Monday, October 27, 2008

As moving day approaches

We're moving on Wednesday, in case you haven't heard. Though I think anyone within a 20-mile radius should know already, as I've been shouting it from the mountaintops. In the words of Lightning McQueen, I've been stuck in Hillbilly Hell. Get me out of here. It can't come soon enough, and all that.

So we found a great house in Santa Ana that I absolutely love, and I'd tell you all about it, except that it's for sale and I don't want you to buy it, because maybe I want to buy it myself next year. Maybe. Depending on how the economy down here is looking. It is a great house, though, in a great location.

The thing about moving that sucks majorly is the moving process itself. The acquiring of boxes, the filling of boxes, the getting sick with the flu and lying in bed for days while wishing boxes would pack themselves, the packing of boxes two days before the moving truck arrives. Ah, moving. We've done it so often (9 times in the past 8 years, not including moving from California to Costa Rica), that I think we could do it in our sleep.

Today we spent two and a half hours (yes, you read that right) getting our cable and internet stuff worked out at CableTica. Turns out that when we canceled our last CableTica service, they didn't actually cancel it, and wanted to charge us like $150 for three months of service that we weren't even in the house. Including some pay-per-view movies (and we have never used pay-per-view!). F that, is what I said. Esposo worked it out, and we got a new service without paying all that old nonsense. But he did have to sit there for more than an hour arguing with the customer service guy, then arguing with his manager. I have to hand it to him, though, he did it. And I think that in a week or so we will have cable and internet at the new house. Hooray.

As I was going through things, figuring out what to throw away, what to pack, and what to donate, I found some old photos. This one isn't too great, but it is really special. These are my girls, Lucy and Mable. I have very few pictures of them together where May-May isn't sick (even in this picture, though, you can see that she's blind in her left eye). This was taken during better days. I miss these girls so much. You know how you have one special dog in a lifetime, that dog that would do anything for and for whom you would do anything? Lucy was that dog. I loved her (and still love her) so much.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Want a real Halloween pumpkin in Costa Rica?

I saw some today at Pricesmart. They were 6,000+ colones, or around $11. Each. Oh, and AutoMercado has them as well; around $13 each over there. And none of them was a really nice, big, round, unblemished Halloween-y pumpkin.

Ouch. I'm thinking pumpkins are not so expensive in the States. Of course, they have to ship them from there to here, so you should expect to pay exorbitant pumpkin prices here.

You can buy a watermelon for a couple bucks, paint it with orange poster paint, and carve that, if you want to save a few bucks. I might do that. Or carve a papaya. Actually I've seen friends do just that. You could carve pinhead.

If you're looking for something political to do with your Halloween pumpkins this year, Associated Press has some ideas. Otherwise, enjoy this small bit of pumpkin humor.*

Why you should not leave alcohol around your Halloween pumpkins.

*Sorry, I don't know where this photo came from or who took it; it was one of those silly things that gets sent around the internets and forwarded and forwarded on into infinity until it finally found its way to my inbox. If anyone knows who took this pic, I'd love to give them credit, because I think it's pretty freaking funny.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well, that's a first

This morning as I was going in the laundry room to do the wash, I noticed something that looked like a brown ribbon or yarn on the floor. Imagine my surprise when, upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a snake. A small one, only about six inches long, and most likely a harmelss garden snake, but a snake nonetheless. Unfortunately, the poor little thing was dead, but esposo and son and I had a good look at it before I put it on the other side of the fence. It was strange; it had sort of curled up with its head up, and didn't look as though the cats had gotten it at all, so I couldn't figure out what it had died from. Esposo thought it may have come in through the grate in the hole in the laundry room floor (and if I hadn't mentioned it before, our laundry room looks like it was, at one time, an outdoor space that someone slapped a roof over, as it has rain gutters on the inside of the room).

Life in the tropics.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is it weird?

Rachel Ray is making dog food. As weird as it may, in fact, be, that's not the weird part to which I refer. She is also donating profits from the sale of said dog food ("Nutrish," naturally @@) to animal nonprofits. (Good for her, on that point.) She was on Food Network the other night talking about the dog food with her dog, Isapoo. What is weird is that we also call our dog (my "baby") Isapoo. How many dogs out there can possibly be called Isapoo, and why does Rachel Ray's have to be one of them? That is the weird thing.

Actually my dog's name is Isabella, though we often refer to her as Pooh, and just as often shorten it to Isapoo. Now, in all fairness, she might have been calling her dog Isaboo, and not Isapoo, so maybe I misheard her. Still... still... it's weird.

My Isapoo

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I have my tickets!

Woo-hoo! I've been waiting like seven years to go see Beto Cuevas. Actually I wanted to see La Ley, but then they broke up, and it's been three years in the making of B.C.'s own disc. Anyhow, he's playing at The City Club in Zapote on November 5, so I will be celebrating President Obama's win on that night with Chris. If you want to go, Credomatic has the tickets.

And the below is especially for Manders, just so all of you out there know I am not gratuitously posting Beto Cuevas videos without having good cause. :-)

P.S. I am thinking about getting a real j-o-b. That thought is both scary and kind of exciting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's about time, part II

The tiny state of Connecticut has seen the light; when will the rest of the country follow suit? When will the time come when it just isn't an issue anymore?

High Court Grants Gay Marriage Rights

The Supreme Court released its historic ruling at 11:30 a.m. Citing the equal protection clause of the state constitution, the justices ruled that civil unions were discriminatory and that the state's "understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection."

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," the majority wrote. "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others." Read more...

She lost

Did anyone else out there watch the Latin American Idol finale last night? We did, of course (me for previously stated reasons, esposo because he was hoping the Costa Rican girl would win). I have to admit, I think the Costa Rican girl, Maria Jose, was a lot better than the Panamanian girl, Margarita, but Maria Jose didn't win, despite esposo's sending of not one but two text messages to vote in her favor. Oh well. It's all kind of silly anyway, since a lot of people seem to vote on who they like best, not on who is the best. That asshole guy from American Idol always says it's a popularity contest, and I would have to agree with that. I mean, not that I watch American Idol or anything! [cough, cough] I am pretty sure Maria Jose will do just fine without winning.

And Beto Cuevas was, as usual, hot. Do not listen to Chris when she says he has a Rick Astley thing happening. Hmpf.

File under: It's about freaking time.

If any of my friends have ever wondered why I refused to buy gas at Shell, read this article. And the perps are finally being brought to trial. I read Ken Saro-Wiwa's book A Month and a Day about 10 years ago (published after his sham trial and execution). All I can say is, it's about time. May justice finally come for Saro-Wiwa and his fellow protesters.

Royal Dutch Shell to Go to Trial for Complicity in Torture and Murder of Nigerian Protesters

NEW YORK - October 8 - Yesterday, Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York set a trial date of February 9, 2009 for a human rights and racketeering case against the Royal Dutch Shell company (Shell) and the head of its Nigerian operation, Brian Anderson. The case was first filed in 1996. The judge rejected Shell's attempt to file additional legal motions to postpone a trial date.

"We are looking forward to finally bringing Shell into court, where we will prove their role in the torture and murder of our clients and their pattern of human rights abuses," said CCR attorney Jennie Green. "It's time for our clients and their families to see justice." Read more...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a Latin American Idol

And a Brazil's Next Top Model, but that is a post for another day.

Next week is the Latin American Idol finale. Latin American Idol is like the sad stepchild of American Idol, aspiring to be so much more than its current station in life. American Idol is filmed in some big theater in Los Angeles. Latin American Idol, I'm not even sure, though the finale is shot at a Hard Rock Cafe (in Panama, I believe). The American Idol wannabes hawk Fords; their Latin American Idol counterparts, Hot Pockets. The American Idol wannabes are pretty good, generally speaking; Latin American Idols? Not so much. They usually sound more like a karaoke contest than anything else.

Anyway. One of the two finalists this year is a Costa Rican. Last week, when they take the last three contestants home for a little tour (though this year it was four), the Costa Rican girl showed us around her town in Heredia. Esposo, of course, knew it was Heredia (and said at the time, Thank goodness they shot this at night), though to me it could have been any little town in Costa Rica, as they pretty much all look the same. The finale is this Wednesday night on the Sony channel (31 on Amnet cable). I don't usually watch Latin American Idol, but esposo and I will probably be tuning in this week. Just, you know, for fun. And to watch Beto Cuevas. At least, that's why I will be watching. For esposo, I guess he's rooting for the Costa Rican. Me? I could care less.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Houston, we have good beer. And soap.

Finally! AutoMercado has gotten some microbrews in, good news for those of us who enjoy a beer that does not smell (faintly or otherwise) of cat urine. At least, I am pretty sure they are microbrews. At least, they aren't Pilsens or Imperials! Reason for celebration, I think. I am guessing, though I haven't confirmed it, that this recent stocking of the brew may be due to friend Vicky, who gathers lists of things we ex-pats wish we could get down here* and passes them on to a buyer she knows who works for (or maybe even owns, I'm not sure) AutoMercado. For my part, I always request "good beer" and "eco-friendly cleaning products," and lo and behold, AutoMercado now carries both! I mean, hey, where else in Costa Rica can you get a pale ale and eco-dishwashing detergent?!?! Go, Vicky! Thanks!

So here's what we've got:

From left: Pranqster, Scrimshaw, Red Seal Ale, and Acme Pale Ale.

I haven't decided yet if my favorite is the Acme Pale Ale or the Pranqster, both just yummy as can be, both of which remind me of my California home (esposo says the Acme is "California in a bottle"). I also enjoyed the Red Seal Ale, but the Scrimshaw, not quite as much (though it's still better than anything the Cerveceria Costa Rica makes). I'd give you a better review (ala, "it has a bold, full-bodied hoppy flavor"), but they went far too quickly to take notes. Maybe next time. They are not exactly cheap (from about 1600 to 2000 colones a bottle, or around $3-$4 each), but for someone who can appreciate good beer, they're worth it. Try one out and tell me what you think.

And? You can now buy a whole bunch of Ecover cleaning products, from dishwashing liquid to fabric softener, but if you're tempted, forgo the "eco-friendly bleach" and just do a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water yourself (since that's all it is). Yesterday, I noticed they're carrying another brand of eco-friendly cleaning stuff as well! Does it get any better? Woo-hoo! I jest, but for people like me who have uber-ridiculous chemical sensitivities, being able to buy something that isn't loaded with chemicals and smells is like a dream come true. Just walking down the cleaning aisle in the store is enough to bring on a migraine. I think the last thing we have here in the house that still has nasty chemicals in it is a bucket of laundry detergent, but when that's gone, we'll have as close to a chem-free house as one can have here. So Vicky, if it is you I have to thank, thank you! (I do know it was Vicky who got us Ben & Jerry's.) You've made my life here so much easier.

P.S. I discovered that all the beer comes from North Coast Brewing Company in Mendocino, California. And they have lots more, hopefully some of which we will get to try down here soon. Hooray!

* Inevitably, someone always requests friggin' lima beans. What the hell is wrong with people? Of all the things you could get from the States... lima beans? Seriously? Bleh.

Good morning to me

We have this incredible view of the Central Valley from our backyard. But not for long. I awoke this morning to a backhoe being unloaded in front of our house, and not long after that, it was hard at work digging up and flattening the coffee field directly behind our house. The smell of backhoe exhaust filling my office first thing in the morning -- wonderful! Or instant migraine, you choose. Ugh. At least we're only renting here, and that not for long. I can't imagine the landlord getting what he wants for this house with the construction going on (it is on the market, in fact). Anyone who came to look at it would soon figure out one of the major selling points -- the view -- is soon to disappear.

The view from son's porch first thing this morning.

Guess I'd better start packing...