Wherever You Go, There You Are

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Like everyone else who undertakes a geographical cure for all their problems, I believed moving to Costa Rica would make me into a new person. A better, more ideal version of myself.

And like everyone else who’s tried it, I found that to be utterly and indisputably false.

I was going to begin every day with an early morning walk. No.1 Sis has been doing this, by the way, so I wouldn’t even have to walk by myself. Instead, I start every day with an early morning nap. After the first light wakes me up, I put a pillow over my eyes and go back to sleep for another hour or so.

I was going to eat healthy, and cook for myself. My eating improved a great deal when No.2 Sis was here to help cook, and I’ve lost 20 pounds and cut my blood sugar in half.

But I’m slipping. I’m partial to Elvis sandwiches. That’s peanut butter and bananas on bread. And when No.1 Sis tried to throw away a package of vanilla Oreo cookies, I almost dove into the garbage to get them.

When I told people I was retiring to Costa Rica, they asked what I was going to do with myself. I had planned to take on-line courses. Spanish, of course, and painting and photography.

My Spanish course expired before I finished it (still procrastinating, harrumph). I had to sign up to take it again.

The cute waiter at the local restaurant has been giving us some tips, though. I told him, in Spanish, that his Spanish was very good. He looked confused for a moment (as he often does when I speak Spanish). Then he laughed and complimented my English.

At the end of the meal, he gave us our check, and a list of Spanish phrases to practice. I gave him my payment for the meal, and a generous tip. Did I mention that he’s very cute?

I’m taking a watercolor course, too. I’m almost through with that. Through watching it, that is. I haven’t picked up a brush since I started (watching) the course.

As far as photography goes, I haven’t signed up for a course yet. I think I’ll finish watching my watercolor class before I start watching a photography class.

Speaking of photography, No.1 Sis called me early one morning to tell me there was a troop of howler monkeys in the trees across the street from her house. I went outside and took a few pictures of them from my porch, but they just looked like black blobs in the trees.

I walked down the hill to Sis’ house (still in my pajamas) to see if I could get some good shots from the balcony off of her Queen bedroom. The monkeys were just a little bit bigger black blobs. But look at her view!

NO.1 SIS' VIEW

NO.1 SIS’ VIEW

 

And that’s an 180 degree view, unobstructed by the three-story apartment building  (affectionately known as “The Monstrosity”) that’s next to me.

Hell, if I’m going to be an under-achieving lie-about, I might as well be an under-achieving lie-about in Costa Rica. You can’t find a nicer geographical cure than this.

Stay tuned…

Meet The Neighbor

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No.1 Sis and I walked down to the main road, merely yards from our houses, to wait for the bus into The Big City. There was already a man standing there. He was tall and scruffy and had no teeth.

MR. NO TEETH (ARTIST'S RENDERING)

MR. NO TEETH (ARTIST’S RENDERING)

We nodded politely to Mr. No Teeth and wished him a good morning. He realized he was among fellow Americans, and started to tell us his Costa Rica story.

Mr. No Teeth had arrived in C.R. about the same time we did, seven weeks ago. He spent the first week at motel on the Caribbean coast.

I felt some stinging sensations on my feet.

As he was leaving the motel to catch the bus to San Luis, he locked the keys in his room, as per the landlord’s instructions. Unfortunately, he realized too late that he had locked his only suitcase in the motel room, too.

The feet-stinging was getting more frequent. I looked down, and saw that my feet were swarming with fire ants. I shook and stamped my feet to try to dislodge the little buggers.

Mr. No Teeth continued his story without interruption. He narrated how, even though he had locked all his worldly possessions in his motel room, he didn’t want to miss the bus. He left the bag inside and got on the bus, which took him hundreds of miles away.

Meanwhile, the ants were stinging me like crazy. I bent over in half, a feat I can only accomplish in the most dire of emergencies, and started picking ants off my feet and crushing them, one at a time. My alarmed No.1 Sis dug through her backpack and found some bug spray.

Mr. No Teeth continued his story, oblivious to all the panicked gyrations occurring a few feet in front of him.

He indicated the outfit he was wearing. It was, he said, a thirty year old tee shirt given to him by his wife (now ex-wife) and warm-up pants loaned to him by his neighbor.

The ants coughed a little at the the bug spray, and then laughed, crawling deeper into my shoes. I took off my shoes and beat my own feet with them.

Mr. No Teeth called the motel after arriving here in San Luis. He asked the landlord to mail his suitcase to him. It’s been six weeks now, and he still hasn’t received his bag. Imagine that.

I wanted to go up to him, grab him by the thirty year old tee shirt and scream in his face, “You don’t knowingly drive hundreds of miles from everything you own, then ask for it to be mailed to you IN A COUNTRY WITHOUT MAIL SERVICE, YOU STUPID GIT!”

He was fortunate that I was still preoccupied with doing the roadside Hokey Pokey.

The Hokey Pokey. It really is what it’s all about.

MORE OF "DOWNTOWN" SAN LUIS

MORE OF “DOWNTOWN” SAN LUIS

Stay tuned…

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

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No.1 Sis and I had planned on taking the bus to Tilaran on Monday, so we could shop for groceries. It rained, so we stayed home.

Then on Tuesday, it rained, so we stayed home again.

On Wednesday, we arose to another rainy day. We figured if we waited until it stopped raining here in Costa Rica, with the two seasons of wet and wetter, we’d soon starve to death.

I told myself what Dad used to tell me when I didn’t want to be outside in the rain. “You ain’t made of sugar. You ain’t gonna melt.”

So into town we went. I didn’t melt, but I sure got soaked. Turns out my Eddie Bauer raincoat isn’t water-proof. What good is a raincoat that isn’t waterproof? It just gave me another wet thing to lug around town.

Eddie Bauer raincoat

WATERPROOF, MY FULL AND GENEROUS BOTTOM

Tilaran is rather lacking in street signs, and there don’t seem to be any maps available on line. I drew myself a map so I could find stores, and the post office, and the bank, and the library again. Unfortunately, I seem to have thrown that map away last time I cleaned my purse. Oops.

As we wandered about Tilaran in the rain, we made the most wonderful discovery! We found a libreria. A libreria is a bookstore. And, in addition to books, they sell my favorite thing in the whole, wide world. Office supplies.

I sold all of my office supplies and most of my arts and crafts supplies in the big estate sale in August. It wasn’t easy (emotionally speaking). But I did it.

Now I’m here in C.R. with nothing to do.

I didn’t go crazy. I bought a few sheets of card stock, a couple of stickers, a little notebook, and a sharpie. It felt so good. SO GOOD! Is there something wrong with me? Don’t answer that.

HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY

HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY

Stay tuned…

Whatever Happened To Baby Bella?

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For those of you not familiar with the Twin Cities area, let me clue you in. It’s big.

Although St. Paul is hemmed in by the Mississippi River to the east and Minneapolis to the west, Minneapolis is free to spread unchecked to the north, west and south, and has done so.

No.2 Sis and I live in Cottage Grove, a far southeastern suburb of St. Paul.  Yesterday No.2 had a massage appointment in Woodbury, an eastern suburb, and I booked us for a mani-pedi soon afterward in Brooklyn Park, a far northeastern Minneapolis suburb.

That was a mistake. I thought I was booking the salon in Bloomington, a southern suburb of Minneapolis, because we needed to go to a lamp store there. Oops.

So I met Sis in Woodbury, dropped my car at the massage place, we drove up to the mani-pedi, then down to the lamp store, bought lamp shades, had lunch at a nearby restaurant, and drove home, all before rush hour. We put over 80 miles on the car, and spent about an hour-and-a-half on the road.

Around 8:30 p.m., Sis asked me, “Where’s your car?” Shit. We left Gypsy Blue at the massage place in Woodbury. Sigh. Getting old and forgetful is no picnic.

But that’s not what this post is about. I realized that in all the hubbub of selling the house and preparing to Costa Rica, I didn’t tell you whatever happened to Bella, my crazy cat.

I’m convinced that Bella has post traumatic syndrome disorder. She’s been very, very slow to warm up to anyone, including me. She’s jumpy as hell. She’s hyper-vigilant. What can I say? She’s a mess but I love her.

When I decided to go to Costa Rica, I knew Bella couldn’t come along. Although it’s legal and relatively easy to bring your pets to C.R., I knew it would traumatize my baby too much.

I called Feline Rescue, the organization I had adopted Bella from, and they agreed to put an ad for her on their website. They suggested that I write a bio for her, and send pictures if I had them.

baby bella-1 baby bella-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I have pictures? I snort in your general direction.

I’d recently read on Sarah Petruno‘s blog how to release things/people when you’re torn about doing so. She suggested writing a letter to the thing/person, thanking them for all the good things they brought to your life and wishing them the best in the future.

I wrote the letter to Bella and used it for her bio on the Feline Rescue website. Even though I included all of Bella’s personality quirks (PTSD) in the letter and adult cats don’t usually get much interest, three people called about Bella the very first day.

The first to call Feline Rescue were Bill and Mary, a retired couple who had experience with Siamese cats. They came to meet Bella, and they fell in love. I thought it was a great success because, even though B. hissed at them, she actually let Bill and Mary pet her!

I had to get Bella’s teeth fixed and give her some recovery time, so her new parents picked her up a couple of weeks later. I gave them her tower, her brand new litter box, and a box of toys and food. They packed it into their car and waited outside for me to bring Bella Luna out.

I picked up the cat, and carried her to her kennel, which was hidden around a corner. As soon as she saw the kennel she started screeching and fighting to get away from me.

I grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, but my grip wasn’t close enough to her skull. She turned and sunk her teeth deep into my hand. I stuffed her into the kennel and pried her jaws off of my hand.

No.2 Sis was there for moral support, so she took Bella out to the car. I stayed inside and tried to staunch the flow of blood.

It was traumatic for both of us, but I’m sure she’s settled happily into her new home by now.

Baby Bella, Bella Luna, Bubba. I miss you sweet, fuzzy girl.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

 

Retiring For La Pura Vida

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The Monday after my house closed, I gave my three week notice at The Company. Friday was my last day. I’m officially retired!

Just before I left, I stopped into my boss’ office to say goodbye. I told him I sent him and others my home e-mail address and said, “If you ever have any work questions, don’t bother…I mean, don’t hesitate…”

That was quite a Freudian slipper.

Then a co-worker caught me just as I was heading to the door. She told me I didn’t actually attach my e-mail address to the message I sent about my e-mail address.

That’s a pair of Freudian slippers.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

So what am I going to do now? I’m moving to Costa Rica! When I visited in May with No.1 Sis, No.2 Sis and soul-sister V, No.1 and I found rental properties and decided to make the move.

We’ll each have our own house on the same little street near Lake Arenal, in the northern part of the country.

The unofficial motto of Costa Rica is “La Pura Vida”, the pure (or good) life, and we plan on living by that motto to the max. That means reading, doing art work play and napping for me. Throw in a few cocktails and I think you’ve described La Pura Vida for No.1 Sis, too.

La Pura Vida

During our visit to C.R. in May, the group relied mainly on my smattering of Spanish recalled from high school. Hah, fools!

I’d read that it’s rude in C.R. to just say no. It’s better to say “un otro dia” or “another day”. When a street vendor tried to sell us an unlabeled bottle of amber liquid (liqueur? syrup? hooch?) I politely said to him, “Un otro dios”. The guy laughed and walked away. Then I realized I had told him “another god”.

Crazy Americans.

Stay tuned…

 

 

2016 Resolution Update, April

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I finally got Bella into the vet for the rest of her dental work. Last time she came home from the vet’s, she hissed at me for days. This time, she immediately forgave me and settled into my lap, purring. I feel so much more guilty this time! She’s f*cking with my head!

Bella

Okay, here’s the update on my 2016 resolution to be fiscally responsible.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, 2016:

  1. CANCEL ALL CREDIT CARDS EXCEPT NEW 0% AND MY BANK VISA. I paid off all my credit cards except the new 0%, but I haven’t cancelled them yet. Must do!
  2. BUILD UP $1200 EMERGENCY  CUSH FUND. I have $1339 in the Cush Fund. I reached my goal! I had to withdraw $275 to pay the accountant, and $86 to pay my state taxes. But I added $300 from an extra paycheck in April, $293 from a medical reimbursement, $200 from my federal tax return, $37 from selling books, and $33 from selling some household items to the thrift store. Woot, woot!
  3. PAY CASH FOR EVERYTHING. (No new charges). I charged the vet bill in May, but I’ll pay it off with the rest of my federal tax return.

Success! I feel so grown up!

I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica (paid for in cash) that I’ll tell you about next time.

Stay tuned…

 

I Digress

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When I was growing up, Mom had the great idea to move all of the 5 girls that remained at home into 1 bedroom. I know I’ve told parts of this story before, but please bear with me. There’s a point to this.

The upstairs was unevenly divided in size between 2 bedrooms. The small bedroom had 2 built-in bunks under the eaves, and Dad built an additional triple-bunk along the wall.

The room had a half-height “closet” carved out from under the eaves.

The large bedroom was turned into a play-study-dressing room and held our 5 dressers, 5 desks, a love seat, and a record player. The room also had a tiny closet, but at least it was full height, and had 2 hanging rods.

Both rooms were stuffed to overflowing, but I loved to lounge on the love seat and play the 1 record we had over and over. The record was “The Best of Hank Williams (Senior)” and had many uplifting ditties, such as “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “Lost Highway”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, and “I Heard  That Lonesome Whistle”.

My point is, I was programmed from a young age to try to fit 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag. And be depressed. Very depressed.

Back to March, 2016.

I needed to clean the house for a Stampin’ Up party being held at my house last weekend. I had 3 months to do all the work in, so I worked on clearing out the art studio (because, priorities). Meanwhile, the living room, dining room and kitchen got worse and worse.

The day before the party, No.2 Sis came over and helped me bag and box all the junk from the public part of the house and load it into the private areas. We tried to stuff 10 pounds of shit into 5 pound bags and then hide it from sight. Instead of making progress on the house, I made digress…congress?…regress? I made regress.

Now the laundry room, Queen bedroom and Studio look like this.

messy room digression

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I’m depressed. Very depressed.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I signed up to be a Stampin’ Up demonstrator after the party. I know it helps depression if you can make decisions, any decisions, and take action, any actions. But sweet pickled Jesus, what have I done?

 

 

Miss Hiss, or 324

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I had to take Bella to the vet yesterday, and let me tell you, she was VERY unhappy about it. She was shrieking, SHRIEKING, in her loudest Siamesy voice.

The vet took her into a back room to sedate her so she could be examined and, from the exam room, I could hear Bella shrieking and growling for what seemed like forever. By the time the vet got back to me, I was bawling my eyes out. I’m getting teary just writing this.

Bella got her exam and her shots, and they kept her for a couple of hours until the sedative starting wearing off. I picked her up and brought her home, where she hissed loudly at me every time she saw me.

At bedtime, I found Bella under my blankets. I s l o w l y got into bed beside her as she hissed at me. Then I turned off the light and laid down.

You do not know terror until you’re lying in the dark while a fully-clawed cat circles your head, growling in a very menacing manner.

Today, Bella has been letting me pet her for a few seconds before she turns and hisses at me. Progress.

FURTHER PROGRESS. BELLA NOT SPEAKING TO ME AT ALL.

FURTHER PROGRESS. BELLA NOT SPEAKING TO ME AT ALL.

The really bad news? She has to go back to the vet in 2 weeks for dental work. Goddess help me.

I had to hide in the Studio to get away from the dear, wee kitty. While I was in there, I filled one bag of recycling and pulled out a little television set to drop off at Best Buy. They recycle them for free.

That brings me up to 324 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture removed from my cottage since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

I shared this frightening story at Chic On a Shoestring.

 

2016 Resolution Update, February

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My No.1 financial tip: If you’ve put yourself on a strict budget, and find yourself thinking, “This isn’t so bad; I have plenty of money,” PANIC! Panic immediately, because something has gone horribly wrong.

That’s what I learned in February when I got two credit card bills that I wasn’t expecting. Apparently I hadn’t changed my blog expenses and my on-line grocery orders to my cash card. They went on credit cards instead.

Of course I’d already spent that “extra” money in my checking account.

I switched the accounts to my cash card and paid off the credit cards immediately. I had to withdraw $354 from my Cush Fund to do it.

Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, 2016:

  1. CANCEL ALL CREDIT CARDS EXCEPT NEW 0% AND MY BANK VISA. I paid off all my credit cards except the new 0%, but I haven’t cancelled them yet. Must do!
  2. BUILD UP $1200 EMERGENCY  CUSH FUND. I have $832 in the Cush Fund. I started February with $847, withdrew $354, and added $340 (overtime pay and medical reimbursements).
  3. PAY CASH FOR EVERYTHING. (No new charges). As I mentioned above, I kind of screwed this one up in February, but I paid everything off right away (after I belatedly panicked).

I have a little more overtime pay coming in March, and I’ll see if I can scrounge up some money elsewhere, too.

piggy bank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned…

5 Energy Boosters To Do At Work

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As I’ve been working overtime at “The Company” the last few weeks, I’ve found myself more and more drained. Not just physically, but mentally and psychically, too.

I went on-line to try to find tips on how to get some little energy boosts in my cell cubicle country club.

Most of the tips I came across used yoga poses to generate a little energy.

yoga pose for energy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ha! Can you see me doing this at work? I’d fall over and hit my head on my computer desk.

Wait a minute, concussion=time off work. Nah, I’ve heard that head injuries can contribute to dementia later in life. I already have my tent pitched on the outskirts of Alzheimersville.

The energy tips I’ve found most useful?

SIT UP STRAIGHT. Slouching or craning your neck to get a better view of your computer can cause fatigue and soreness in your back, neck and shoulders. Plus (woo-woo alert) keeping your spine straight allows your chi (energy) to flow unimpeded, while slouching goobers (technical term) your chi all to hell.

STAND UP AND STRETCH. Just don’t try the pose above, for goddess’ sake. The benefit of stretching is increased blood flow (and increased chi flow).

DRINK A LOT OF WATER. This keeps your brain hydrated. Not to mention giving you an excuse to get up often to go to the bathroom.

STEP OUTSIDE AND TAKE A FEW DEEP BREATHS. Don’t do this if it’s below freezing (Minnesota from October through April). Also, don’t do this next to the back door where all the smokers hang out.

HAVE A COMBINED PROTEIN CARBOHYDRATE/PROTEIN SNACK. A combined carb/protein snack, such as apple and cheese, or celery and peanut butter, will give you a long lasting energy boost. A chocolate doughnut will give you a short energy boost followed by a big crash. Unfortunately, I’ve been going for the chocolate doughnuts. Do as I say, not as I do.

chocolate doughnut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A woo-woo bonus tip (this should not be done at work).

ENERGY RETRIEVAL from Sarah Petruno Shamanism. This really works to reclaim a lot of the energy you spend at work and in your relationships. Go to Sarah’s blog here for instructions for this simple ritual.

Stay tuned…