Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

We spent our first Christmas in Costa Rica in 2011.  Going to the festivities in Atenas was a fun time for us.  Loved the Christmas parade and told Mark that maybe we should go in the business of selling drum sticks!

What really surprised me was everyone was bundled up.  Coats, jackets, scarfs, hats, and I thought the little babies were really over bundled!  There we were the Gringos with short sleeves and shorts on!  Thinking these people are crazy, it’s not even chilly.

Well, things have changed!  This year, I had on a denim jacket!  Guess my blood has thinned or something has happened.  Mark was fine.  But again, people were bundled in jackets, scarves, hats, etc.

I think I’ve become a Tica!

Felez Navidad to all.

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Yesterday, a friend, Jean Marie and I decided to go shopping and take a break from knitting.  I have finally found someone down here that loves Christmas and all the decor like I do.  So we decided this would be a “check out Christmas stuff shopping trip.”

Universal, which is a large department store in Alajuela, moved into the new City Mall, the largest mall in Costa Rica.  We decided to check out the old Universal because everything Navidad was discounted!  We had a ball.  Most things were 50% off and some were 30% off.  She shops like I do, check everything out and then make a decision!  By the time we were finished shopping there, it was noonish.

So we headed to  City Mall, with plans to hit every store with lots of Christmas decor.  Checked out the Universal store there, prices at the old store were much better.

Then we headed to Aliss; beautiful things there and we oohed and aahed!  By then we decided it was time to eat.  So we headed to Subway.  Finished eating and then we headed to Oxygen, we love their clothes and prices.  Tried on a few dresses but nothing hit me just right!  Then we headed to Cemaco, a department type store that doesn’t carry clothing.

O.M.G.  They have 4 different villages set up under glass in the front of the store!  I loved everyone of them.  One was like an amusement park with rides that we both used to ride at county fairs.  One was a village and I fell in love with the Pet Store and Shoe Cobbler store that was actually shaped like a shoe. The whole set up was beautiful!  Then there was a snow scene, and another scene with Santa flying around with the reindeer; ice skaters skating; let’s just say, we were both in “Christmas Heaven”.

Left there and decided to sit down and get our purchases arranged to head to the car.

I think my heart skipped a beat!  My phone was missing.  So Jean Marie stayed there trying to call it, and I tried to retrace my steps.  Maybe it fell out of my pocket in the rest room.  As I was headed down that hall I saw a female security person.  So in my best Spanglish, I tried to explain what happened.  She patted me on the back and said she would call her Jefe (boss).  So we stood there waiting for the Jefe of Security to show up.  They arrived shortly.  Kept asking me to describe it.  Kept saying is was “pink, cover was like a book with a giraffe on the front and a giraffe on the back.  Every time I said giraffe in Spanish, they smirked….I’m guessing they figured an old lady shouldn’t have a phone with a giraffe cover!  Then a guy came by and said do you need help?  So I said yes, that if I went home having lost my phone, I would probably be beheaded!  So he asked me the same questions that the security officers asked me.  The whole time the female security person was patting me on the back.

All of a sudden, one of the security guards pulled my phone out of his shirt pocket.  I got really excited and gave him a big hug (am sure he thought another loca gringa); so then he wanted some ID.  So I said we had to go where my amiga was sitting.  I pulled out my Cedula (national ID card) and he turned on my phone, laid it on the settee and took a picture.  Then gave it to me with a big grin.  I again hugged him and the female security person.  Keep in mine we’ve walked a five story mall and this was probably a 2 hour deal!

Took Jean Marie home; and since the story had a happy ending, I did end up telling Mark.  Who just stood there shaking his head! I found out he had turned on “Find My iPhone” since I had my iPad with me, I could have located it via the GPS.

Then off to Don YaYo’s for Huesos (Bones) Night with Mike and Karen Elder.  They kept us up way past bedtime! Huesos are the pork bones with hunks of meat still attached. Mike and Mark enjoy them from time to time. I had chifrio and Karen had fish and chips!

Early this morning, I’m guess it was early, Jean Marie called and woke me up and said I left my knitting in your car.  I said “no, you stuck it in one of your bags”.  She said OK, I’ll check.  Then I pleasantly went back to sleep and didn’t wake up till 11 a.m.

But I keep thinking about all the gorgeous Christmas things we saw, and the phone story ended up OK, so it was a great day!

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In Costa Rica, most Ticos (at least in Guacimo, where we live) celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.  This year we expanded it a little and invited Maricela’s Mother, boyfriend, and sister, Lola. We’ve always invited Lola’s boys, Gabriel and Moises.  Maricela, Dimas, Dylana and Nazareth were here too.  It was a rancho full of people.

They arrived Christmas Eve morning and everyone was in a happy, jolly mood.  Especially the boys when they saw the gifts under the tree.  I asked them if they wanted to eat first or open presents….to my surprise, they wanted to eat first!

And did they ever eat!!!! LOL  Nana, Maricela’s mother thought the coffee was so delicious!

After lots of laughing and talking, some in Spanish, some in English and some in Spanglish, it was time to move into the house to open presents.

Nazareth wanted to be Santa!  And a dramatic Santa she was!!!!  I told them this year they were going to open one gift at a time so we could see what everyone gets!  I tried to get pictures of them with their gifts and I’ll be darned if “Santa” didn’t photo bomb almost every picture!

Nazareth, would go “do, do, do do……Gabriel” – and then Gabriel would come up and get his gift and we’re all clapping and yelling Gabriel.  It did get loud but isn’t that what Christmas is about.  It was so fun to watch the boys open their gifts!  Moises will start kindergarten this year, so he even got a new backpack for school; (I’ve always gotten them new backpacks.)

Nana was so pleased with scarf and immediately tried it on!  I thought Lola was going to cry when she opened up her necklace and ear rings!  It really tugs at your heart so see how excited they are.

I’ve gotten so I take the girls to the mall and let them pick out some clothes; better they get what they like, then something I would pick out!  They look forward to this every year!  But, they have to act excited when they open what they pick out….that’s the rule, as if they’ve never seen it before!

The girls both wanted calendar books this year.  I told them every day they had to write “I love Nancy” and that I was going to check on them once in awhile.

After the gifts were opened, it’s quite funny to watch the kids pack up their things to go home.  They cram as much as they can in their new backpacks; and head home wearing them.

I was exhausted when they left!  But it was a good, happy exhaustion!!!

They truly are our Tico family; Nana, always refers to me as the kids’ abuelita (grandmother), but she really is!  The girls are old enough to know that I’m their Gringo Abuelita!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy 2016; I would hope their would be Peace on Earth, but I don’t think that’s going to happen!  But there’s always hope!

Pura Vida!

 

PS:  Mark is known for wearing his shirts inside out – well, he did Christmas Eve too!

 

Our 12 year old neighbor, Dylana, wanted only “ropa” (clothes) for Christmas.  Knowing how difficult it was to shop for our daughters back in the old country, I decided that she and I would go shopping together.  We would make an adventure of it!  She was excited when I asked if that would be OK, but she had to act surprised and pretend like she hadn’t seen any of the clothes when she opened the packages!  She readily agreed.

Today was the day that finally fit for both of our schedules to do the shopping.  She decided she would like to shop at Aliss, a department store down the way from Multi Plaza (in Escazu) or it’s also called “the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica”.  Keep in mind, this is a store she’s never been to but has heard me talk about it! LOL

Originally, just Dylana and I were going but Maricela (her mother) and Nazareth (her sister) decided they wanted to go too.  Again, neither had been there before!  I made sure that Maricela and Nazareth were aware that this day was for Dylana and they weren’t getting anything…..

I had been warned from various friends that the traffic is horrible, etc.; I found just the opposite!  In fact, I’ve been in worse traffic in that area when it wasn’t holiday time.  We arrived at Aliss about 10 a.m., so maybe that’s a little of the reason there wasn’t much traffic yet…and I noticed when driving past Multi Plaza there were still parking places available.

We walked in the store and I wish everyone could have seen the grin on Dylana’s face!  Maricela and Nazareth’s faces too for that matter.  I kept telling Dylana, venga….(come) to get her to the department where clothes were.  Keep in mind, she couldn’t quit smiling!  She picked out a few tops and pants; altho’, she had no clue what I meant about trying the clothes on to make sure they would fit.  I could tell that they shop by just holding up clothes to themselves. If only I could shop like that! LOL

All clothing was 20% off today – including the new summer clothing they were just putting out.  And 50% off Christmas things….

Maricela did buy Nazareth a pair of flip flops.

We were back in Atenas by 12:30 p.m.

Not sure if it’s wise of me to introduce them to stores like this but Maricela noted on the way home that the prices at Aliss didn’t seem to be too high.

All in all, it was a great morning, Dylana was still grinning when she got out of the car.  How fun it must have been for  her to go into a store that had a great quantity of things to choose from.

Made me happy that I did this….I know she enjoyed shopping and picking out fun stuff.

Pura Vida! and Feliz Navidad!

While I absolutely love the hub bub of the holiday season approaching,  this time of year really drains me, mentally, physically and emotionally.

In our 45 years of marriage, we’ve never lived any where near relatives….however, we’ve lived in 5 different states and have many friends still in those old haunts. And with Facebook, it’s a real treat to re-connect with old friends.  Our family is scattered all over the US and it’s virtually impossible to do the family Christmases we had when the girls were little.

The worst part for me is the shopping.  I like to do handcrafts and it’s just impossible to find fabric and all the notions, etc. in a one stop shop!  Usually, I just get frustrated and head home – ticked that I can not get the things I want/need.  Am slowly getting over that, tho’….or else the Pura Vida is slowly creeping in.  Or I suck it up and pay the international shipping and then by the time my order makes its way to Costa Rica, I’ve forgotten what I wanted the things for.

Stopped at Payless Shoes yesterday because a friend was going to buy shoes for their “angel” from the angel tree; a pair of tennis shoes for a child was $26!!!  It makes me sad, because the Costa Rican people we know and are friends with, can’t pay that for one child, let alone their family of 2, 3, or more children.  I honestly don’t know how they do it – but they are so happy!

Am slowly getting used to the grocery shopping – still not quite sure what I’m getting in the meat department because “cuts” of meat here sure look different to me than they did in the Kroger meat department.

With Christmas approaching and it being the giving time of year, it would certainly be wonderful if every charity could spread out their “please give to me at this time of year”…..either that, or I need to learn to put aside a certain amount of money each month for the month of December.  Probably will end up being the latter of that previous statement.

Our neighbor girls are excited about Navidad approaching.  They come and go pretty much at will at our house – so I’ve really frustrated them! LOL   Have started wrapping Christmas gifts so they have no clue who they are for!  Mark said he caught Nazareth peeking in the window of the second bedroom looking at the wrapped gifts.  This is the fun part for me.  We’ve sort of adopted the two girls, Nazareth and Dylana, and their two cousins up the street from us.

Dylana will be graduating from 6th grade in mid-December.  She wants clothes for Christmas….so I will take her shopping with the stipulation that she has to act surprised when she opens her gifts!  Did that last year when I bought them shoes because I wanted them to pick out the shoes they wanted – and their expressions didn’t disappoint.  As usual, Mark has no clue what’s in the packages, so he was the most surprised!

Maricela, the girls’ mother, has been asking me for two weeks, about the arbol de Navidad…she’s quite excited about the trees, yes, trees, going up soon.  Last year was the first year the girls “had” a Christmas tree, even if it was at our house.  They spent hours helping me decorate the trees. (One inside and one on the rancho.)  And are eager to do it again this year.

Since a lot and I mean A LOT of people already have their homes decorated, I guess I’ll give in and get started with the tree decorating.  According to Mark, he needs at least a 10 day notice to get all the bins, and boxes down for this endeavor! LOL

I was going to try and wait till after Thanksgiving, but think I’ll just jump on the bandwagon and go for it!  Everyone will be happy! LOL  And that’s what it’s all about, keeping everyone happy.

One thing that is really super wonderful here, is that all ex-pats take on “being your family”.  We have so many wonderful friends here from all over.  Disney is right, it is a small world!

Pura Vida for now as I give Mark his marching orders to get the Christmas decor down.

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention that the girls and I made the 350 name tags for the Angel Tree Angels Christmas party!  They love helping me do things like that!!!

 

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Am frantically trying to get some things done in order to have a booth in the park on October 13th or at Nana’s Place.  So far this is what I’ve gotten done this morning…..hoping to have some variety; Halloween, Christmas, etc.

So, if things don’t sell, and your a friend of mine that I give gifts to, (LOL), get your choice in of what you want!

Pura Vida!

Our second New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica!  Can hardly believe we’ve been living here for over a year and a half!  And lots and lots of things have happened in that year and a half.

We really do enjoy it here; what’s not too like – while my friends in FL, yes, FL, and KY are freezing, we have the windows and doors open with a balmy breeze blowing through the house; yesterday was a “bad” day with the December winds – we’ve got more dirt, leaves, etc. than ever – IN THE HOUSE! LOL  Sure hope Maricela shows up today to clean.

In early December, I saw the dermatologist.  He “froze” 26 spots on my face and upper chest.  I’m telling myself that for a week or so I looked like I was covered with beauty marks, ie: Marilyn Monroe style.  Hey! It’s my mind and I can tell myself whatever I want.

Back in the old country when something was removed by a medical professional, we had the understanding that things would be removed by pounds; 1 lb. minimum; preferably by 2 lbs. at a time.  I’m sad to report that these 26 beauty marks only  removed .1 pounds.  I see him again in February and we’ll be having a discussion regarding this.

Lots of resolutions for the upcoming New Year.

1. I am truly giving up Pepsi!  This will be difficult but I know I can do it….the past couple of months I could go without it for a week or so; and then I’d cave in a buy Pepsi.  It’s a big acid reflux cause for me!  Altho’ I’m happy to admit that my 1820 coffee doesn’t cause any reflux problems; am afraid to try any other coffee because I’m happy with 1820.

2.  I will definitely get a least one Christmas present made or purchased a month for Christmas 2013!  None of this stress and panic like I felt this year.  And I still haven’t completed my shipping or purchasing for Christmas 2012!  Hmmm, maybe I could just ship stuff now and say “Merry Early Christmas 2013” – keep this till December and put it under your tree.  Just a thought…

3. Get my sewing room organized!  Maricela is a good organizer so I think when the girls go back to school, she and I will get in there and tackle this.

4. I’m going to keep count of the people that I give rides to into town; that’s just part of my “Pay it forward”.

5. We will go visit some sites in Costa Rica – need to find someone to come to the house and stay with the dogs; it will be easier on them and us! LOL

6.  Work on my Spanish…I know the words, I just can’t get them into sentences!  Anyone that has young kids in their lives, have them learn Spanish!  It’s so much easier when you’re younger than at our age!

That’s enough for now….but I might add some other resolutions later.

Took a break and fixed Maricela and the girls some breakfast. Dylana, Nazareth and I are headed into town in a few minutes.  They are so good when I take them to town!  Don’t beg or whine for a thing!

Adios for now and Feliz Anos Nuevo!

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We  stopped at Coope and they saw a “stuffed” Santa so I snapped a picture of them!

Mark made a quick trip to the old country a week ago on Saturday and returned on Wednesday. Daughter’s father-in-law was in the hospital; I had the Costa Rican crud and there was no way I could fly with a stuffed up head and chest – (in fact, I’m still coughing!) Happy to report he’s doing well!!!

Mark returned on Weds. around noonish; we were at Dumas’ school graduation at 3 p.m.; I had a dermatology appt. at 4:45 p.m. and then we were at Maricela’s for chichirrones to celebrate the graduation!  Yep, one friggin’ busy day!

Then on Thursday, was our second annual 12 Days Before Christmas Party.  Lesson learned, make more Sangria, lots more Sangria! LOL  Lots of good snacks but as with any party, it’s the friends that make it.

Spanish class on Friday morning….can you say, Spanish wasn’t really on my mind. Georgia wasn’t either! LOL

Sunday, Lee and I ventured to Cemaco – all I’m looking for is a pastry blender; I’ve seen one down here but I can’t remember where!  Nothing irritates me more than to need something and not be able to find it! Sheesh!!! And I’m still looking….

Today Maricela came to clean and it had already been set up that Dylana and Nazareth and I would go Christmas shopping in town.  Because the girls are girls (LOL) and we’ve raised 2 girls, it’s evident that they know exactly what they want; so off we went in search of a Christmas gift for them.

I have NEVER EVER shopped with such patient girls in my life!  Nazareth thought she wanted a toy – we went to three or four stores and she looked and looked; Dylana knew she wanted shoes; all of a sudden Nazareth decide she wanted shoes too.  Of course, she wanted heels (she’s 7, and there’s no way I was going to buy her heels because I know she’d break a leg, ankle, etc.)  She picked out some cute flats; Dylana picked out a pair of tennis shoes….and the whole time I’m reminding them – they cannot tell their mother! LOL  They even picked out a pair for Maricela!

Heading back to the car I asked them if they wanted to buy their mother a gift; their eyes got real big and then grinned and nodded yes!  They were so excited!!!

We went to Antanos for lunch; such well behaved girls!!!

All the way home they kept saying how they had to come to my house to wrap their mother’s gift!

It’s funny because I think they visit our house daily to see if there are more gifts under the tree!

Pura Vida for now…..it’s such a fun time of the year with kids!!!

 

Maricela and Nazareth visited last evening. She’s headed to the Clinica today and will clean tomorrow.  I had just popped some corn, the old fashioned way, you know, sort of like Smith and Barney!  Shared with them and even sent some home with Nazareth.  Dylana is at a football (soccer) tourney this week.

Apparently there was another earthquake here during the night….we slept thru it! AGAIN!  I guess it doesn’t faze our dogs because no one made a whimper.

Derby is going to get his mouth glued shut!  That’s the only way I can think of to keep him from barking!  6:10 a.m. he started in…..the construction guys sometimes egg him on, I think.  If he’s in his crate, he doesn’t bark…..guess, it’s sort of like time-out for a toddler!  At any rate, I’m very irritated with him!!! Should have sent him home with Velma! LOL

Still recovering from company being here….the older I get, the longer it takes to recover!   Used to be able to recover in a day or two, now it seems like it takes days!!! But, I really, really enjoy having company!  It was sad when they leave; but I do realize I have good friends all over the world!

Need to start thinking about Christmas…..

Maricela and the girls have Christmas lights out and have hung some ornaments on the large cactus in the front of their house.  We went down there Friday night for the “lighting of the lights!”  And they sang and danced to Jingle Bells! It was so darn cute!!!

The girls will be helping me decorate the trees in a couple of weeks.  Maricela said they’ve never had a Christmas tree!  I have some stockings that I’ll be putting their names on too…..I told Maricela she could not come to see our trees, yes, I put up two trees, about 6 feet apart; one inside and one outside!  She can come when we turn the lights on!

When I was in the old country, I bought two felt kits of ornaments so the girls can make some ornaments too!  It will be fun!!!  If we’re lucky, Mark will go into town and get us pizza!  We’ll play Christmas carols and decorate like mad fools!

Off to hang out some clothes!

Pura Vida!!!

 

Things were shut down in Costa Rica for Semana Santa; what to do?

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, we had brief showers.  On Facebook there was a post that Antano’s would be open on Thursday and Friday….the brain was churning….so late Wednesday afternoon I sent out an email that because of the rain on the three previous days, I had the “rain crabbies”.  Since Antano’s was going to be open, I suggested we all meet there Thursday morning for brunch.

WOW!  We had 14 people show up!!!  I’m sure the wait staff was overwhelmed, LOL.  It was a fun time for all and even if a few orders got mixed up, so what…that’s life in Costa Rica…and where Pura Vida comes in.

Thank you Antano’s for being open and accommodating us!

Frances had asked me to go to an over-60’s group meeting of women.  They are trying to set up day trips once a month to go, do and see various things.  We’ll be taking public transportation on most journeys.  When women get together they eat; if it were men getting together, it would be beer! LOL

The first one is to go to Orotina to shop, and of course eat!

I’m really excited about the trip in May to the British Embassy. We’ll be going on May 24th and take part in the birthday celebration for Queen Victoria (yes, I know now it’s Elizabeth); anyone in blog land ever done anything like this?

Yesterday, while cleaning (attempting) the pool, I noticed two dragonflies; let’s just say they were having a good time and probably should have gotten a room! LOL

Sofi will be visiting the vet this week – breaking out on her stomach; I kind of think it’s from heat/sweating?  At least I hope it’s nothing major.  She spends her days lying under the car and guarding our property.  Seriously!  She let’s us know if someone is around and since they are putting in the road that runs behind our house, there are always “strangers” around!  This gets Derby barking and then Sedona….I wish they were all in tune and could harmonize!

This morning I finally sat down at the sewing machine and have completed another Christmas present. No, Amy, it’s not for you! LOL  I was trying to do a gift a month, I’m up to February! LOL

I become easily frustrated in the “sewing/craft” department here in Costa Rica.  It’s difficult to find notions and patterns, well, they don’t use patterns here.  Yes, I can order stuff on line but sometimes the shipping is just too outrageous.  Big sigh, so I’ll keep on trudging around looking for stuff.

Happy Easter to all and Pura Vida!

Adios, for now.


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