Archive for September, 2011

Rainy Season

This is really the first time I’ve been to Costa Rica during the rainy season.   It seems appropriate, somehow, for the weather reflects our moods admirably.

In the morning, the sun comes up bright over the hills to the east and burns off the fog.  Shortly after noon, the clouds start to gather and about the middle of the afternoon the rain begins with much muttering and flashing, falls torrentially for a while.  Then evening falls with beautiful mists in the valleys.

We wake up a little foggy from excess, have some coffee, then prepare a simple breakfast.   (Today we had gallo pinta (mixed black beans and rice) with onions, peppers and chicken sausage, prepared by moi.)  Sometime during the day, some tears will fall, as the grief that Jeri feels is raw and new.   Later on, when the storm subsides, we get some work done, and then sort of go off into a misty loveliness, reminiscing.

My alcohol consumption has dropped back to my normal one or two drinks, so I am not all that foggy in the morning.   This morning was a little different, since our arousal time was 3:30 a.m.  Heather (Jeri’s daughter) left for the US this morning.

Yesterday the two of them went to San Jose to retrieve Jay’s ashes from the mortuary that cremated him.   I stayed here, since the house needed to be cleaned.   Needless to say, during the last week housework was the last thing on anybody’s mind, and the spiders took full advantage of the lapse in usage of dusting and sweeping implements.

I also thought that this trip was one that was best made by the immediate family, no extraneous energy was needed.   Since Heather was leaving today, I also thought that a long period of alone time for the two of them would also be appropriate.

As it turned out, they had quite an adventure.   Despite the fact that Heather had a GPS and also went to the trouble to call the mortuary and get directions to it, they got lost.  This is pretty easy to do in San Jose, which shares a lot with many European cities in that the streets are narrow, twisty, labyrinthine and not well labeled.   Anyway, for some reason the GPS had a little snit and would not take in addresses in any language and then translate them into directions to the same.

After a certain amount of fumbling around which led them into corners of San Jose that non-natives really shouldn’t be exploring without guides and protection, they finally decided to throw themselves on the mercy of the local constabulary.   First, the occupants of the small police station that they found themselves at all congregated around the rental car and endeavored to coax the GPS out of its funk.   No one could speak the appropriate spell, however, and so finally the policemen decided that the easiest thing to do would be to lead the errant travelers to their destination.

This was complicated by some sort of rule about what locale each police station’s denizens were allowed to take their vehicles into, so the policemen (one of whose number was actually a policewoman) abandoned their little station, piled into one of their patrol cars and led my friends to the edge of their territory.

There they were met by another vehicle full of policemen, who proceeded to escort Heather and Jeri to the actual mortuary.   Everybody was happy to help, and I’m sure it was a lot more fun for the police to help Jeri and Heather than it was to deal with actual criminals and rioting.

Anyway, we were supposed to have a wake for Jay at his brother Cal’s place, and the two travelers arrived back home only a few minutes after it was actually supposed to start.   No problem, this is Tico country, and things happen when they happen.

I had already gotten our contribution to the party (guacamole) prepared, so they changed their clothes and we got our taxi and went off to Cal’s home, which is lovely in the extreme.  There we met with a few friends and toasted Jay, told stories, and generally had a quite nice time.

This morning, after Heather left, I slept a little longer until the rising sun hit me in the face as it beamed through the window.   Jeri had not slept.

We went to Atenas this morning to do a little shopping, and had a light lunch near the plaza, where the people have gathered to begin their Independence Day celebrations.   Some of the cutest children dressed in national costumes were running around with their Mamas and teachers.

After lunch, we came home, and Jeri is resting.   Tonight we are probably going over to Calle Mimi where our very good friend Douglas lives, and avail ourselves of the pool there.   Douglas wants to cook us some ribs, so we’ll probably have a quite wonderful evening.

Meanwhile, the clouds are gathering (literally and figuratively).  So I must go remove the laundry from where the rain can reach it, and ready myself for the afternoon’s activities.

Stay safe, everyone.   And know that I love you, Jim! (I know you will read my blog!)

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Flying away


Just a quick note to let you all know that I am off to Costa Rica today, I’ll be there until Sept. 26.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to put a post or two up from there, after all, my buddy is on line too!   Meanwhile, you all stay safe and take care of yourselves.

I just want to leave you with my heartfelt thanks for all the love and support that has come from you during the last few days.  Of all the spots on the interwebs, this little community has some of the nicest people in it!   I’m so glad I’ve had a chance to get to know y’all!

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“Another disappointment…”

Just when I had made a resolution to post a little more often, all hell broke loose.   There’s been a heck of a lot going on over here at The Havens, and not all of it has been good.   I admit to sitting at the computer and just not feeling like writing anything.   I go off and visit my webfriends, am amused and cajoled, and then I . . . go do something else.

I mentioned that Jim’s brother died recently, and he went off to Wyoming to attend the funeral.   Well, he went to attend one of the services.  Other than the fact that it was a funeral, the visit with his siblings was really good for him.  The other service was a week later in California where Don was buried with full military honors at a veteran’s cemetery there.    Jim was not able to go to that one, but got a full report from his sister last night.

My aunt also died during the same time frame.  Her children were so involved in her final illness that they didn’t think to notify my mother she was in hospital.  She would have liked to be able to bid her sister farewell, and even attend the funeral.  But she wasn’t told until after the funeral was over.   So there is sadness and umbrage in my maternal ancestor that is making fallout in the area.

Meanwhile, we got news that Jim’s best friend Jay, who is the husband of my best friend Jeri, had a massive stroke last Sunday.  (These are the folks that I used to go floating with, that we used to spend time with cooking and eating grand food, whom I have visited in Costa Rica.)  Due to the language barrier that exists and the incredible stress of the actual event, Jay wound up being put on extensive life support systems when he finally got to the hospital.  This would have been totally against all his desires had he been responsive at all.  It turns out that once you are on life support, even if you are basically brain dead, there is a certain amount of paternalistic and legalistic b.s. that must be complied with in order to turn it off.  So Jay is in limbo right now, and I can tell you that he would be really pissed off about that if he was conscious at all.

I will just say that there is a lot of stress and frustration involved when the friend you love best in the world is going through hell a few thousand miles away so you can’t hold her in your arms and make sure she is eating; while at the same time the man you love and treasure has just suffered and emotional one-two punch to the gut and is also in need of love and support.  Not to mention the fact that I loved and respected Jay too.   I take some comfort that Jeri’s daughter  Heather is in Costa Rica helping her through this.

The truth of the matter is that Heather is under some constraints because of her job, and is probably going to have to come back to the States fairly soon.  The plan is for Jeri to come back home to the US and live with Heather and her husband in St. Louis once things are finalized in Costa Rica.  Depending on events, I most likely will be traveling down there as the backup support system betwixt times.  This will put some strain on our finances, but neither Jim nor I really gives a damn about the money at this point.   It will not break us, it will just set us back a bit.

My darling husband mentioned to me that if it would make me feel better, he suggests that we contact one of our mutual friends and have him take care of our guns while I am gone.  The head-spinning implications of that remark rocked me to the core, and I questioned him closely whether this was really something I should worry about. ??!?  Besides, if he really wanted to commit suicide, lack of guns in the house would not keep him from it.   He told me last night that he thought he would go to the counseling services at the hospital after work, which I encouraged him to do.   But this morning he tells me he doesn’t think it is necessary.   Oh?   We may be making an extra trip to the Fort this afternoon; if I have to frog march him in there I will.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned that my niece Zoey is living with us.   This is also stressful.   She is a lovely young woman who arrived here in a state of deep depression.   Since she has arrived, she has recovered a lot of her spirits, made huge strides in growing up from the emotional age of about 10 she brought to our doorstep, lost 35 pounds of the 70 she needs to lose, and has been a HUGE help to me.   But the systematic mental and emotional abuse that she was subjected to during her first 21 years is not something that she can heal from overnight.   The road has been a little rocky the last couple of weeks, but we are soldiering through.

So that’s what has been going on here that has kept me off the blogosphere.  Frankly, I feel like I need a few stiff drinks about now.   Raspberry lambic would be good.  Maybe I’ll frogmarch myself into counseling.


In other news, I begin to feel a lot like Miranda Priestley, Meryl Streep’s character from “The Devil Wears Prada.”   “Another disappointment…” she sighs.   “That is all.”

Remember my hat?   The one I was so excited to replace with one from the same source?   Well, the new one arrived.  After opening the package and trying on the new hat, I sent a scathing email to the company.   It’s the same old story.   Price up, quality down, and while we’re at it, let’s out-source the manufacturing, thus eliminating jobs from the US economy that it could desperately use.   Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will post six thousand words below.

Aside from the fact that the fabric is lower quality with a looser weave, and the stitching is looser and made with inferior thread, the hat doesn’t even fit.   Apparently in the last 20 years, size 7 1/4 has changed.   What I think really happened is that the factory in China makes a three sizes (small, medium and large) and just puts different tags in them to pretend that they are actually sized to fit actual heads the way the hat used to be.   As you can see from the bottom shot, the new hat is quite a bit larger in diameter than the old hat, but despite the size difference the new hat actually weighs LESS than the old one.  This in spite of the fact that the old hat lost quite a bit of material when it started to fall apart.

I also wonder about the brass fittings.   Are they solid brass like the old ones or some cheap aluminum plated with brass?  I didn’t destroy one to find out.   The company, to give them credit, sent me a two sentence response to my rather lengthy complaint, which I will quote here:

“If you are unhappy with your  please return your hat for a full refund plus $7.50 shipping credit.
Please refer to return number 6306 when making your return.”
How nice of them.   A side note here:   I have returned the hat, and using the absolutely cheapest method of return, it still cost me more than the amount that they allotted to me for shipping.   Oh well.
I have decided to mend the old hat pending discovery of a better quality replacement.   This will funkify it substantially, adding to the “cool” factor (IMHO).
I’m about 85% done with the actual sewing on of the patches.
Last, but not least, I have been attempting to get a good shot of the fur detail around Mallory’s eyes.   The way she is marked gives her an extremely oriental visage when she stares at you from across the room.
It isn’t that easy to get a close up portrait of such a busy kitten, I can tell you.   For every one like that above, I got about ten like this:
There is a lot of play value in a camera.
I believe I have run on enough.   Time to go see if there isn’t something useful to accomplish; like walking the dog, say.
Take care, and make sure to hug your loved ones.

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