Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for July 2012

I absolutely cannot believe I am 65 today!  I remember thinking people that were 65 were really old!  How things change!

Yesterday our housekeeper reminded me that today was my birthday, LOL.  I kept saying “anciano”, “anciano” – she assured me in Costa Rica you are NEVER considered old till mid-80’s and into the 90’s – it’s common for people here to live into their 100’s!  Guess no stress living does that to you!

I keep reading how to keep old age at bay; one thing that seemed to be prevalent was “keep your mind active”.  Anyone that knows me, knows I have a vivid imagination – not sure if that’s what “they” mean.  However, I keep seeing that one needs to keep your brain active to hopefully keep Alzheimers away – and since that’s very prevalent in my family, I’m taking steps to do that.

One way was to learn a new language!  I’m telling you right now, it ain’t easy at this age!  But I will do it, I WILL DO IT! Parents of today – make sure your children learn another language – it’s so much easier when you are young!  I do confess that playing Words with Friends does make me think!  And I have been known to put in Spanish words, which it promptly rejects!  But I’m proud that at least a part of my brain is thinking in Spanish.

One thing I do need to do is walk on a more regular basis.  When I wake up at “O-dark thirty”, I should throw on clothes and head out to walk – instead of lying in bed, reading email, playing words with friends, etc.  Or I could walk in the evening….but for sure, not during the heat of the day!

I am still knitting, and am attempting to remember how to crochet; sewing, etc.  Some of these things are difficult to do here because supplies are not as readily available here as in the states.  And I’m finding very few websites are willing to ship to Costa Rica.  However, those that do, I’m keeping their mail rooms busy!

No big plans to celebrate….being without dependable transportation puts a damper on everything!  For now, we’re just looking on the internet for possible “new” cars – “new” is a very loose term!  Our days of driving new cars are over because they are not feasible to purchase here.  In hindsight, we sort of wish we had bought a car in the states and had it shipped with our other belongings.  Yes, we shipped Ms. Smartie, but she has found a new home; she just wasn’t conducive  for our road.  Had we chosen to live in town, I’m sure we would still be driving her.  So I’m telling people that read my blog and are potentially looking at Costa Rica to live, think about bringing a car from the states where you will know the history of it, etc.  Here you’re at everyone’s mercy – one person says one thing, another says another, etc.  – you fall into the category, who in the heck do I believe?  According to Mark, everything will be fine, it just takes time….

Back to being 65…..wonder how my Aunt Barbara feels knowing I’m 65?  I’m sure she can’t believe it either! LOL

Anyhoo, turning 65 sure beats the alternative!  A lot of people don’t make it to this “old age” – so I’ll embrace it and carry on!!!!

Ah, I now can take the bus in Costa Rica without having to pay!  Hey, that’s a bright side. But the fee is so nominal, I’ll probably keep paying! LOL

Pura Vida – and muchas gracias for all the birthday wishes!!!






We’ve had Ms. Smartie for sale for about a month; lots of inquiries – one guy wanted to trade us a fairly new 4- wheeler for her!  I think not!

I love/loved Ms. Smartie – had lots of fun going places in her – till Old Bessie started to act up and has been with mechanics for the last 18 days!  Thus, we realized that having Ms. Smartie as our only means of transportation for about 3 weeks, well, let’s say, she’s not conducive to the road we live on!  If we were in town on paved streets, even those with potholes, we most likely would have kept her.

Last week-end Mark received an email from a guy in San Jose inquiring about her.  To make a long story short, we ended up driving her to San Jose for the guy to look at it.

Imagine our surprise when we drove to the parking lot where we were to meet Jose, an attorney, and there was a white Smart parked there and yep, it was a convertible too!  He had one and wanted to surprise his wife with her own because she wanted to drive his all the time!  He imported his from Miami.  It did make me feel a tad better that she went to a home where they already had one! LOL  I hope his wife knows how lucky she is!!!  Mark asked Jose if his wife would like the color red – he assured him, she would love it!!!

In talking with Jose, he flies helicopters, airplanes, has multiple homes and vehicles!  He bought a helicopter in Phoenix and flew it to Costa Rica!

Anyway, the deal was sealed on Thursday, yesterday and as of this posting, we are now carless!  Sure hope Old Bessie comes home today!

Now we start the process of looking for another car.  Mark hates car shopping!  I don’t mind it one bit!  I can be shrewd if I need to…just ask beach vendors! LOL

Wonder if I had a friend go car shopping with me  what a dealer would think when 2 women walked in to have a look-see!?  LOL  Probably, thinks, yep, a sucker born every minute!

I was very sad to see Ms. Smartie go – many fun times in tooling around town with her – like in Bowling Green, KY, everyone here stops and looks, smiles really big and waves with a thumbs up sign!

Gosh, I really miss her!!!

I would end with Pura Vida – but today I just don’t feel Pura Vida!


Tom, Lee, Mark and I have ventured on the quest to learn Spanish. Yesterday was our first class.

William, from La Garita, who is a linguist teacher, is assisting us….

OH MY!   We have our work cut out for us!

But, there’s no pressure, he’s very patient, has a sense of humor and most of all, I felt like I have already learned something.

Yep, we’ve got homework – which is just practicing.  If you don’t try to use it, you cannot learn it! Yep, we’ll make mistakes, laugh about it, and carry on.

If anyone is interested in joining us, that would be great.  It’s $5/hr. – we meet for 2 hours weekly.

Tom and Lee have graciously offered to host it at their house.  William will be more than happy to meet with you to bring you up to “snuff” with our first class…..or if you’d like to just sit in on the class, to see how it works and how he works, you’re more than willing to do this too.  This is how we “found” him!

For the next 3 weeks, we’re meeting at 10 a.m. – noon.

Let me know if you’d like to join us or sit in on a class…..

Yep, we’re off and running with Spanish!


Pura Vida!

Yadixa, my favorite waitress at Antano’s, my favorite restaurant in Atenas, has been after me to take her a ride in Ms. Smartie.  Since Ms. Smartie’s days with us are numbered, yesterday was the day she and I took off on an adventure.

Off we went up into the mountains with the top down!  She loved it – especially when I turned on the seat warmers, which are not needed in the area we live in.  She giggled and giggled as the seat heated up.

We ventured to a little restaurant in the mountains called La Casita, which is “related” to Antano’s.  Ordered iced coffee drinks and gazed at this view.

I became enlightened on Costa Rica and education here.  It’s very good and I can tell you that the teacher’s don’t put up with the nonsense that’s in US schools with kids bratty behavior and I know you can’t touch me!

After leaving LaCasita, she wanted to show me the town that she’s from. Higher up into the mountains we went…and I can’t remember the name of the town. Shame on me….too much to absorb all at once.

She took me to a spot that you can see the Pacific Ocean, if only it had been a clearer day!!! I will go back there and get to see it…because of the haze, you could just spot the edge of land and the water blended into the clouds.

Starting down the hill, she inquired if it would be OK to stop and see her Mom.  And we did!

What a gorgeous little house and yard!  I was able to catch a butterfly feasting on one of the many butterfly bushes in the yard.


Then I saw the most gorgeous orchid bushes….so delicate and the most sweet fragance!


The next thing I know, Yadi’s Mom is coming out with a shovel and machete….I’m going to get a planting from this beautiful bush!

This bush had the “toughest” roots…..but eventually they got me a planting…..


And my “Yadi” orchid is now planted in my yard….thanks to Yadi, her mother, and Mark!  I wish you all could smell and see this delicate orchid.

It was a wonderful morning and I enjoyed it immensely!  Yadi, we’ll be doing another adventure soon!

A big thank you to all involved!!!

Pura Vida……




Yesterday was the 60+ ladies adventure.  This month we traveled to Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro in Sarchi – for most of you, this mean the Oxcart Factory.

Their machinery is operated by a water wheel and some of the machinery is dated to the early 1920’s. Yep, it’s the old fashioned way of creating their works of art – it’s amazing to see!

There is a wonderful gift shop – a very extensive gift shop from woodworks to clothing to leather handmade sandals, etc.

Behind the souvenir shop, they have many easels set up to give painting classes.  You paint a small wagon wheel….it’s fun   but it does bring back memories of the 80’s when I attempted to take tole painting and just couldn’t quite get the hang of it! Painting or art is in the eye of the beholder, right?

After the class, we took a trek to downtown Sarchi and ate in a wonderful little restaurant; I’m sure the owner was thrilled when all 10 of us were served and on our way!

From there we walked across the street to the park to view the world’s largest oxcart!


World’s Largest Oxcart, Sarchi

We all wondered how many oxen it took to move this from the factory to the park!  It’s HUGE!  And so vividly painted.  A must for everyone to see. (It’s on our tour when friends come to visit.)

After oohing and aahing, we headed back to the cars and then headed to another factory, the mattress factory.  Frances and I have been here many times – when the owner/manager of the factory (a female, I might add) comes over to hug you, you know your welcome! LOL  Anyway, Bruce had a bedspread made and it was ready to be picked up.  Besides mattresses there, of all densities and sizes, they make sheets (fitted and flat), curtains/draperies to match the bedspreads.  It’s fun to walk back into the factory part and see the machines in motion.  What I wouldn’t give to have a cutting table just 1/4 of the size they use! LOL

From there we were headed to the Feria in Grecia; it’s a lot bigger than the one in Atenas!  I love getting fresh brussel sprouts from there!  One vendor has any kind of lettuce you can imagine.

After wandering the Feria, we climbed into the cars and headed for home.  Everyone was thrilled with the exciting day we had.

We left Atenas at 9 a.m. sharp and we’re back by 4:30 p.m.  A full day for 60+ ladies! LOL

Wonder where our August adventure will take us?

Pura Vida!



Some people think these toucan tires are just plain tacky!  I don’t think so and obviously Terri doesn’t either! LOL  We went on an adventure to find the place where I got mine, and voila!  She had a bunch to choose from.  Not sure if she’s named it yet, but it’s hanging and has some gorgeous flowers in it!


I really enjoyed her being here and it’s taken me till today, Thursday (she left on Saturday), to accept she’s back in Bowling Green and no longer in Costa Rica!

Pura Vida to all!


The hubster forwarded the above link to me and I feel compelled to respond!

I get more knitting done during the NCAA Basketball Tourney and during the NBA playoffs.  Knitting while watching basketball is relaxing to me….it doesn’t mean I’m not watching and unaware of what is going on in the game!  And there’s no disrespect to those playing the game, no matter what the sport is!


Woman can multi-task a lot more than men can…..and if it’s disturbing the players, then they have a concentration problem!

And yes, I will be knitting away during the Olympics.

For heaven sakes, many baseball games now encourage Knit Nights!

If athletes are more involved in watching what is going on in the stands, they are in the wrong profession! Perhaps they would prefer to be in the stands knitting!

Just my 2 cents worth….

Pura Vida…..


Joni  got in touch with us on Saturday and wondered if we wanted to go to the 4th of July Party being held in Grecia, well, actually it was held in San Francisco de San Ysidro de Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica!  Yep, that’s where it was….

We drove to their place in Ms. Smartie because Old Bessie is still in the shop; meaning, Mike had to drive.  Left around 11 a.m.  Grecia is about 15 minutes from where they live.

Arrived in Grecia and realized we didn’t have, excuse me, Mike and Joni didn’t bring the paper that had the map on it to find where this place is.  Tried using the GPS and that was just one wrong turn after another, with lots of laughter – some people wouldn’t think this was funny…..we did!

Finally, we were able to get a phone signal and attempted to call the number for directions once we found a spot with cell service.  Living in Costa Rica is never dull! LOL

After numerous phone calls to the number that was on the website (from the Iphone), and the calls being dropped, etc., the man Joni and Mike were talking to wouldn’t answer the phone any more!  However, we did finally realize there were little tiny roadside signs, covered up by red, white and blue balloons! Which caused a lot of laughter.  We like Mike and Joni because they are just plain fun and LAUGH a lot!

We didn’t get there till 1:30 p.m. – and when we paid the entrance fee, Joni said “we left at 11 a.m. to get here.”  The guy taking our money responded “I hope you are kidding!”  Which of course, brought on another fit of laughter!

It was held at a very nice park- type setting with a pool, etc.

Ran into other people we knew from Atenas….sort of like old home week.

And there was shopping, not a lot, but a little.  I did pick up a few things which I cannot mention because they are Christmas gifts….no Amy, not for you!

After getting our bellies full, we decided to head back home.  That was uneventful!

We laughed a lot today; it was fun; and can’t wait for the  next great adventure with Mike and Joni!!!

A 4th of July party on July 8th reminded me of the first year we lived in Bowling Green and the 4th of July fireworks were held on June 30th!

Pura Vida

Terri arrived early (at oh-dark 30 a.m.) Saturday morning.  Have had a good time catching up!

She wanted a Tillie Toucan (toucan made out of a tire for plants) and we decided Monday would be a great day to venture in to Santa Ana and find the place where I purchased mine.

Turned at the wrong exit so we detoured  into Pequeno Mundo (CR’s answer to Big Lots).  Then off to find the “arty” area where I bought my Tillie.

Made the wrong turn and didn’t find it….however, I was not giving up!  Frances and I found it one day because we missed the ramp to get on the toll road.  So we headed back and took the earlier exit; and voila!  We found it!  Not only did they have toucans – but they had parrots and a quetzal.  She settled on a toucan and they wrapped the beak for traveling.  She’ll send me a picture of it after she gets home and gets it unwrapped.  Sure hope we can stuff it in her suitcase!

Then we headed to a Mexican Restaurant that John and Pat introduced to Mark and I.  After a good lunch, we both decided to head to the “bano” before departing for home….and it was a GOOD thing we did.

About half way home, I heard a funny noise that I wasn’t sure if it was coming from the car or the sound bouncing off the road barriers.  I asked Terri if she heard it and she did too.  So I changed lanes….the sound lessened; then I let up on the gas and the sound was gone.  At that time I looked at the temp gauge and realized it was climbing upward.

We were coming upon the La Garita exit and I decided we had better get off in case we had major car problems.  Coming down the exit ramp, I stepped on the brakes, and good ole Bessie died!  Right there on the spot.  I couldn’t get it started and didn’t want to grind it for fear I would do more damage.

There’s nothing like calling your husband to say, “I have car problems, what do you want me to do?”  So after explaining to him what happened, he said “I’ll come to where you are”.

So Terri and I sat with the emergency flashers on and people pulling up behind us and honking; then we would wave the “not so intelligent” drivers around us.  An ambulance went by and didn’t stop; the “help” van vehicle that runs up and down the toll road to help people drove by and didn’t stop.  People would pull up beside us, roll their window down and we were hoping they would offer to help, but they kept on going.  Finally a guy in a van pulled up and said “do you have car trouble? what are you going to do?”  I explained that my husband was coming. So off he drove.

Then my phone rang and it was Mark. He had stopped at Freddie’s, our mechanic, (if you live in Costa Rica and have a car, you best have a mechanic!).  Again he asked me what the car sounded like, etc.  Explained that after we stopped “white steam” was coming out the hood so I thought the radiator had run out of water. (We’ve had major radiator problems previously.)  He said he was bringing Freddie with him.

When they got there, Freddie didn’t think it was a “good” thing that had happened.  He thinks we need a new engine – however, we’re waiting on a phone call to see what the price is to replace parts vs. the $2,000 engine – in an old car and there’s no guarantee how old that engine will be or how many miles are on it.

Weds. is the day a guy is supposed to call and buy Ms. Smartie.  Nothing has happened to Ms. Smartie yet, but with our road in the condition it’s in, it’s just a matter of time before something happens to her.

Now we have to go through the decision process of whether to fix ole Bessie or try and sell it for parts and just get a different vehicle altogether!

Mark has headed into San Jose with Ms. Smartie to attend the US Embassy soiree he was invited to….and I was not!

Most days are good in Costa Rica, yesterday was good until Terri and I headed home!  Morale of the story – don’t go home! LOL

Pura Vida……

VOTE HERE! Bunco Women Gone Wild