Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for the ‘Tips’ 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.

We have a regular dentist that we’ve been using.  They claim they will call us every 6 months for a cleaning; however, I have noticed that the only time they seem to call us is during the season when they don’t have as many patients, such as rainy season.

Since we are paying for CAJA and they have a dentist there, I decided it was time to use what we are paying for!

Steffi was kind enough to allow me to borrow Ana Cecelia to go with me and show me the ins and outs of getting an appointment.

We arrived about 6:45 a.m., yes, a.m., to stand in line to get an appointment.  Appointments are given out starting at 7 a.m.  There may have been 10-12 people in front of us, but a lot more behind us.

I had our cedula’s, carnets, and receipt of payment for July.  When it was our turn, Ana Cecelia just handed her the carnets.  Never asked for current proof of payment or our Cedula’s.  So, just like that, we both have dental appointments for July 16th.  WOO HOO!!!

Before I left to meet Ana Cecelia, Mark had asked when I thought we’d get an appointment….I figured it would be great if it was August or September.  I realize our age got us earlier appointments.

Just a little side note:  I’ve never seen so many people walking around holding their jaw as if they were in pain.  Pretty sure extraction was in their future.

All in all, a huge thank you to Steffi for letting me borrow Ana Cecelia; was fairly easy to do; standing in line and waiting is just part of the Pura Vida life!

I have spent at least 30 hours, yes, 30 hours looking for a pair of Hi-Tec sandals on the internet to replace the ones that are worn out!  Apparently, no one, at any website that carries these type of sandals had a size 6 in stock.

Went to town this morning and look what I found in the shoe store across from Casa Blanca!  Made me such a happy camper….so I’m absolutely positive, these are the only size 6’s  in the world!  And I found them in little ole Costa Rica!!!  And they were the same color as the old ones were…..Is this a great country or what?  Pura Vida!newshoes

Since we’ve lived here, WOW, almost three years ago, we’ve been getting emails about going to Beach Day.  Finally, we went to one that was held at Pelicano Resort in Esterillos Este; an hour and a half to a two hour drive because of Saturday traffic.

It was unbelievable!!!  There were about 30 people that ventured there from San Ramon, Grecia and Atenas; and some people even brought their 4 legged friends!

beachI love that the beaches are tree lined because believe me, that sun is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

Mark and I  walked out to the water – it’s quite a ways because the tide was out. We were very happy we had on flip flops – the sand was unbelievably hot – as it came over the top of the flip flops, it burned your toes.

A lady from Canada decided to walk to the water with NOTHING on her feet.  As she got maybe 20 ft. from the shaded sand, she began to scream, it’s burning my feet, help me!  A friend threw her some flip flops as she was headed back to the shade and she ignored those. So she kept walking and screaming.

She kept screaming the skin is burning off my feet and was she ever right!!!  I’m wondering if maybe she had neuropathy and it took awhile for her to realize the sand was burning her feet.  She kept saying, “I’m from Canada and the sand doesn’t get that hot!”  She actually had black spots on the bottom of her feet.

The resort was bringing her bags of ice and cold water to hopefully help stop the pain….a worker there even picked an aloe plant, but she kept screaming, “it’s burning, it’s burning”.  Come to find out ice is the worst thing to use, just tap water or cool water.   The aloe didn’t even help her.

Finally the ambulance came, Cruz Roja, and they were going to take her to some clinic, not sure where.  There was also talk about taking her to the hospital in Grecia where she was either vacationing or living.  At any rate, her vacation, if it was a vacation is ruined….last I heard she was trying to find a wheel chair, poor lady.

Back to Beach Day…..they had a grill set up and cooked beach side or you could go to the restaurant and order lunch.

We had a great day – but you know after you’ve been to the beach, there’s just something that makes you exhausted!  I took a nap after we got home late afternoon!

I will also be shopping for beach chairs to take to the next one!!!

What’s really nice is there are people there if you want to talk, if you want to read everyone respects that… was just a nice day!!!

Can’t wait till the next one!

Pura Vida…..and remember, at least flip flops are needed when you’re walking at the beach!!!



For probably a couple of months now, I’ve been telling Mark that something is wrong with the A/C in the car…..and of course, this falls on deaf ears, because it’s just “me”.

Well a week ago, Mark had the oil changed in the car and while waiting he  was thumbing through the car manual….please keep in mind that our car manual is in Korean, NOT English or Spanish.

Since I don’t think he reads Korean, he must have come upon an illustration that indicated that there is a filter for the A/C….in the glove compartment.

He said it was packed with dirt….we live on a dirt road…doesn’t surprise me it was full because I was sure something was wrong with the A/C.

The first time I drove the car after getting the filter “blown” out, I could tell a significant difference in just backing the car out of the drive-way.

Those clever Koreans and their illustrations!

At any rate, it’s wonderful now….and I even don’t have to have the A/C on the highest setting…..

Pura Vida…..

Headed into town shortly after noon today to go to the Post Office and a few other places.

Stopped at the P.O. and voila!  I had a small package… exciting!  There were 4 males and one female in the P.O. laughing like crazy.  Two of the men were laughing so hard, their shoulders were shaking – you couldn’t help but giggle at them. I have no clue what they were laughing at; but, it was infectious!!!  Smiles were all over in the P.O. this afternoon.

Then I headed to Dra. Victoria’s to get my glasses adjusted. She was really busy!!!

Saw Julie and Norman next door at Dennis’ and Gerardo’s….said they had finally recovered from Bunky’s party on Monday.

Then on to Coope…as I was checking out, the checker grinned and acted like she was sniffing the air – you could hear raindrops on the roof; not enough to get anything wet, but they were raindrops.  She broke into a broad grin and explained that when she was pregnant, she loved smelling the rain because everything smelled fresh!  Yep, I understood what she was communicating!

When you go into town, everyone is happy!!!  I remember when Terri came with me to house hunt. We were sitting at Don Tadeo’s and watching people in the park.  She remarked “look everyone is happy, everyone is smiling, no one is walking hunched over” – Costa Rica, or at least Atenas is “home of the happy people.”

A Pura Vida day for sure!

About a month or so ago, my sewing/embroidery machine started acting up; not all the time, just every once in awhile; it seemed to be only when I was using a USB for embroidering.  Then this week,  the light bulb went off and I thought, why not try a design that came with the machine.  It didn’t work either.

So after much researching on the internet, we ( yep, had to get the husbter involved in finding this), found some machine repair shops that worked on Brother sewing machines; my machine is a Babylock Ellisimo, which is the same as the Brother Quattro.

Pat, one of our friends that is fluent in Spanish, made the call for us to see if they worked on my type of machine.  It was a yes and it will be diagnosed while you are there.

So today, we headed to Alajuela (there is one in San Jose, also) to check it out.

When we walked into this shop, we were both astounded at what we saw.  Seems like every machine imagineable was there!  From basic sewing machines to fancy embroidery machines with many needles, to sergers, etc.

We were promptly taken to a table to put the machine on so I could show “the Dr.” what the problem was.  I set up the machine, and started embroidering on it and you should have seen the crowd of people that work in there come to check out the “el grande maquina”…..I looked at Mark and said “perhaps I should give classes!”


This is a picture of the store front – the repair shop is also located there – and get this, there is a Singer repair shop that’s attached to the repair shop – so it’s a 3 – stop place!  And quite easy to locate also.

LaBobina2The “machine doctor” says it looks like you have a virus and it needs to go to the electronic dept. which he will take care of .

It was just unbelievable seeing all the machines they had available for sale.  There were all kinds of parts available in the display cases….Mark says he wishes auto mechanics carried such an inventory here!

At any rate, we both felt a sigh of relief when we walked in and I had no qualms about leaving it.  Now to wait for it to be repaired.  I will most likely be in the states when that happens, but call me Miss Pollyanna, I’m holding out for sooner, rather than later.

They had extra hoops for sale, all kinds of scissors, glue guns, glue sticks, thread, lots and lots of thread.

They also had 3 machines for sale called The Butterfly….from China, of course. However, the machines looked like old Singer machines and were even in wooden sewing machine cases/tables for around $300.  I made the comment that I’m almost tempted to buy one of those so I’m not without a sewing machine!  I should have taken a picture of his face and the look I got….it was one of those priceless moments!

Then we headed to Jalepenos – Normans in Alajuela for a great lunch.

Pura Vida for now – I’m a really happy camper having found La Bobina!

Thursday morning, yes, Thanksgiving morning, we received an email from our credit card fraud department!

Yep, someone tried to use our credit card to go to Berlin…..

And we now know of another person that the same thing has happened to….same issuer of the card: American Airlines credit card…..

I do think this happened when I traveled to the states….ho hum…..

Big, big sigh – yep, we’re very thankful for the Fraud Department!  Of course, it makes you leery of using it – and of course that card is no longer able to be used…..

So readers be aware!  Sort of scary knowing someone out there attempted to use our card!

Pura Vida!

“Sung to the tune of  “Back Home Again in Indiana”)

What a whirlwind I had in the old country!  My neck hurts from whiplash….going here and going there! BUT….I did not get all my shopping done, even after buying two more suitcases!

I had a WONDERFUL time and it was so fun to see all my friends!!!!  I ended up subbing on Weds. morning for a friend in bowling and had the best fun!!!  I do miss my my bowling, bowling friends, and all the fun we used to have!!!!  I hope they are having a bewitching Halloween bowling day today!!!

Thursday morning, I was so sore! LOL  Kept telling Terri that if my left side would have been that sore, I would be in the ER wondering if I was having a heart attack!  Soreness was gone by Friday, tho’.

The wedding Saturday was absolutely beautiful!!! And to think the bride made all the floral arrangements – bouquets, etc. I wish KateLynn and Neal and wonderful and fun-filled marriage!

Monday, Velma and I headed to Atlanta to start the trek back to Costa Rica.  Great time on the drive, stopping at Cracker Barrel restaurants and buying!  LOL Never did eat there.

Returned the car to the rental lot at the Atlanta Airport.  Then she and I had to drag the damn suitcases all over GA to get to where the hotel shuttles were.  Apparently, this airport does not believe in Skycaps!  We never did find one!!!  And other’s were complaining about it too.  And this airport also does not believe in hiring knowledgeable employees!  Had trouble finding Zone 3 and the only directions we could get were – “hmm, there’s Zone 2, it must be somewhere over there!”  Keep in mind, we are old ladies with too many suitcases to drag around! LOL  I felt like we might have been on Candid Camera!

Finally got to the hotel…..took about 5 hours to drive to Atlanta and almost 3 hours to get to the hotel from the friggin’ airport!

When we arrived, I told Velma if we were going to eat dinner, it had to be now, because I was going to take a shower and put the “jammies” on and wasn’t going out again! So we headed to the most pathetic restaurant in Atlanta! LOL  In the hotel!!!

Pretty much we both just picked at our meals and then headed back to the room.  Turned on the debate and I said, I’ve had enough of this…so it was lights out!

At 11:30 p.m. I asked her if she was still awake, and she was.  At 2:10 a.m., I asked her if she was awake, and she was….I said “let’s just get up and go to the airport”.  She said, “let’s “sleep” till 2:30 a.m.!”  LOL  So we got up, packed up and headed to the airport.  Actually, we were the only one’s on the shuttle!

Arrived at the airport and again “no skycaps” – the driver couldn’t believe it!  So he and his friend helped us get all luggage to the counter…we were first in line.  Glad they had left the scales “turned on”, because we did lots of shifting of luggage contents in order to be within the weight limit.  Glad we had that time to do it….

Getting on the last flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Jose, Costa Rica….was another nightmare!  While standing in the jet way to board the plane, I bent down to pick up my carry on suitcase, and the JERK in front of me swung around, hitting my frameless glasses and yep, you guessed it, broke them!  I was genuinely PISSED!  This is the second pair of glasses that have been broken on this trip….if you recall, I stepped on the transitional “lenses” glasses the first morning in the Old Country!

Arrived home and we were both exhausted! LOL

Saw Dra. Victoria and she “jury-rigged” my glasses to get me through a couple of days….will be heading into town shortly and take her the 1st broken pair and see if they can be fixed, I imagine I’ll need new frames!  Hope she has some in stock that will fit the lenses!  Then the wireless one’s will have to be sent to San Jose to be repaired.

All in all, my trip was great and I realize how many wonderful friends I have in the old country!  But I do admit, I sure love being home!


While watching a little TV last night, the house started shaking! Mark yells “earthquake”….and Velma screamed!!!  Joni has assured me that was her welcome to Velma! LOL  Just a little 6.6 earthquake.  Ah….Back Home Again in Costa Rica!

Pura Vida!

Isabelle decided to take a trip and asked Shirley and I to tag along….

Today’s adventure took us to Sarchi, to the Else Kientzler Jardin Botanico. WOW! WOW!

You get to wander through these gorgeous gardens at your own pace. There are places to sit if you need to rest, a picnic area, waterfalls, rivers, man-made “water” paths… was so pretty!

There was an orchid section, a cactus section (it still blows my mind that cactus grow here because of the rain), a Hibiscus section, an area of Heliconias, Bromeliads…you name it, they had it!

Was a super day to do this because it wasn’t unbearably hot.

A few pictures I took today…..

This is a maize (I guess Spanish is interfering with my English!)  maze  made out of hibiscus; was really pretty.

An area of any color of impatiens you can imagine….picture does NOT do it justice.

   A pretty butterfly….

Forgot the camera so these are pics from the iphone.  Also saw one of the most gorgeous neon blue butterflies, but I can’t remember the name of it! LOL

Had lunch at a Soda in Sarchi across from the park….Rincon Sarchiceno….very good, and unbelievably cheap!

Stopped at a place in Grecia that had some Mexican pottery; gorgeous pots, but the car was full of plants!

It was a great day – another place found to take visitors.

Pura Vida….

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