Guacimo to pay it. You are supposed  to be there at 3 p.m. to do this.  Can’t wait to hear his tale of how it went.

In 2 weeks I’ll have been here 9 months….the time has flown by – well, except for the major rain in October, that was a month I hope we don’t repeat.  But by the same token, we haven’t had rain on our side of the mountain since the end of December.  Things are getting brown….guess that’s why they refer to this as summer.

Pura Vida…..

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