My moves

Oct 31, 2008 at 7:35 PM
Shelley wants to take me dancing.

It's a good idea except that when I think I'm being "sexy sultry" or "flirtaceous and cute" I'm actually "goofy weird" or "deer in the headlights".

I really don't know how to be flirtatious. I SUCK at it.

Which is really all the better for me. All I want to do is dance. I am sooooo not the meatmarket type.

Totem Poles and Hotness

Oct 30, 2008 at 9:18 PM
It took me a few weeks to start spotting them, but I found them.

The gringos here are superhumanly hot. It's freaky. Gorgeous people walking around among us like normals. Tall, windswept and exactly like those people on the covers of romance novels... only REAL. I didn't think the premises in those pulp books were even remotely logical (yeah right, the gorgeous blond french chef with his own restaurant in a quaint seaside resort town is gonna be outside with the construction crew in the hot sun AND just happens to be single. Like THAT would happen!), but these things actually happen here. Seriously. His name's Jean Claude. I was star-struck.

Every time Shelley points out one of these superhumans, and tells me things about them like their job, or points out to me their spouses, I can't believe it. They aren't actors or models, they are teachers or something.

It is seriously hard to believe. And frankly quite a pisser. I'm pretty low on the hotness totem pole compared with the beautiful gringo crowd I see walking around here.

If I keep swimming and exercising every day, and eating basically not much but fruit and fish, it won't be long before I look about as hot as it's possible for me personally to look without cosmetic surgery. Maybe that's why. Maybe they all exercise all the time and live simply and cleanly.

I doubt it, though, judging by the hooker that was spotted hanging out in the Gringo restaurant and the guy with the hooka shop who has all his signs in English.

Ooh! Another sign I'll never be top of this totem pole. Shelley just offered me cake and I accepted! Mmm. Time to go eat.

Make my birthday easier, people

at 11:37 AM
My birthday is usually a hangover day for everyone I know.

Read this, please, for everyone else with an All Saints Day birthday.

And thanks to this one for such a great and timely piece.

Costa Rica, More Thoughts and Musings

at 12:17 AM
I've been for another swim today. I met a man with an iguana. I named his Iguana "Juan Dos" and he told me his name and I couldn't understand it. I laughed.

Then I walked home. Found a pack of smokes on the way - my old brand of all things - and toyed with the idea of keeping it. I didn't.

Walked past a fisherman who reeled in his line so I could cross the river.

Foudn a piece of bamboo and an empty two liter bottle floating in the river. I grabbed up both. I carried the trash to a trash can and threw it away.

The beach is pretty clean today actually. THat was the only trash I found - the smokes and the 2 liter bottle.

I cleaned up the bamboo. It'll make a great Bo staff. Exactly 6 feet long. It'll be a little shorter after I've cleaned it up and let it dry out.

Came back to the hotel and got hugs and kisses from Shelley's kids.

Good day.

Ticos are getting educated bettr than they used to, plus they are having lots of kids, which means population growth. Also, they are happy to allow other people - as long as they are productive or turistas - into their country.

This means they will be a burgeoning force to be reckoned with in ten or twenty years. (Some disagree because of the social mores, it might be 30 or 40 years.) Not a third world country by any means. They are already well on their way. Everyone here is working in some way. I see no idle hands.

And they are generally quite happy. I don't see a lot of grumpy or angry people here. It really is a pura vida kind of place. I like it.

What makes me Lucky

Oct 29, 2008 at 6:44 PM
I know you have all heard me say a thousand times how lucky I am to have my girls.

But I was once diagnosed with endometriosis and cystic problems, and was told my ovaries were turning. That's a big blow to a girl of 18, almost 19.

It was about 6 months before I got pregnant with my girls, actually. I'd been trying to find the source of soem serious pain. It turned out it ws my ovaries. The doctor told me I was not going to be able to bear children with my ovaries in the shape they were in. He recommended removal. Something about them having turned or started turning. He even made a little flipping motion with his hand, as though flipping over a pancake.

He was very wrong. It turns out it was a false diagnosis. Maybe he mixed up my ultrasound with someone else's. Or maybe there was a miracle. I don't know. I just know it was not the case six months later.

But the point is that for 6 months of my life, prior to my unexpected pregnancy, I thought I couldn't bear children. I grew up loving and wanting children. I promised myself I'd have 6, adn they'd all be raised just so and loved just so and I had half the ground rules for their future laid out already before I was ten. I had wanted four girls and two boys. Maybe three and three.

But then the doctor with the unpronouncable name told the 18 year old me that I'd probably never bear children, while pointing at a picture of my ovaries. I didn't know what I was looking at, just a mishmash of black with white blobs. The doctor said I should learn to adjust to that, and annoyed me. "Adjust", he'd said. This person who knew so little about me that he'd violate the biggest taboo in my religion and tell me to "adjust". That doctor threw out his diagnosis with only a little more compassion that telling me I had the flu or something, but it was as heavy a blow to me as being told I was dying, to hear at exactly the stage in my life where I was creating a future, building up all my postulates for a future husband and my future children.

He handed me a referral and a business card for another specialist. I'd have gone eventually. Once someone else in my life knew. But I never did end up going. And no one ever called to see whether I'd fallen off the face of the earth. Doctors can be so indifferent - I think they have to be or they'd be consumed in their compassion, used up before they could even pay off their school loans.

Anyway, hearing this threw me for a major loop and affected every aspect of my life. I went emotionally blank, and stopped feeling the urge to move forward in life toward my goals. For instance, I broke up with a boy I cared about for no reason.

I sometimes remember this 6 months in grey, because my view of every aspect of my life was so bleak, it washed out all the color in my life. How I felt like the whole universe was shifting away from me and how there didn't seem to be purpose or reason anymore.

I was a preschool teacher at the time, and I remember how I felt stabbed with sorrow any time immediately after I accidentally took joy at the accomplishments of the wondreful children in the class. As though merely loving and laughing with other people's children were not allowed any more.

I also remember how hard it was for me to even tell people. I never even told my sisters or my mother what I'd been told.

Then one day I decided. I decided the doctor was wrong and I was going to "have children". I decided this in the middle of two days straight of rain. I went to the park in the tepid splashing rain, trying to take a walk. And I was sitting on the cracked rubber seat of a swing. Then I was on the ground, and I was holding onto it and I cried and cried, a huge charge of grief came welling out of me. And then after the grief faded, I realized I could change it. I screamed at the sky.

OF course, I didn't specify. I just yelled "I want children. I will have children. I am going to have children. " And every time I yelled it it got stronger, clearer, happier, more certain.

And the cloud in my life lifted. I felt better. I still thought I had a medical problem, but I had decided it was overcomeable. I had decided it was solveable.

A few weeks later, the universe played a big practical joke on me and gave me children -- all my children at once.

And I wonder at this. It was all part of the tapestry of life, the sheer stark contrast between thinking I was barren to finding out I was pregnant with twins. It was why I never even remotely considered an abortion, despite being 19, unwed and unprepared. Why I never really looked into anything but having them and why I wrapped my whole world around my babies. Which is what I did. And still do.

I don't regret it. They've been every single aspect of my life, the center of everything. Those girls are the best thing that ever happened to me. And I tell them so all the time. And it is absolutely true.

But I know, I overdid it. I made a life that has very little in it beside my daughters. It's not good to do that.

I discovered this last year, when I was left alone in the cabin in the woods without them. I learned that my life feels utterly empty when they aren't there. I become an empty vessel and the grey outlook creeps back in.

So it is time. Time to start building a life that includes some of the things I want to do. SOmething I can enjoy and live in without my kids around. Not that I think it's time to become entirely selfish or to drop the girls off with their father and turn away- - nothing like that -- just to build a little bit more of my life into what I want, what I need.

In my religion it's called having "a first dynamic" or a "1D".

So there is the work in progress defined. There is the crux of what I'm trying to do right now. And it's why I'm not at the cabin right now.

Even though I know it's important, and I know I am doing the right thing, it feels a little selfish. I suppose that is part of the steps I will have to make, another foot forward toward being a whole and complete person with all my dynamics complete and livable even without my children in the home with me.

I know I need to build something other than "mom" - because as Shelley keeps pointing out, and as Marie keeps reminding me, I've only got about 6 more years before my girls are grown up all the way. I'd better have a life I like independently of my children, so that I don't fall apart in six years.

Hopefully I can do this without sacrificing any tiny portion of the perfect relationship I have with my girls. I really do have the perfect relationship with my kids. Even when you flip it over and look at the underbelly. It's the Sistine Chapel of my life. The single best product I will have accomplished when someday I have died.

But, hopefully, sometime before then, I will be able to say that I have LIVED my own life, too.

More pieces of Costa Rica

Oct 28, 2008 at 9:17 PM
I have made friends with a local dog and cat - I've named them Bubble and Smippet. By making friends I mean: I feed them and they let me pretend that they love me in exchange for it. But being the food whores they are, once I leave, they will love the next gullible guest in the hotel.

They are very good at their job and I wish I could take them home.

Oscar is the little guard dog that lives here. He's fed and cared for by the hotel staff, in exchange for the lovely job he does. Bubble is Oscar's girlfriend.

Bubble, Smippet and I had a lovely casados today for dinner. We all shared, and there is nothing left of the chicken.

I'm extending my stay (if I can finagle it).

We took a trail ride adventure tour. Ride up on a horse, enjoy the spa, look at teh mud pools and maybe see volcano stuff, ride back.

Sounds great, right?

The ride up was tough. I had trouble finding what style to use with my horse. It wanted no particular style. I tried every system of signals I knew, and the horse ignored me. I realized after a lot of angry horse time that this horse was trined to ignore all commands unless they came from the cute cowboy who we were riding with. He would make 9 little kissing noises in a row when he wanted the horses to go, or was trying to cajole one of the horses into taking a trail it just didn't want to. He would say "shhhh" like he was telling a little kid to be quiet when he wanted the horses to stop. Or "hohoho" (like a bored hispanic santa claus) to get one to stop short.

His horse was an albino dream - did everything it was told. So did mine, really, as long as HE told it what to do.

Anyway, my horse hated me and wanted me off of him. He kept trying to rub me off on trees, and to bite off the saddle. It was not a good horse.

I was bushed when we got there and it took a while for my thighs to stop hurting.

The cowboy just sat there - next to the horses - waiting for us to come back. Whatever, we're on Costa Rican time. It didn't matter to him how long we took. Whenever we came back, he'd take us back down to the hotel and restaurant. He went and squated cowboy style next to the tip jar. I tipped him about a buck fifty and felt silly. We'd paid a nice gringo price for the day trip. Certainly wasn't tico prices. Why was the tip jar there? Wasn't he getting paid twice then?

It wasn't like he pointed out the wildlife.

There was a beautiful butterfly called a Morpho that we saw many of. Brown on one side, brilliantly blue on the other. Plus i saw many monarchs and a few brilliantly black/white/red ones that may also have been monarchs of a different variety. I heard, but didn't see, howler monkeys.

Plus I saw a ery small moth that looked like a shrimp.

We sauna'ed, and we put mud on ourselves. The shower didn't have any hot water in it, so Shelley and the kids were scared away. It was "freezing" and "too cold" and it felt lukewarm to me -- lucky Oregon girl. It was nice mountain spring water. It was actually refreshing to be a little colder than usual. I'm almost never cold anymore. You miss it a little. (I know, "Poor Desi misses the cold. Boo f--king hoo." Well I do. A little.)

In the hot spring/mud pool thing, I started a detox. The old man in charge of the mud pools had said not to stay in longer than 15 minutes, but Shelley and I said "why the hell not" and stayed in the mud for probably an hour. Maybe more.

We took a break and I had a Coca-cola with peanuts in it. Nobody puts peanuts in their coca-cola here. I got to feel smugly superior and very interesting for a minute.

I loved swimming around the muddy hot clay pool thing. FUN. I tried to float, but Katherine kept swimming over and laying on my floating belly, which makes it harder. But is awfully adorable. A completely muddy little kiddo is a lovely thing to see grinning up at you with absolute mischevious trust.

I showered and could NOT get all the clay out of the cracks. Oh well. It's all gonna wash off eventually. Shelley's nails weren't just dirty, they were STAINED.

I detoxed all day after that. a LOT. And today. A lot. I drank a metric TON of water today to help overcome it. I was CLEAN - inside and out. I'll do my best to undo all that on my birthday.

On the ride home, I had to ride a different horse. My horse was gone, having been ridden back by someone else. I rode a very nice horse. No problemo. This time Shelley had the asshole horse that tried to knock her off. Shelley's not an experienced rider and so she got numerous scratches and scrapes. My inner thighs and my ass felt like they might never return to normal function.

When we all got back to Shelley's house, we were so tired that each of us in turn ended up on the floor trying to do yoga and got stuck there. Not as a joke, just seriously too tired to get up.

I stayed in various "open up the back, heal the hips" poses for a while.

Today, I woke up in literal agony. I tested the various boundaries on the pain I felt by lifting first one leg, then the other. Attempts to sit down failed, so I ate breakfast standing up.

I had to work. having missed yesterday. So I sat down. It was pure torture.

I tred to find a comfortable position and realized that moving around was robably not smart, because it hurt. So, I stopped testing the boundaries and instead, I did some more stretches, made myself take a walk, even "dance" a little (swing my hips around, so they'd recognize my usual motion again), and try to get better. Only now is the pain fading.

But yesterday was SOOO wroth it. It was a beautiful day. The weather was awesome. I got lightly rained on all the way back, which basically just kept the mosquitoes off, and kept me cool. I saw the "lone tree" and "rock against fading light" views that make every mountainous trail ride worth it. I saw some beautiful canopy, a lot of amazing lichen, vines, forest plants, and aloe plants the size of a house. Literally.

Another thing to know about me: When there is an uncomfortable silence occuring, I turn into a chatty Cathy doll. And Shelley brought the ex-husband and his future-wife along. TEN-SION!! So I couldn't shut my mouth. All the way up the mountain and back, and the many hours in the car both ways. Chitty chatty chat chat. It worked. I'll never have to see the future-wife again. She was obviously sick of me. She was trying to have a romantic excursion with her future husband, but all I noticed about Mario is that he didn't pay for anything. Seroiusly, just because Shelley works doesn't mean he shouldn't pay for one of his kids horse rides (I did that), or pay for their food at the various restaurants (Shelley as usual).

I got disgusted enough that I even rolled my eyes at him. Don't scoff. It might work. It's a VERY powerful tool and women in my family do not abuse it. When you have "big google-y eyes" you need to weild that power carefully. I chose wisely. He needs to stop being cheap when he's out with his kids.

More useless facts.

Tomorrow I will be unsore enough to swim again. And I will do so unless the sky breaks open again.

I am still doing well physically, Getting fitter every day. Not smoking.

I love living on the beach like this.

The maid lost some of my clothes in the wash. (Gave them to the wrong guest? Sent them to cousins? Unknown.) So I had to buy some more. I look ridiculous in them. Oh well. They'll be stolen in the next wash so I'm not going waste time worrying about what use I'll have for such tacky beachwear once I get home.

I ignore stuff

Oct 25, 2008 at 9:23 PM
I chose to go for a second swim in the ocean today.

I ignored the advice of Shelley, who says I need to get out of the ocean when I get a little tired, and not overdo it.

I ignored my mother's advice (ringing in my head despite it being twenty years old) that said don't ever swim alone.

I ignored my own fear of swiming in the ocean in the daytime.

I swam well past the point of tired. I swam out out out and around the rocks to conchal and then up to conchal and up onto rocks, and jumped off, and then swam back to shore. I took lots of breaks to simply lie back in a float and rest. The good thing about a very salty ocean is that it is terribly easy to stay afloat in. Feels like flying, there is simply no effort in staying up.

It was sultry and warm and rocking and soft and totally not like my usual ocean-going experience.

Yes, I understand that the ocean is a two-faced bitch who will take my life if I let her. But today she was in a lovely mood and I took advantage.

I enjoyed myself tremendously. I lay back and floated along on the top of the waving, swaying water. I did long deep strokes until I realized I was FAR too far away from shore.

I returned to where I could feel the shells on the bottom again, and simply rested, laying down on top of the waves. Then I swam up and walked home. Past the too-friendly oozing tico boy trying to sell himself to me ("me sculpa"), past the flirty policeman who probably wanted a bribe, talking in sweetly demeaning terms for me that I've heard out of so many here. I smiled, said "yo no se, no comprendo", waved and kept walking.

Past a pack of dogs trying to tell me to buzz off - they wanted that section of beach for whatever reason - ("shoo! a fuera!"). Past the children wanting to sell me flipper fin shoes ("lo ciento, no pocetas" and the universal empty pocket signal).

Back to my room and back to work.

Can't ignore everything.

-------------

The most beautiful girl I think I've ever SEEN works at the Sol Y Luna, the Soda (the local word for a little restaurant cafe thing) across the town square. I can't help but stare at her. She probably thinks I'm a lesbian or something cause she looks at me funny now. What amazes me most is that she appears to have NO IDEA she's so pretty. I mean she is absolutely stunningly pretty in every possible measurement. But all she does all day, or cares to do from what I can tell, is take orders from locals -- the reason I bring this up is that this would never happen in the states. She'd be working in LA. SAhe'd have been sent to do modeling in New York by her family or SOMETHING. But the people here seem happy in their lives no matter what they look like. No matter what they do. It's an intensely strange thing for me to see. We're a lot more image oriented in the states.

There is no slanted media.

at 3:41 PM
Oh my god, here they are talking about the potential future VP with an absolute assumption of loss.



OK. Regardless of how you plan to vote - this kind of obvious manipulation is GALLING. The media mguls must think we're gullible saps.


"Gee, that sounds like fun. I guess i'd better not vote for Republican presidency, or else The Palin Pulpit will never be a show, and I wanna see that!

WOW. I would like to point out that you cannot get away with this kind of blatant manipulation in a society of thinkers.

Wake up people. Stop watching the stupid news to know what you think. Think for yourselves!!

Define:BFE

at 1:31 PM
I have been asked to define BFE, as used in my profile:

Blame it on my first career. That's when I learned my most colorful turns of phrase.

Honest, I'm not Vain

at 1:53 AM
I broke a world record. That's right.

I grew another silver hair out a total of 5 inches in just two days.

The only other option is that it was already there two days ago when I found the other one, and I refuse to accept that possibility.

I don't know whether to pluck and go bald eventually or leave them alone and have silver hairs. Meanwhile I pull them out mostly because that's the only way to really look at them closely. It's as though I think they will somehow turn out to actually be a small piece of wool or a strand of seaweed, or perhaps a sign that I'm actually going to go platinum blonde. Anything but silver hair.

If I just stare long enough.

The usefulness of wasted action

Oct 24, 2008 at 12:26 PM
I decided to go see Playa Conchal yesterday. I had been setting it aside for when I felt up to it because it is on the other side of that volcanic rock outcropping I've mentioned before.

As usual, on the walk to the South, I watched the patterns in the sand, plus I spotted some gorgeous shells which I picked up to give to my sister - who has a decorating-with-shells fetish that threatens to tilt the balance of her otherwise amazing and wonderful life. Actually, she pulls it off beautifully. Sea shell covered frames, mirrors and chandeliers are all over her house and they are simply amazing looking. I don't know how she pulls it off, but every house she lives in has a theme and it is all pulled together with exquisitely good taste. I am jealous. I am utterly missing the decorating gene.

Anyway, I collected some pretty shells for my sister on the way and had to leave them in a secret spot for myself when I reached the rocks. Rock climbing with your hands full is like skiing in high heels. It's not done.

So I tucked my flipflops into the back of my skirt (a beautiful look on me, I might add) and I started climbing. The volcanic eruptions that form this particular hillside appear to have occured at regular intervals over a period of time. The layers of rock have been tilted by plate tectonics - like a tipped over stack of pancakes. You can see a small bit of each layer in 30 degree angled stacks. Better than climbable, practically walkable in sections.

I easily made my way across the first third of it, and ran across a nearly naked local child, splashing in a pool in the rocks and trying to land his flip flop on a small fish living there. I kept going, around the section that wanders out toward the sea.

Near the steeper red hillside, almost halfway across to Conchal - I found dinosaur footprints, preserved in the rock. If I had to guess, the prints were made just before an eruption and the clay-filled soil was pressed and preserved between volcanic rock layers. I situated myself for a good long look. Very exciting. OK, they might not be dinosaur prints, but something about as heavy or big as an elephant made them when that rock was maliable soil. At some time before this was a beach, perhaps when water levels here were lower (or the land was higher?). Whatever creature it was was no where to be seen. When it lived, it had big, longish, two or maybe three toed footprints. It left a print about 6 cms deep. I stuck my feet into them. My feet looked small and I wondered at the size of the creature that made them. Prehistoric alligators? Huge land mammals? Small dinosaur? Unknown. I am not a good tracker. I can barely tell the difference between various prints made by present day animals.

I continued my round of the rock. The rocks got darker.

On the other side of the rock, the gaps between layers were full of water. It was crystal clear. In glancing for a better footing, I noticed a tiny blue crab picked algae off the rock. I settled in again, and watched him for a moment, living in his altogether temporary, impractical home, and noticed he was there with about 100 of his closest friends. It is amazing to me the ecosystem that will grow up in a tiny pool that might evaporate in the sun at any moment, yet thrives as though nothing is wrong. It is the nature of living things to prosper as well as possible in whatever space the world is wiling to give up to us - no matter how small or confined, as though nothing was wrong. I suppose between tides and rain, the crabs live in the tiny cracks in the rocks that I was so carelessly stepping on.

I moved on. I reached an area where I had to avoid stepping on little black, living sea creatures. I took a closer look.

Tiny little mussels were clustered around tiny little lakes in the rocks, (and there were more of my crab friends there). I felt like a giant standing beside beachfront property, watching the denizens press and punch forward toward the lip of the water - the best spot to be is apparently touching but not IN the water. Each little tiny black mussel was pushing his friends out of the way as best he could with his only muscle, his tongue. As the water continued to evaporate, I swear I could feel the mounting panic in the tiny world they were living in. It is a mussel squish mussel kind of world out there, people.

I chose to watch the brilliantly blue crabs instead, they at least weren't quite so mean to one another.

When I arrived on the other side of the rocks, the layers of rock widened apart slowly, and the space between was filled with white shells leading me to the beach like a royal welcome. A very easy end to the climb, making the last ten meters of rock far easier to "climb" than expected. And making me feel as though Conchal had foreseen my arrival somehow and arranged to carpet the last leg of my journey in its prettiest shells.

When I got there, I noticed other people. My fellow beachgoers clucked over me, telling me how dangerous it is to climb the rocks. I couldn't actually understand them but warnings of dire consequences look the same in every language. Tut tut, click cluck, tsk tsk.

Whatever.

Perhaps at high tide and if you've never climbed rocks before, it might be dangerous. But it was a very tame rock - easy hand and footholds, only a slight angle, piece of cake. Some parts could even be walked and it was only a simple rock outcropping, not even a long or tough trek.

I ignored them.

I wandered away and sat down. The entire beach has no sand -- it's all shells, every inch. Tiny and beautiful,smooth shells. It looks white fronm a distance, but up close, the shells are light pink, teal, white, and that fleshy pink color of baby toes. A little grey mixed in here and there, and tiny bits of that tan brown color we're used to in shells as well. Every so often, a little abalone winked at me in the sunlight. All the shells were as small as or smaller than a thumbnail. But there was no sand whatsoever.

It was lovely. All well rounded, no sharp edges. No dirt. No mud. You sank into shells up to your ankles walking the shore, and there was absolutely no dirt in the water, even when you slushed away the shells to look at the water locked in the beach. It was crystal clear and as the shore faded into the sea, became a lovely light greenish blue like a postcard as it slowly deepened.

Conchal is the most perfect beach I've ever seen, the most perfectly representative of tropical paradise of any place I've ever been on this planet.

I pulled my flip flops off my butt, fell over backwards and tucked my shoes under my head as a pillow and I let the warm, tropical water rush over me again and again. It was a soft, easy wave, because Conchal is a tide pool, hidden from the more heavy current on the other side of the rocks.

I lay there and laughed and enjoyed my magical bed of stunningly pretty sea shells and I suddenly understood what my sister loved about them. I laid there soaking up the sun.

Then, annoyingly enough, one of the locals who had chided me about climbing la rocas came over and pulled my arm. Nudge.

I opened my eyes, squinting up at her. I suddenly noticed I wasn't wearing a bathing suit, my clothes were soaked through and my skirt had ridden up enough to need fixing, but not enough to make me embarassed. I fixed the skirt while I looked up at the lady annoyed.

She said something in Spanish (again, with her mouth closed, how do they do that?) and I said "yo no se" - I don't know. My pat response these days.

She pointed up the hill a bit, away from the shell beach.

I looked. I watched an ATV crossing over a simple dirt path from Playa Brasilito to Playa Conchal.

I had somehow missed, from the other side, that there was an easy dirt path from one side to the other.

But if I had not taken the rocks, I would have had a far less enchantic journey.

I ran up and down Playa Conchal for a few minutes, and seriously enjoyed myself. I swam for a minute and was bone tired. Swimming is tough exercise. On the trip back, needless to say, I took the dirt path. But I thought of the tiny blue crabs.

Must Call Kids

Oct 23, 2008 at 2:02 PM
Ack! I haven't talked to my kids in days and days. I have to call them, but every time I think of them, I start bawling. It's always hardest for me after the TURNOVER.

Do any of you have the shared custody thing going on? How long do you spend apart from your children?

P.S. Kat, Oranges are green here.

P.P.S. I need a bleeping camera.

I have a phone number now

at 1:28 PM
Email me if you want my phone number while I'm here. With the power outages, I can't promise it will always work, but at least you can leave me voicemails and I'll call back. Love, Desi

P.S. I am in paradise and I have no flipping camera. ARGH! Well, the upsuide is: I'm in Paradise. In the offseason. It's GAWGEOUS anyway. And there are very few people here with me.

P.P.S. I found a few tall, thin, gorgeous Ticos yesterday. They were walking into an exclusive resort. I think that all the "pretty" locals work at the fancy hotels... Which would explain why I thought I was the tallest around these parts.

P.P.P.S Also, I saw lots of kinds of beer behind a bar yesterday, but the only ones anyone actually seems to be drinking are yellow beers.

Demands of the great wheel

Oct 21, 2008 at 4:07 PM
I am about to turn 32 and I just found a truly silver hair growing out of my head. Right out of it, plain as day. Straight up from the top.

My youth is OVER.

I never did drugs, no matter who was trying to get me to. I never wore bikinis even when I had my bikini body. I never tried to steal someone else's sweetheart. I have helped people in their endeavors as often as possible - rarely leaving someone behind unless they'd failed me at least three times. I never took any of those solicitous men up on their varied offers. I have had a very boring, helpful, purpose-driven life doing pretty much nothing but raising kids - mine and other people's.

I am a good person. So why is this happening?

Karmically, I'm due. I'm past due. If, on top of everything else, I have to have a silver hair now, A REAL silver hair, I want something in exchange. I want a man. That man that I deserve. Whoever the hell he is and where ever he's been hiding, it's TIME.

GIVE, life, give it here. Or else.

-------------

Addendum:

DAD: Reminds me of the good old days when I had hair on top of my head.
DESI: Puts things in perspective.

-------------

Oh great wheel:

In retrospect, thank you for continuing to grant me my abundant waves of coppery-brown-and-now-silver dead protein strands. If they all turn silver or even white, at least I have them. Perhaps you would consider sending the hypothetical good man in exchange for the hypothetical years of future charity and volunteer work I will be able to do if supported by said good man? I do understand that it doesn't work in foresight - but I sure would like one anyway.

Conch Shells and Public Relations

at 2:10 PM
I found a few pieces of conch shell on the beach today. It's as heavy and thick as a slice of marble. And as beautiful. I can't imagine how beautiful of a floor it would make if you could slice it up. I want a floor made of conch shell. It would be a readily renewable building material. And, unlike rare rocks, easy to grow more of.

The better water-knife and laser cutting tech we've got nowadays would make such a thing quite simple and easy compared to previous time periods. I think someone should get on that. You could sell that kind of surface to environmentally considerate people.

Of course, that depends on why they're environmentalists. Are they worried about killing things? If so, then that kind of environmentalism has no solution. In order to stop kiling things, we'd have to die. And humanity will never stop killing whatever it must kill to survive.

What environmentalism means to me is looking for ways to replace the linear use model with a renewable circular model. For instance. American logging is now a circular model. No need to place attention there. Not a single tree in America cuts cut down that is not replaced with a seedling. Renewable, circular. Perhaps not the USAGE of that wood, but quit bugging the timber ranches, people. They're doing it RIGHT now.

The red meat industry is absolutely linear. Only when a cow is used for a work-implement (plow), provides dairy, and is worked until old and THEN slaughtered for food does it make a nonlinear model. A small farm mentality toward cows is the ONLY method that makes sense, and is remotely circular. So I generally avoid cow meat that was produced en masse - or I try to. They have to make that model less linear first.

So, ANYWAY.

I took that walk North today. The Hyatt is going to build a hotel on the beach a kilometers down the beach to the north. They're going to rename that section of Playa Brasilito to some other made-up beach name so that they don't get the PR associated with Brasilito, and so they don't help out the existing tourism for Brasilito. Not very nice of them. And so they can make up a more exotic history for it, etc, I would guess.

It' the far North section of the Playa Brasilito, and there is a natural jetty created by a rock outcropping. Which of course creates very dangerous currents, as all such do. That would be why the original hotel (this one) was placed right where it is. Nice beach, easy currents, with just a slow drag northward... toward that area where the Hyatt's going to be. Wicked undercurrents there. The whole beach's current ends up sucking back out to sea there. But the Hyatt doesn't care, apparently. Or maybe they don't know how these things work.

It's going to be priced out of anyone local's price range, anyway. And since the hotel is a reasonable, authentic kind of place, rather than a tourist trap, it's not really going to pull any of Shelley's customers away, according to her. I'd agree. You get a totally different public - someone wanting the view but not the experience.

I picked up more trash. It's good exercise. I'm losing at least a pound a day right now.

Kat is a Super mom

Oct 20, 2008 at 8:29 PM
Solidarity to a mom who is seriously doing the right thing. I can live with a few broken comm cycles.

Go Team!

at 3:41 PM
I am so glad to hear that we've caught one of these dingleberries.

Thanks for spreading the good news, Grahame.

Anonymous has one leg in its own grave - crimes cloud you up, and over time they build up and make you stupid. And that is one thing we know for sure about these supposedly anonymous hackers. They are criminals. So, I rest easy knowing that they're going to make themselves into total tards soon the way they're going. That's why criminals like that just cannot and will not prevail longterm. They never do.

Call me optimistic, but I truly believe that goodwill and humane love for our brother men will be why we win the day and HOW we win the day.

I donated booklets in spanish about a workable moral code to a group that rescues poor tiko children from abusive homes. What did you do today, Anonymous?

Alternate Universe

Oct 19, 2008 at 8:44 PM
Differences:

Coca Cola tastes amazing here - real sugar makes all the difference. No corn syrup. It's manna from heaven. I've never loved any soda more. Better than IBC root beer, better than my favorite soda ever - whatever that was. I can't even remember now. I figured out why people used to love Coca Cola so much. It tastes effing perfect here.

People ride motorcycles on roads that would be suicide in the states. The potholes are huge here. And they do this at the apparent age of about 9, wearing nothing but shorts - no helmet or padding or anything, not even shoes.

The bridge being out doesn't stop people from driving their cars across it - finding the best path across the rubble. It's funny and scary at the same time.

The ocean is louder here - a constant, inevitable heartbeat... I can't deny the heady romance in listening to it. It sounds like life and sadness and love and beauty and the complex and simple in life, all rolled into the crashing of the waves. 24 hours a day, within throwing distance of my hotel room. Maybe it is louder because there is less white noise. (Except when the open air place next door is pumping out salsa music at ridiculous decibel levels.)

Buildings that have been condemned go on acting like nothing happened. The place next door has been condemned for ten years, I'm told. Doesn't keep the locals from throwing parties there.

My hotel is lovely. A little noisy on the weekends, but I love the location - dead center in the crescent shaped beach, with a million dollar view. Next to the town plaza (empty grass area with rotting sidewalks all round). Within spitting distance of the water, and with several tiny little restaurants around.

Another thing. Sidewalk, blacktop, and pavement of any kind appears to be made out of something far more destructible here. There are no flat paved surfaces. Anywhere. Every paved surface has potholes or worse.

But then again, I'm in the poorest remote part of Costa Rica. Which is still a nice improvement from the neighboring countries.

There is live music happening right now. A Canadian French man is singing Guantanamera in the restaurant next door. He sounds sad. But since he's the ex-husband of my good friend, I can't feel sympathy. I know too much about him. However, he sings on-key, quite well, and usually right on the rhythm, except when he doesn't remember the words, and singing on-key is exceptionally rare. His name is Mario.

Other differences?

Pineapples are so much better tasting here - fresher, and they cost almost nothing.

Apples are expensive. Oranges aren't orange here. Apparently they need frost to turn orange.

There is no real beer - only this strange yellow stuff that is called beer. No dark beer, no red beer, no stout, no nothing. I don't drink much beer - but I'm not going to be drinking ANY here at this rate. I only like deep red ambers.

Horrible corn pancake things baked between banana leaves are a popular treat. I bought some for twice what the locals pay. I hate them. Well, at least now I know.

Cake is intensely dry here.

Fruit is totally different and better here. And it's everywhere.

Trees have HUGE leaves. Just ridiculously huge, like a child's drawing of a tree.

My country is not called the USA here. It's "the states" or "estados unidos" but not a mention of America or the USA. I'm not an American, I'm a Gringa. Just like any other white lady - even if she's not from the North.

Milk products taste weird here. Milk isn't refrigerated and comes in what look like big juicy juice containers.

You can't get real yogurt. Only odd fake stuff that is called yogurt but tastes like processed kids yogurt in the states does. Bleuch.

Jelly is made out of totally different things here and comes in pouches, like most food.

Every kind of packaging or dangerous chemical process we've ever banned in the states seems to still be being done here. I don't know why, but most things don't spoil... strange and impossible in this heat. Something must be being done. So I'm avoiding dairy.

Those big black rocks offshore have a name here, Catalinas. Neat. I wonder what they're called at home. Did I just not know they had their own special word? Catalinas. I like that word. Catalinas.

The language is spoken with the mouth closed. I didn't believe Shelley when she said so, but there you go. She was right. I have no idea how they do it, but it's making learning the language difficult. I'm getting along OK, though. I can order my own dinner, but I usually get something that I've never seen, and isn't quite what I thought I was ordering.

Catalinas.

I took a walk today, and couldn't enjoy it - there was trash EVERYWHERE. I grabbed a trash bag and started picking it all up. I ended my walk with a view of a beautiful, clean stretch of beach in front of me and a VERY heavy trash bag that I dragged back up to the trash area next to the hotel.

A group of older men playing pool outdoors (another thing you don't see in the states) at an open air bar stared at me and scratched their heads. They looked totally baffled. As though they'd never previously had the thought that trash was something to pick up and remove from the landscape.

What EVER. Especially since I'd picked up about 50 of the exact kind of beer cups they were holding.

Among the trash I picked up were whole bags of trash themselves, several Nike shoes and sandals - no matches - a whole lot of empty glass bottles and those horrible plastic six pack holders that are banned in the states now - the ones that kill dolphins.

It makes no sense. This is possibly the prettiest stretch of beach in the world, in a gorgeous tropical paradise, and the local people have no sense of maintaining its pristine beauty. My theory? Preservation may not be part of a culture that has probably never had any (non-manmade) serious threats to survival. It's never cold here, there is always food, plentiful water. You get it. No need to worry about wrecking something, because there is plenty more like it.

The locals are all about 5 feet tall. I'm tall and exotic looking here. My blue eyes are unusual enough to get stared at. You'd think they'd seen other blue eyed people before, what with all the gringo visitors.

I have been hit on more times than I can count, and had two people declare their love for me on sight. It's quite flattering. But obviously a tear-away, disposable kind of love that I could wear myself out following up on looking for any substance. Nothing is treated as permanent here -- especially not a love affair. And I'm not the type to find value in that kind of easy, passing love. I can't help but wonder, what would these people think of a certain friend of mine, Melly? She's blonder and taller than me. I think some of these guys might fall over in a dead faint from the sheer weight of their temporary love.

Whenever I'm not the immediate love interest of a local, they completely ignore me.

I'll have no trouble dropping the weight here, because i'm sweating like a pig and eating pretty much nothing but enzymes and protein. I'm not fond of the bread items (dry). The milk is probably pure chemicals, and I've already quit smoking so my bad habits are all cut down.

Plenty of my favorites: chocolate and coffee.

The coffee -- even at the diner or from some kind of cafeteria -- is fantastic. I haven't had a bad cup of joe since I got here. It's all so smooth and strong and perfect.

The chocolate is seriously lacking. No flavor at all. Not creamy. Not sure what's going on there.

I took another walk of the beach later and made it to a natural barrier, some volcanic rocks that separate the two beaches from one another, Playa Brasilito and Playa Conchal. Playa Conchal owes it's beauty to that volcanic eruption. Otherwise it would be grey like this beach. Playa Brasilito is a simple (still stunning) grey sand beach, whereas one of the world's most famous white sand beaches is Playa Conchal, right next door.

This beach, Playa Brasilito, is a crescent shaped beauty itself. I like it. A LOT. I'm going to take my walk North tomorrow. I've only been walking South so far.

The sand on this beach, because of all the clay that has poured out of the mouth of the river lately, is a study in mathematical perfection. Red and grey and white streaks playing in complex patterns that I could study forever.

I walked staring down today.

I felt like an intruder, mashing the ink in a constantly evolving Escher lithograph, a metamorphosis in creation. There are perfect sworls in the sand, leading to diagonal rivulets or fresh water that run in a red meshwork across the perfect wave patterns of grey and white; evocative geometries.

Presently, as I continued to walk, I came across a plain of some kind. Those same patterns, but through which some tiny sand creature that lives just below the surface had drawn spirals and squiggles, along with all of his thousands of mates, in a completely unpredictable fashion.

I laughed.

It reminded me of the impetuous persistence of life. Mathematical precision in the patterns the waves leave behind, and life making its own intensely beautiful counter-action against that.

But again, you have to have my exterior view of it to recognize the beauty in it. There's the irony. Can't be it and see it.

Much of life is like that, I think. Break away, get some distance, and it starts to be beautiful, to be art, and even the rowdy, unpredictable shapes we make start to make more sense.

Maybe that explains what I'm doing at the equator, looking at the beach.

Adonis of the Rocks

Oct 18, 2008 at 9:45 PM
I made the mistake of opening my curtains today.

The world's most perfect looking surfer was riding the waves in front of my room, sliding and swooping and swinging around on the ocean like a ballerina in front of my room. It was graceful and rhythmic and I fell temporarily in heady, impossible love with his flippant curls, his artistry and the simple beauty of the sport.

Despite that he was quite possibly the most beautiful man I've ever seen in person, it was also the first time I've ever seen surfing up close, and I was just as struck with the beauty of the act as the man.

Seeing things for real makes them so much different. I swear TV has stolen so many perfect discoveries from me. It would have been so much more fun to have never seen anything approximating what he was doing, and then to have seen today's spectacle without a preconception.

It was hard to work for a little while. I was transfixed.

Meanings

Oct 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM
I wanted to find out what Barack Hussein Obama means.

Here is the meaning of the word OBAMA.

I like this better than the fake urban legend definition (Islamic for "terrorist" -- idiotic on a thousand levels -- not least of which is that Islam is not a language.)

Obama apparently means "Crooked Man" or "Bent Man" - which is supposedly a reference to his grandfather's appearance upon birth. Crooked was most likely a reference to a crooked body part. As such, the crooked reference is unlikely to have the same negative connotation in the original tongue that it does in English.

According to Sarah Silverman (some source, huh?) Barack means "lightning". This site agrees.

Hussein is too common a name to really consider the connection to any other famous Hussein. But the meaning can be considered and that is good or good-looking boy.

So Barack means "lightning" in hebrew, Hussein means "handsome good boy" and Obama means "crooked man".

So his name means "lightning handsome good boy bent crooked man".

Wow, that's quite an omen right there... If you believe in that sort of thing. A good boy but a lightning fast man bent on something? Or surprise handsome crooked guy?

It's just hoo-hah really, but fun to chew on when there is just WAY too much significance being associated with his name by everyone everywhere.

Yes, he's got an awful name. But that's not why you vote for a person. It is the meaning of the words that COME OUT OF HIS MOUTH that one should pay attention to. I won't even mention what I think about them. You guys already know I'm Libertarian.

I've arrived.

Oct 15, 2008 at 11:51 AM
Here I sit on the beach in Costa Rica. Beautiful, plain, baked-clay-tiled hotel room, closest one in the hotel to the ocean. Two room suite, with room for three friends to come here with me. High speed internet (faster than home) in this tiny isolated Costa Rican paradise, lovely rainy weather (rainy season means no mosquitoes).

I arrived Monday to San Jose - which does not give you a very good impression of the Country. Most of it looks a lot like what LA looked like when I was a little girl - maybe a little worse for wear, and certainly with some major differences like roundabouts instead of traffic lights. I think it maybe looks like LA WOULD have looked if the 70s economy had not improved by now.

They have WalMarts here - they just call them HiperMas (hyper-more) instead. I also went to a store that looked a LOT like a CostCo did in the 80s.

Seriously, Costa Rica is probably - if the US can keep themselves from fiddling with any more Central American economies - going to look a lot like the US in about 30 years.

Shelley's car broke down so we sent 4 hours longer than expected in San Jose.

More later - must turn off my computer, because there is an electrical storm happening.

First assignment for friends - look up Costa Rica on a map. Seriously, it is NOT an island in the tropics.

Another Reason She Rocks

Oct 7, 2008 at 9:24 PM
I have SO MANY LURKERS. And I know who ALL of you are. Would it kill you to comment once in a while? Maybe not on this post, but somewhere. I've got at least ten lurkers, but it always looks like just Kat reads this thing.

So, (in light of this momentuous ocassion, blah blah blah) I've renamed Kat's sidebar link in honor of her status as kick-ass blog commenter. No lurker, she.

Also, I have upgraded her link text because she is the only person who has ever noticed certain text (on this and every page) and complied. I wish there was a prize, snookie, but there is no prize. Sorry.

Art of the (Im) Personal Essay

Oct 4, 2008 at 8:50 PM
PERSONAL ESSAYS

The personal essay used to be a secret tool employed by the very few. Personal essays were associated only with the elite in society. Why?

Those who could actually get a personal essay published were those who could successfully work their way past a question from the publishing venue:

"Why do we care?"

In the response to that one question was the cruel death of some, presumably amazing, articles and essays that we will never ever get to read. An unfathomable loss to society. Maybe. We will never know. And that's the point.


I personally am completely in line with this new form of publishing and I hope it blows the old one out of the water. I think any person should be able to publish anything they want. If it's crap, let the readers decide. It was only because it was uneconomical to do so before that it wasn't done. There were overhead costs.

So, someone without a satisfactory answer to the publisher's eternal question ended up with secret manuscripts piled up in the attic for no one but their great-grandchildren to find.

BLOG POSTS

What you think of as the blog post is actually a personal essay. Sometimes they are also SHORT STORIES and sometimes they are more of a diary - completely bucking any form at all. Sometimes they are only used in lieu of email (which itself is in lieu of emails)

There is a very well defined tech to writing personal essays. Read "The Art of the Personal Essay" if you don't believe me.

The personal essay was recently stolen. It was stolen by YOU.

And thank God for that!

Now, it is no longer the sole proprietary field of the elite and the notable.

Now, any one of us may blog or write what we want.

Most of the time we end up writing about ourselves, and we've become proficient at it. I am daily engaged by the fascinating and humorous words that my friends write. And I never fail to find joy in the amazing preciousness of the simplicity and economy of communication lines in our society that allows it, the superb culture that generated the easy lifestyle we enjoy that makes it so we can rise above a simple fight for survival and create art in the form of a simple blog post.

Yes, I'm glorifying it. But it can easily be glorious. And I'm sure you know of an example wherein a simple blog post made you cry, decide to do good in the world or find a moment of peace within yourself. And that is glorious.

I loved writing, my whole life. I had no idea I was in such good company. I revel in the amazing fact that my friends are also writers. It was a secret! Now the secret is out.

The absolute freedom and economy in communication now available online (easily accomplishing communication with minimal energy or cost involved) that we take for granted as bloggers is a truly amazing leap forward for the personal essay. And, although the snobby high-brow among us, limited by class prejudices, believe we're damaging literature, We're not.

We're improving the art of the personal essay by beating it up and honing it into a truly marketable and amazing skill. Every science or art in history has gone through this evolution. It always results in a more useful art. More people doing something and more people getting more enjoyment from life cannot possibly lower the quality of the art -- or you're defining quality incorrectly.

As with anything that evolves, more economical ways are being found to accomplish the end goal, and that results in a great deal of poor quality product, but always humanity finds the wheat from the chaff and we end up with something golden. It is the golden posts that define the art of the blog.

So, as you all know, blogs are an evolving and wonderful place to be right now.

Sure, there is a lot of crap created, too.

I don't know how many times I've read a post where ellipses replaced all other punctuation. (As in: what am I thinking... I'm wandering... stream of consciousness... Follow me... even though this post is all about angst... and woe...)

But there are also SHINING EXAMPLES of amazingly well written and thought provoking pieces. Well done, bloggers.

If I follow you, or link to you, You know this. You not only write blogs, you read blogs, and you're seeking out the good writers. There are two sides to blogging, and we all work to give as well as we receive around here.

And that is where blogging is, evolving as a multi-flow art and science into something I am very excited to be a small part of.

THE DOWNSIDE

The saddest thing about the evolution of any science or art is those who are left behind but rightly deserve a place within it.

Twisting in the wind, so to speak. And our older generations, not raised in the lightning quick computer age, and very rarely even owning computers, are sitting right there, twisting in the wind right now.

EASY FIX

So why not try to take along with us the people who came before us?

We all know the archetypal cliché -- a young person finds hope and humor in the wise words from an older person they run into when not expecting wisdom: wizened, toothless, yet sharp-as-a-tack, knowing. Happens in books or movies all the time.

I am going to pore through my life looking for an interesting and never published item written by someone else - the blog version of the above cliché.

I am going to look for someone older, or just not cursed with blessed with the computer skills prerequisite to having and using a blog. I'm going to ask them for a true story from their life - something they'd like the world to know. A brief personal essay.

Failing that, I'm going to find something that never made it past the editor's question or never got a chance to. And I'm going to post it to my blog. Something that nowadays would totally have been mandatory to post about, and would have been a GREAT post by my own definition.

I'm calling my project the Im-Personal Post Project. Join if you want. Spread the news, and ask everyone to tag it as "impersonal post" or "impersonal post project" or something so I can find the other posts in the project. Let's find something that we'd all want to know and post it to the world for everyone to read.

I think it'd be great. Or at least has a chance to achieve greatness.

I'm voting because I'm strangely attracted to celebrity...

Oct 2, 2008 at 6:12 PM


Why are you voting?

History of Blog Topics

at 12:11 PM
Wow. Amazing article from Jennifer Laycock. Love the charts and detailed analysis -- got it as part of work-related SEO stuff, but found it interesting only on a personal level.

Read: Bloggers Really Do Talk About Everything - By Jennifer Laycock

It's nice to know that topic bloggers and world-events related bloggers are still dominant. The graph makes that obvious. It's also nice to se the growth of the blogging world displayed in such crystal clear clarity. I feel very secure.

I wonder how the financial hullabaloo will rank? Higher than the Hezbolah thing? Maybe not, but I think so. 1. A LOT more bloggers every day. 2. A lot of scared people out there. The only item that might temper that down is that the financial crisis is a lot more spread out over time.

An Urban Legend Collector's Nirvana

Oct 1, 2008 at 9:31 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Urban_legends

Oooooh.

Revenge of the Fleas

at 2:12 AM
In revenge for removing their lunch, the fleas are attacking me tonight.

I think it is a combination of treating the dogs, washing the dogs, humidity changes and the fact that I coated myself in raw steak (OK, maybe not the last one) but I'm being viciously, maliciously attacked by the largest INSTANT flea infestation EVER.

E-VER.

I want to bathe in deet right now.

Sorry Charlie

at 1:16 AM
I promised a dog I'd care for him, and I adopted him. Now I've given him away. I feel lousy for ever having done that.

Except he seems OK with it - he really likes the guy.

He may have frustrated me, bothered my Tucker-boy, and chased cows, but I realized today when I gave him away that I've grown a pretty funny affection for that dog.

I don't feel like waxing funny, pithy, witty, poetic or otherwise waxy about this.

Talk to you tomorrow.