Friday, March 31, 2017

splish splash

Good-bye to March~it did not live up to the "in like a lamb" as we kicked off the month with tornado watches and now we're having a violent thunderstorm and a deluge.

Definitely getting my money's worth out of these fun boots~they do make me happy every time I splish around in them.  Happy Friday, all y'all.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

digging for the happy

While this is remotely close to the Caribbean, it was still nice to hear a bit of waves today.  The other happy is that we did our monthly fire drill at a decent hour tonight.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

officially spring

Not by the date on the calendar nor due to everything blooming~no, it's when the Seniors suddenly decide they've had enough high school.  That seemed to hit this morning at 10:15 when the last of them finished their presentations.  (At this school, each senior does an ISP [independent study project] beginning in August and finishing today.  So, yeah.  They've earned the right to coast for while now.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thé sans confiture et pain

There was an elegant Honor Roll Tea this afternoon that I attended with one of my advisees.  (And no, there are no photos of the actual event.  Too gauche to whip out one's phone for selfies.)  It was lovely and, as I pointed out to the administrators, about 80% of the invited students were in the musical.   :) 

And then, as I was running a quick errand~saw a car full of balloons.  Someone is getting a fun celebration this evening!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

planted, bloom

These blooming weeds aren't quite the same as the acres of bluebonnets, but they say 'spring' nonetheless.

The post office's cupola.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Le plan du jour was to go explore one of the Smithsonians that I have yet to see, but my Metro station was closed.  Still am not feeling great, so wasn't up to being shuttled around on a bus to a working station and returning in the same manner.  So, I came back.  

When an ocean visit isn't possible, driving fast~windows down/music up comes close to delivering the same therapeutic value.  Wind in the hair solves a lot of things.  And!  I bought my kitchen a serrated knife~after twenty-four years of being in business, decided it was time. 

Friday, March 24, 2017


So grateful that my voice returned a bit today~after a week of some plague.  SO deeply grateful that I am not on-duty this weekend~tomorrow is the postponed (& perhaps ironically named) Snow Ball and I do not have to chaperone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Forgot to post a pic of this fun gift I received last week!  My palette is known well at my sister's home. Looking forward to making these into some kind of frosting for dark chocolate cupcakes.  And, with the weather dipping back into the 20s~a perfect time to turn on the oven.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

sprigs of happy

Some bejeweled pencils to add sparkle to writing.

Some of the teeniest blossoms I've ever seen. 

Some beautiful green flowers.

More funds for travel found while walking to the post.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

sprinkles of spring

Some blossoms, either not deterred by the latest snow~or planted over the weekend.  

Friday, March 17, 2017



This would have been lovely, oh say, at Christmas time.

I broke my 'no noise-making toys to Littles' by gifting this teeny frog yesterday. 

Hard to get a clear pose with these active ones! 

My visit was truncated by coming down with some kind of flu.  Fortunately, I don't have to be upright until Monday morning.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


So, the re-entry from holiday is always hard, but it seems truly icky with the abrupt change in temperature and returning to a sitch where I am not flourishing.  Since this blog is supposed to be about the joy in the day, here are the positives about being back in the US:

  • I can drink tap water any time/anywhere~no buying and/or lugging around water bottles.  Except to my classroom.  And while driving.  But still, I can refill them for free.

  • Not shaking out shoes/clothing/bedding to see if anyone else if living there before I get dressed or crawl into bed.

  • Dry clothing~maybe one gets used to being damp all the time.  Or?  Maybe if you’re not living out of a suitcase, you’ve got more than three tops to rotate on the clothesline.

  • Not having to douse myself with bug spray before opening a door or turning on a light.  Oh wait.  It will soon be spring here and I will.

  • Driving my own car.  While public transportation can be cheap and you can have some wonderful encounters~you are also at the mercy of someone else for the volume, temperature, arrival time (well, traffic can screw you over while driving as well), and rest stops.

  • Not having to worry if I made it clear that I am a vegetarian.  
  • Spending the weekend with my family~hopefully getting to do a fun outing or two with my remaining days of break.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

au revoir

Cool strata of mixed sands. 

Cool idea for a way to display shells~I chopped off the top of the photo, but they're holding fresh flowers in place.

Last cup of beach coffee. 

The lovely courtyard at the city hotel where I had dinner.

Flavors of Texas!

While I did have a wake-up knock, the hotel grounds had a flock of chickens and couple of roosters, so I was well awake by 5 to catch the airport shuttle.  The moon was out and the breeze was warm.  The day went rapidly downhill from there.  

The screening equipment in my line wasn't working~even the security people were setting it off.  As I was wearing a tank top and flip-flops, I don't know why they couldn't just let me go through.  Barely made my flight.  But I did get my bottle of hot sauce through.  So, there's that.

Miami-Dade Airport is a mess.  Dirty and disorganized.  Our flight kept getting delayed and then, after they let us board?  We sat on the tarmac for over an hour.  I was fortunate enough to sit next to a chick who had enjoyed the duty-free shop~my eyes were watering from the stench of perfumes.  (It was so strong that I could smell it on my clothes eight hours later when I got home)

Pretty sunset in DC
Finally got to DC where the wind chill was 12.  Standing and waiting for the shuttle in said tank/flip-flops was not fun.  But, I did find my car and lurched it out of the ice/snow bank in which it was stuck.   Back at my place long enough to do laundry and swap out my island wardrobe for winter clothing~fleeing early in the morning as the alarm company is there all day, testing alarms and strobes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers

While we expect kindness from our kith and kin~there is something so pure and so stunning when a complete stranger does a gesture of kind.  Even more so if you don't share a language.

Today began with my usual beach meander (oh how I'll MISS walking down the beach and directly up to a cafe) to have a cup of coffee.  Then I hung out in the hammock at the B & B and had my last fresh coconut water.  My host and my little Montreal ami walked me down the lane and hung out with me until the bus came by.  Hugs and wishes for safe travels sent me down the road to San Jose.

I don't know who made this map, but I'm pretty sure no one has ever driven it in under four hours.  Between the volume of trucks (Del Monte, Chiquita, Dole~Limon is a major port on the Caribbean) and the insane motorcycles~winding up into the mountains takes about five or six hours.  When there's one road across the country, everyone is on it.  We stopped occasionally for bathrooms or snacks.  We also picked up random people~everything seems verrrry casual here.

After a woman boarded, she sat next to me and asked if I spoke English.  (How cool that after only a week, I am beginning to act local).  Said yes and we started chatting.  Turns out that she is from Sequim!!!   And she's lived in Costa Rica for two years now and adores it.  She gave me all the ins/outs should I want to move here.   She does CSI work for the national government.  This.  This is one of the reasons I love to travel.  All these connections.  Also had a lovely chat with a girl from Switzerland who quit her job and is in CR for a month and then heading to San Francisco.  Just on a whim to see some of the world.

We got to the edges of San Jose and the bus driver wanted to know different hotels where we were staying. For some reason, he couldn't go to mine (even though it's an airport hotel), but they dropped everyone off at a Dennys.  (see what I mean about casual?) The driver said that he would call his taxi-driving friend to take me to my hotel.

Which is all fine, but those off-license taxis don't take Visa and I didn't have cash left because I didn't think I needed it.  My seatmate happened to know a woman on the bus who was fluent in Spanish, so they explained it all and then, she loaned me the four thousand colones for the taxi fare.  She refused to give me her name or address.  Told me that I should move here and take care of other wandering travelers.  (Which is about $1.50.  But still.  It's the gracious gesture in the middle of a strange city at night.)

I realize that I've had a charmed trip.  I came pretty much on a whim.  I don't speak the language.  I picked places to stay/eat based on internet comments or just by walking upon them.  This airport hotel is another example of this ease.  It's a lovely walled-garden oasis right by the airport. I'll post photos of my al fresco dinner when I'm back in my phone range.  

Another 5 a.m. wake up for the airport, but hopefully I will be able to sleep on the leg to Miami.  And hopefully, Dulles will have dug itself out from under the blizzard by the time I need to find my car.

My last signing off in Costa Rica.  

For now.

Monday, March 13, 2017


This morning, I hiked for two hours in the jungle~poisonous red frogs and eyelash vipers made for colorful road side attractions.  Most of my readers will know when I say it was like hiking up Willamina's driveway for two hours~with a heat index of 106.  So, I zoned out of a bit of the lecture.  I do vividly remember the owner/farmer saying that once the cacao bean was used as currency.  Gotta admire a country who uses chocolate as money!

This viper is teeny and hangs out generally in yellow flowers~waiting to eat....hummingbirds.  And that's pretty much all there is to say about it's character.

This trek was to view a cacao plantation and see the process of chocolate from tree to finished product.  It was incredible to taste the range of flavors from each farm.  Just as wine has distinct terroir, so do the cacao tree.

This company has an interesting and meandering story.  Once I'm stateside, I will upload all my own photos from the tour.  We drank chocolate Aztec style~with honey and chili and then did pairings.  We had four basic chocolates from local farmers and piles of:  coconut, basil, ginger, chili, rosemary, black pepper, sea salt, cinnamon, vanilla from which to choose.  It was incredible to have these flavors in one's mouth, staring down at the Caribbean with the breezes blowing.

There was a sloth outside the roasting shed that would look down when the owner whistled.  That was as much movement as we got out of it.

The tempering process. 

Another view of the tastings.  I am truly loathe to return.  Not ready to go from 106 to 24 degrees.  Not ready to leave the ocean and pura vida.  One more fabulous meal in town tonight and tomorrow is the shuttle back to the city to catch my flight early Wednesday.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

de papillons et de bénédictions

The words are fewer as the mind quiets.  Sleeping so deeply here~the self is flourishing with so much walking and natural foods.


As one cannot take aerosol through airport security, I had to resort to cream sun tan lotion. I have some very splotchy patches of sunburn and was trying to find some aloe. Finally found one bottle at this farmacia, but I didn't have quite enough cash on hand. The man let me have it for what I had in my coin purse.  How nice was that?  I offered to come back today to give him the rest, but he said no worries.

And!!!!!  Despite not going to the butterfly region, I've seen several pretty ones and today! I finally saw the blue one that I'd been hoping to see.  Gorgeous.  So gorgeous. 

It is the hottest day I've seen here~not a puff of wind.  But the storm clouds are piling up, so it ought to cool off soon.

Went back to my favorite cafe for lunch. 

The lovely owners. 

I was most amused during lunch~sitting next to two German tourists who were insistent about NO sugar in any of their food.  Why there would be sugar in a veggie sandwich, I was unclear.  They made their request repeatedly.  And?  The moment the server walked away, they stuffed all the sugar and Stevia packets in their knapsacks.  Bizarre.

Back to the pura vida.

(Apologies for not responding to all y'alls comments, but for some reason, it won't let me.  I'll reply when I'm back Stateside.)