Friday, November 27, 2009

At the risk of sounding depressing I'm going to write about depressing things, because what's the point of faking happiness? It just ain't happening now in massive quantities...
I miss Diablo and Astrid. I really, really miss them. There's nothing else to say about it. I want to be with them so badly.

As previously mentioned in previous blog entries, we might not be going back to Costa Rica. Financially, it was harder than we thought it'd be, and we can't go back scraping bottom. Not with two little kids. The thought of not going back makes us very, very sad. Despite all the hardship we had the last few months--there was definitely a lot of hardship at times--we have officially been infected with the Costa Rica bug. What will I miss the most? Our friends, all our new friends, the drop-dead physical beauty, the horses in the big field, Lula's teachers and classmates, pollo frito con pappas, learning Spanish,
***After writing the above, having a good cry, then looking at the sunset with husband, writer put on long socks (one striped grey and teal, one solid aqua) and realized she might like to wear high-heeled shoes with them. As in, wear clothes one does not usually wear in Costa Rica. As in, maybe...hmm...maybe...one is not so opposed to living elsewhere? Perhaps in Zimbabwe or Finland? ***

It's true--the reality of not going back to Costa Rica and Samara, in particular, is not cheery. But I've been realizing lots of things in the last two weeks:

I really, truly, madly love June and James, Jesse and Melissa, Robert, Venenzia, Victoria, Noah, Earie, and all of Joedy's relatives, there being 6389 in Corpus alone. I'm not kidding! I'm not kidding about thinking they're cool, either--when your mother-in-law demands a Texas hoedown after Thanksgiving dinner, with table-top dancing provided by her, you know what you already knew: she's a keeper. Your father-in-law, who has a fine appreciation for local agriculture, is a keeper too, not even saying "Are you freaking kidding me??" when you showed up at the airport with your cat. Lula and Malko have been made much of by their grandparents and family in general, and it's been...what can I say? It's been great, as great as having my family--especially Robert, my stepfather, who drove here from Santa Barbara--closer the last couple weeks. We might still be a plane ride away, but we're (most of us are, anyway) in the same country, at least!

There are more places in the world we want to see. Zimbabwe and Finland, definitely. And I think if we want to, Joedy and I can go back to Costa Rica sometime, some way, though we might be using walkers by then. Costa Rica will be there, and--at the huge risk of sounding cheesy--Costa Rica will always be in our hearts. There. That WAS horribly cheesy. But fun!

While thinking about the pros and cons of Costa Rica, Austin, Providence, and Santa Barbara, I realized there'll be beautiful things AND hardship everywhere, and that I'll miss some people no matter where I am. At the even huger risk of sounding even cheesier and, for extra effect, overly self-concerned, I'm going to say that I'll miss the person I was in Costa Rica. I don't feel comfortable wearing a lion's-tooth necklace in Corpus, and that's annoying. Also: sarongs! Seriously: I miss Rojo, my bike. Riding it around potholes on the way to Lula's school, feeling freer than I have in recent and not-too-recent memory. Being freakishly happy at times, despite the difficulties. It was really fun, being there!

In a couple days we're going to Joedy's cousin Katherine's house in Austin. I'm looking forward to checking out Austin. I hope it'll be cold enough there to wear these socks, with or without heels.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Your life as a what?

A turkey, you know--a big fowl. Gobble gobble?

Oh yes! Right. I see the resemblance.

Thanks. I'll look even more like one tomorrow, when I have stuffing stuck to my face. Right now it's more metaphorical, I guess.

Oh? You feel like a metaphorical turkey?


Um, I think you have your birds mixed up.

At this point it doesn't matter. It's all about the pea-sized brain, really. Ok, and the ruffled pinions.

Why are your pinions ruffled? I thought things were going swimmingly, despite the "unusual circumstances"!

As swimmingly as swimming through a boatload of gravy. Last night it hit me that I'd been carrying my will around in my back pocket for the last few days. What the?

You've really been identifying with that turkey, I guess! Did the will mention what you'd like done with your gizzard?

No, it just talked about Lula and Malko.

I see. As in, what should happen to the little chicks if...?


Ok. Ok. Listen, you big dumb fowl. YOU ARE NOT DYING. No one is going to eat you for Thanksgiving! You're in perfect health, and even if you were on the menu you'd make for a disappointing meal. Kind of stringy, you know? Probably bony, too.

Thanks. This is comforting.

You're welcome. Frankly, I don't know why you thought anyone would find you appetizing. Those knees! Ha ha!

Right, I get it. So, if I wouldn't taste like a turkey, why do I feel like one?

Hm...maybe because you begged all these people to come visit you in Costa Rica for New Year's, and now it turns out you might not be there yourself? Maybe, especially, because your sister Nuria and her boyfriend Oliver went ahead and bought plane tickets? And you had to tell her you might not be there after all? Given those things, I can definitely understand why you feel like a turkey.

Yeah, even though Nuria was more than gracious and understanding, it's a crappy situation at best. Actually wishing someone would just throw me in a baking dish and get it over with.

Some people might find that statement alarming. I think you're just being dramatic, and in a few hours you're going to be all "oh, everything's fine!" again. So...you might as well just can it.

Canned turkey? Sounds great! I'll get started as soon as I finish plucking these feathers off my knees...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

So, Isabel, here yar in Texas--what's next for you guys? When you going back to Costa Rica?

I don't know!

Really? You don't know?

Yep, really--I don't know!

Why don't you know?

Oh, I don't know...

Well, how can you not know?

I don't know.

Ok---what are you going to do about Lapis, then?

We're not sure.

Well, for god's sake, are you bringing him back to Costa Rica with you?

We don't know.

How about the dogs? How much longer are they going to stay with your friends in Costa Rica?

I wish I knew...

Ok. Do you think you might be staying in Texas, then? Or moving to Rhode Island?

You know, I really don't know...

So, basically, you don't know anything about anything. This is VERY ANNOYING!!!

I know. Believe me, I know.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here we yar in Texas. We got in the day before yesterday, with a surprise for Joedy's parents, June and James: our cat! As I told James, they don't need to worry, we're not trying to pawn Lapis off on them, but I must say he does look very cute on their dryer!

The trip here was long but actually pretty fun, if you like getting in a loud verbal altercation with your husband in the airport, at your gate in front of your fellow passengers. An altercation about, essentially, a certain gourmet airport quesadilla someone #1 wanted to have but that someone #2 didn't walk quickly enough to allow someone #1 to get. Someone #1 was of course extra displeased with this outcome because she had been thwarted out of her first attempt at that quesadilla on the way to Costa Rica! Because, among other things, she'd had a baby strapped to her in the airport and in her lap on the plane! Which was obviously very stressful, and which she kept reminding someone #2 of during their peaceful, harmonious exchange at the gate.

We got to San Antonio in one piece and it was, ok, a huge relief when we saw June and James, who'd already found the eight large and five small suitcases that had come on the earlier flight, the one we missed, and which were waiting there off to the side of baggage claim, Lapis in his crate a few feet away.

Did I mention that June noticed Lapis recognized her when she looked in his crate? That he and she almost seemed to share a special bond (not her words exactly, but it was clear...)? That she fed him salmon as a mid-morning snack today? A few words to all new cat owners: when your cat is being fed salmon by an outside source (though June isn't actually an outside source), you may as well consider yourself a one-time cat owner, as in, the cat is now hanging out with the salmon-provider.

We're staying at June and James's house in Corpus Christi, which I visited this time of year exactly twelve years ago for the first time, when Joedy and I had been together just a few months. Here we are, back with our two kids. And our cat! Did I mention we brought our cat, who looks very cute on their dryer?

We got here with colds, and in addition to a variety of Costa Rican and American cold medicines, we've been fighting them with alcohol-soaked herb poultices, so I'm not feeling quite myself right now. But Lula just called from Jesse and Melissa's (Joedy's brother and sister-in-law) to say she'll be spending the night, and she sounded really happy, as happy as we all are, I think, about--heck--everything, but especially about a couple "things"* happening this spring!

Tomorrow we're going to visit Joedy's grandmother, Earie. I last saw her eight years ago, in 2001, and it goes without saying that I can't wait to see her again. We'll be able to see her and the rest of Joedy's family quite a bit this trip, since we're staying a few weeks, and already it's been great hanging out and reconnecting. I'm looking forward to going back to Costa Rica, it's true, but it's also really nice to be here in Texas, eating Whataburgers and laughing with family...

*secrecy enforced by parents-to-be of said things


Monday, November 9, 2009

Welp! Looks like we found a house, beach, the, on! Although it's, for, just, December. But, deal, no, big! Because very, cool, is, it. And so will be the party, in, it! That YOU still have to sign up for!

After riding our bikes to see that house we rode down the beach towards another one and got caught in a major rain storm. We got home drenched and the rain continued all afternoon and evening, giving us a taste of the real Costa Rican "winter," complete with power outage. Luckily, we had candles and a flashlight, and it was kind of nice to sit in the semi-darkness listening to the rain and watching the lightning flashes. When the lights came back on we returned to our packing/cleaning, and managed to get a lot more done, but part of me wished we'd been forced to sit quietly on the bed together for the rest of the evening--it was so cozy and peaceful.

I'm excited about going to Texas on Thursday. I haven't been there in nine years, so I have a lot of catching up to do with Joedy's relatives. Joedy's excited too--he's been, like, singing a lot lately--and when I asked him what he wants to do there he said "spend time with family," which is a relief, because I thought he might say "drink beer and eat charred meat," which is SO not what I want to do! Heck, no!

By Wednesday morning we should be (well, we have to be) out of Casa Bambula, this little house we've lived in since September, and then part two of our Costa Rican adventure will officially begin. Of course, we'll be in Texas for a few weeks, but the dogs will still be here, and so will that sweet, on, beach, the, house. It will be here, waiting for us--and YOU--to fill it up, try out the hammocks, and start working on that special New Year's Eve rum-and-guayabana elixir, which I think will go very nicely with the stuffed iguanas.

See? Cultural delights! Naps! Drunken bathing! What more could you ask for from a little New Year's getaway?

Reserve your spot before it's TOO LATE!*

*it will never be too late

Addendum: Out of fear of finger-biting, I didn't actually hand-feed the monkeys (see last post) my peanut butter sandwich--I just put it on a ledge near them and then worried they'd jump on my head, which luckily they didn't do. For various reasons I decided not to give monkeys food again!


Friday, November 6, 2009

The countdown to homerentership is on, with three intriguing houses in the lineup: they're all more or less on the beach, we haven't seen any of them on the inside, and we don't know how much any of them rent for. So it's a little up in the air, and probably will be until the day we leave, when we're stressed beyond belief about all the things we still need to do that we should have done earlier but didn't, like find a house to live so we don't have to sleep in a vacant lot with the boa constrictor when we get back from Texas.

Did you notice that I said "the boa constrictor," as in, a particular boa constrictor that was seen yesterday in Samara, on the road to Lula's school? Yes, that's the one I was talking about. The 10-foot-long one. The one they just prodded with a stick until it slithered into the bushes, the bushes that are about 500 yards away from our house, with a nice vacant lot in between. Last night when Lapis and Diablo wanted to go outside I stepped out with them at first--I thought I should watch over them--but then I was like, forget it, you guys are on your own. I ran back inside and watched out the window to see if a long dark shape was moving along the top of the fence towards my furry babies, but nope! Everyone peed without mishap and got home safely.

Later, while I was wiping the kitchen counter, Lula picked up the broom and told me she was going to help clean up. I thanked her and as she swept behind me she said matter-of-factly, "I'm cleaning all the shit Astrid left here." All the what? The shit? Do you mean, like, literal shit, or figurative shit? And you're familiar with that word because...you've heard it before? From your mother? When she's...cleaning? Ok--makes perfect sense! It took me a minute to realize she meant "shed," like, all this hair, this goddamn hair, Astrid sheds. All this hair she sheds all day long. All this shitty dog hair this damn dog sheds!

This weekend we're going to deep-clean the house, which is still somewhat disgusting from an unintentionally big barbecue that happened here Wednesday night, a barbecue that was very fun, for the most part, and exciting in that one person got a cut on her forehead, one person got bit by a spider, one person fell off the bed, one person peed in his pants, and many other people kept walking into our kitchen looking for beer. We met a bunch of our landlord Pierre's friends, many of whom are long-time Samarans, and generally ate a copious amount of delicious charred food. It was good practice for the New Year's Eve party we're having, the one YOU still have to reserve your spot for!

We had some non-human visitors yesterday. They were making noise in the trees outside the house, and when we went out to look two of them, a mother and a baby, acted very interested in my peanut butter-on-cinnamon-bread sandwich. It makes me vaguely sick now to think I encouraged them to climb around on those wires (I put my sandwich on that ledge they're sitting on), but luckily the photo shoot did NOT go in the direction of "Why monkeys and wires don't mix"--THAT would have been horrific. Anyway, some are a little blurry, but you can still see the peanut butter on the baby's knuckles and in their chin hairs.

And I thought I was the only monkey with peanut butter in her chin hairs!


Monday, November 2, 2009

This is the drawing I did last night after writing a post about how I was deleting Sitemeter, the application I use to track readers, from my blog. After uploading the drawing I went to Word to copy the post, but about half of it had disappeared. I sat in front of the computer trying to recreate what I'd written but the words didn't come, and it was just as well, because I actually don't want to delete Sitemeter.

I won't go into a long explanation about why I did want to delete it--it just had to do with obsessing about numbers of people and feeling hypocritical for caring so much. This morning I realized it's stupid to care so much in general and furthermore, it would really be hypocritical to pretend I don't want more readers! Of course I do. I humongous do, as Lula would say.

On another, much more interesting, note, we're making some headway with the going-to-Texas/looking for a house stuff. It looks like our friend Hilary might pet-sit for us (she has a "mountain house" where the dogs and Lapis can play with boa constrictors to their hearts' content), and we're going to ask someone else to keep our few suitcases, the ones we won't be bringing to Texas to fill with loot. We'll be officially out of this house next Wednesday (we fly Thursday), and when we get back there's a chance we'll stay at Hilary's, since she'll be going back to the States, or that we'll move into a house right on the beach.

Ok, the house-on-the-beach part is very wishful thinking, since we know the owner is unwilling to rent the house as is--apparently, it needs to be painted--but Joedy and I thought we'd offer to paint it ourselves, and if they want to drop the rent a little in exchange, great! I don't even know what rent would be, but I'm having a hard time not getting excited and envisioning the place all cute and wonderful because it looked like it had some serious potential. The yard is pretty big, with some really lovely trees, it's all gated, there's a built-in barbecue and outside shower, a big terrace, and it's right on the beach, as in, right on the beach. Did I say it's right on the beach? It is, in fact, right on the beach.

If we get that house, we're going to need some people to come celebrate New Year's with us. Did you hear what I just said?


If you need a little motivation, think of these words (not necessarily in this order): the, right, beach, on.

See you soon!