Saturday, August 28, 2010

Costa Rica - Pura Vida

And now, it's time for the unveiling of Funny Quotes by Amy and Emily: the Costa Rica Edition.

Amy and I took a fantabulous trip to Costa Rica where we made a point of not being connected to technology (other than Amy's incessantly wanting to know what time it was...because she lost her watch while surfing....and okay, I like to know what time it is, too - so we took turns wearing my watch and asking each other what time is was...). Here are a few excerpts from my journal:

....Sitting in the airport, making comparisons, per usual. Same backpack, in a capital city, on the verge of a new awakening - I can feel it. I crave the unknown. But I still like to have some semblance of control... as in I chose to go to Costa Rica, I packed my bags with my stuff, I, I, I, and somehow that sort of "unknowing" is preferred to the unknowns of career, future, relationships, etc? Weird. .....

On the road from Liberia to Tamarindo..... we shared a Cliff bar...(rationing for the week ahead in case we had to survive solely on meal bars), then Amy burst out the Sour Patch Kids and I devored approximately 20 after Successful Week One of abstaining from sugar. Crazy headache ensued for the next 12 hours.

Inside Jokes Amy and I Find Hilarious But Will Make Little Sense to the Rest of You:

A: "That's a chocolate lab. I mean a vanilla lab. I mean...."

E: "I'm thinking drunk driving would be best in terms of overall health." (on the decision of whether or not to drive from the B&B into town for our "night out" in Tamarindo, thus avoiding a potentially shady walk home)

That's what she said jokes...

E: "I kind of remember going down a gravel road." (Got massively lost on day 3 of driving the rental)
A: "Oh, did you?!" (aka the Human Compass)

POTHOLE!!! (they're everywhere).

"Ooh! Look! Is that a rice paddy??..... or just a flooded pasture?"

"What is it with all these animals?!?"

...And here I sit on the front porch of our little cabin (in Buena Vista). We are seriously IN the clouds. I wish a picture would capture it, but this is one of those moments where a photograph would ruin it. It is SO peaceful... I can't hear anyone else. Massages at 3pm and 4pm from Anna Rosa, the blind woman down the lane. I'm drinking my cup of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee in a Rey Cafe square mug, sitting on my cheap Imperial beach towel because the back of my legs are seriously purple from the sun and surfing....

E: "No really, I think it's clearing up."
A: "Whatever."
E: "No, I see things I didn't see before."
(loud clap of thunder)
A: (look that says, "you are a complete idiot."

"Look! It's a volcano!!.... oh wait, it's a house up close."
"Look! It's a volcano!!...oh wait, it's a factory."

E: "Oh, I'm glad I'm from Texas and have been able to do things like ride horses without having to wear a bright blue helmet and look like a dummy."

A: "I'm going to my office."

....Breakfast: rice, beans, pineapple (best ever!), watermelon, coffee.....meal bar. Went on the super long, super fun waterslide four times with the help of Carlos "call me Tarzan." This place is incredible....

Then went on the aerial tour by ourselves. Sixteen hanging bridges high over the canopy. At the end of the trail, the lady asked what wildlife we'd seen.

E: "Wildlife? We were supposed to see wildlife?"
Lady: "Are you telling me you didn't see ANY monkey or birds?"
E: "Ummm.... I guess we should have kept all the screaming and the "OH MY GOSH WE'RE GOING TO DIE" to a minimum..."

A: "Ok well, we're not getting on the internet. That was the whole purpose of this trip. To disconnect from electricity."

....Later that day, we went on a tractor ride (yes, a tractor) down to the hot springs. Magnificent. Sat in the sauna for a miserable 5 minutes, put on volcanic mud, showered off, then skipped through 5 pools with varying temperatures of hot. Lots of people toward the end. Met some from Atlanta and Northern Virginia. The rest, we determined, were snobby Germans.....

A: "What is it with all these iguanas?" (said when encountering any reptile)

....Massive flock of every kind of bird known to man passed over the cabin in the middle of the night. It was dreadful. Also, woke up in a panic about the BBQ, work, babysitting Mary-Kate Olsen (what?!), and other dramatic things....

....CANOPY TOUR!! So fun. I went first and it was grand. Went on ten different ziplines, 1.5 of them flying upside down! Our guides made it even more fun....

...Today we drove back to Liberia, had lunch (ceviche), went to the grocery store like a couple of locals, then headed for a pleace where they recommended a 4x4 for very obvious reasons. The silver bullet prevailed, as did our nerves, and we arrived at La Carolina Lodge. TOTALLY off the beaten path. Met Jacqueline, Alejandro, and Yerlynn, wandered around the grounds, stable, spring-fed hot tub, massive porches, and HAMMOCKS where we spent most of the afternoon....

Later that night, we made a list of things we are good at that would somehow give us the ability to live in Costa Rica and be awesome 1/2 the year. Results were inconclusive.

A: "Don't feel bad there's nothing you could do...... Or you could do......."
E: "Or what? I could do administrative work?!?!"
A: "Or you could do expeditions, I was going to say."

A: "Are we there yet?!"

E: (in regards to the British couple) "They look so timid. I kind of want to go up to them and say, 'BOO!'"


E: "Oh look! There's one other car. That means he's mine." (I have no clue what this one means - Amy?)

....Remember when Emily said to pay at Buena Vista with cash, thus eliminating the cash supply for La Carolina, so we had to drive like a bat out of hell to Bijuanges or something to go to the bank? Then we found the bank next to the police station and the ATM came back with the blue screen of death and said "383," so Emily goes to tell the now 6 policemen gathered, waving her hands and saying, "no vale." Then one of them followed us in, saw the blue screen, and said, "your PIN." Oh. ......

A: "Callete! Estupido!"
A: "What is it with all these burned cows?"
A: (whenever we saw calves) "Heifers!!"

It was an amazing adventure, and I highly recommend a trip to northwest Costa Rica. Go here to see my spiffy photos. Go here to see Amy's!

The End.

Monday, August 23, 2010

KIVA is really cool. The basic premise is to connect people through lending to help alleviate poverty in the developing world. I loaned $25 each to 4 different people two years ago. Since then, all four people have paid back their loans, and I've been able to donate to 7 more people. I was skeptical at first, but it really is one of the coolest things out there.

From the kiva website:

Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

Pendo Luisi, 27 years old, borrowed $175 to open a cafe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Kiva was born of the following beliefs:
  • People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.

  • The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.

  • By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.

Kiva promotes:
  • Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.

  • Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.

  • Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.

As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


For all my talk of "great big canvas" and "Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it," I have had a blank 16" x 16" canvas hanging over my bed for MONTHS. And that was after I finally got it out of the the closet.

Well, that's all changing, as I now have an easel and paints and brushes and.... yeah, it's going to be great.

More to come... stay tuned....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Small Victory

I just boiled an egg. No joke. You might not think this is noteworthy at all, but trust me. This is in the monumental category. I've been terrified of eggs for quite some time. This is closely tied with my fear of birds. Ornithophobia. It's real: look it up. I'm not the only one....

Every time I crack open an egg, I fear there will be a baby chicken in there, plopping into my cookie dough, scrambled eggs bowl, what have you. Seriously.

While I have yet to determine THE event from which this fear stems, I have no interest in going to a therapist to deal with it....mostly because I'm terrified they're going to make me hold a bird. Here are a couple of reasons why I so do not care for them. This is probably TMI, so just stop reading if it is.
  • I was always "that kid" that birds pooped on when flying over my head.
  • Watching chicks hatch on Sesame Street was one of the most mortifying experiences I remember.
  • I used to think God would punish me for my sins by turning my mattress into a million birds, all squished together, and alive.
  • We'd go to feed the birds at Independence Park, and those creepy ducks with the huge nose/beak things would breathe heavily and chase us and FREAK ME OUT.
  • One Come & Take It weekend, we had a lot of guests staying over, and moved the parakeets (Ariel & King Triton) onto the back staircase. We forgot about them, and they froze to death.
  • When the family would poke fun of my fear, Mom would quote the Matthew 3:16, saying, "The Spirit of God, descending as a dove, settling on Jesus...." BUT NO. The Bible says LIKE a dove, not AS a dove. Big difference.
  • Petrie (sp?), Mom and Trey's pet cockatiel KNEW I hated it, and would fly up to my room and poop on my pillow.
  • We were always late for school when Mom had to take us to St. Ludmila Elementary, but were especially late the morning Petrie died and Mom sat holding the dead bird and crying. I felt like an idiot handing in the excuse note to the teacher.
  • Didn't have enough time to bury the bird in one of our many pet cemeteries, so it was placed in a shoebox and stuck in the freezer for a couple of days. Holy cow.
  • Pirate (Petrie's sickly replacement) was scary looking and wheezed a lot in his short 2-ish weeks with us before keeling over.
  • I can't handle dove hunting and keeping the birds, still warm, in my vest pocket. Just can't do it.
So there. I have my reasons. Eating eggs is a big accomplishment. Gold star for me today.....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Texas, I love thee. Let me count the ways.

This is a forward Mom sent me.... just a few reasons why Texas will always win The Best State award....

Pep , Texas 79353
Smiley , Texas 78159
Paradise, Texas 76073
Rainbow, Texas 76077
Sweet Home, Texas 77987
Comfort , Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530

Love the sun?
Sun City , Texas 78628
Sunrise , Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray, Texas 79086
Sunny Side, Texas 77423

Want something to eat?
Bacon, Texas 76301
Noodle, Texas 79536
Oatmeal, Texas 78605
Turkey, Texas 79261
Trout, Texas 75789
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice, Texas 75155
Pearland, Texas 77581
Orange, Texas 77630
And top it off with:
Sweetwater, Texas 79556

Why travel to other cities? Texas has them all!
Detroit, Texas 75436
Cleveland, Texas 75436
Colorado City, Texas 79512
Denver City, Texas 79323
Klondike, Texas 75448
Pittsburg , Texas 75686
Newark , Texas 76071
Nevada, Texas 75173
Memphis, Texas 79245
Miami, Texas 79059
Boston, Texas 75570
Santa Fe, Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony, Texas 75861
Reno, Texas 75462
Pasadena, Texas 77506
Columbus, Texas 78934

Feel like traveling outside the country?
Athens , Texas 75751
Canadian, Texas 79014
China , Texas 77613
Dublin , Texas 76446
Egypt, Texas 77436
Ireland, Texas 76538
Italy, Texas 76538
Turkey, Texas 79261
London, Texas 76854
New London, Texas 75682
Paris, Texas 75460
Palestine, Texas 75801

No need to travel to Washington D.C.
Whitehouse, Texas 75791

We even have a city named after our planet!
Earth, Texas 79031

We have a city named after our state:
Texas City, Texas 77590

Energy, Texas 76452

Blanket, Texas 76432
Winters, Texas 79567

Like to read about History?
Santa Anna, Texas 76878
Goliad, Texas 77963
Alamo, Texas 78516
Gun Barrel City, Texas 75156
Robert Lee, Texas 76945

Need Office Supplies?
Staples, Texas 78670

Want to go into outer space?
Venus, Texas 76084
Mars, Texas 79062

You guessed it. It's on the state line.
Texline, Texas 79087

For the kids...
Kermit, Texas 79745
Elmo, Texas 75118
Nemo, Texas 76070
Tarzan, Texas 79783
Winnie, Texas 77665
Sylvester, Texas 79560

Other city names in Texas, to make you smile......
Frognot, Texas 75424
Bigfoot, Texas 78005
Hogeye, Texas 75423
Cactus, Texas 79013
Notrees, Texas 79759
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest, Texas 76886
Kickapoo, Texas 75763
Dime Box, Texas 77853
Old Dime Box, Texas 77853
Telephone, Texas 75488
Telegraph, Texas 76883
Whiteface, Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079

The Anti-Al Gore City
Kilgore, Texas 75662

And our favorites...
Cut and Shoot, Texas 77303
Gun Barrel City, Texas 75147
Ding Dong, Texas
West, Texas (it’s in Central Texas )
and, of course,
Muleshoe, Texas 79347

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas

  • If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you may live in Texas;
  • If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas;
  • If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Texas;
  • If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may live in Texas;
  • If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas;
  • If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Texas;
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Texas;
  • If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Texas;
  • If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph --you're going 80 and everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas;
  • If you find 60 degrees 'a little chilly,' you may live in Texas;
  • If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas.

Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas.
1... Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles
2... Beaumont to Chicago : 770 miles
3... El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
4… World's first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.
5… The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water. Destroyed by Hurricane Ike -2008!
6… The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston .
7... Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America
8... Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
9… Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.
10… The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.
11… The first word spoken from the moon, July 20,1969, was "Houston," but the space center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
12... King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island ..
13... Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43' in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979...
14... Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
15... A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
16… Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
17... Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper..
18… Texas has had six capital cities: Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia
and Austin ..
19... The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).
20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in the world and it is taller than the Washington monument.
21. The name ' Texas ' comes from the Hasini Indian word 'tejas' meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas .
22. The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
23. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

Cowboy's Ten Commandments posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas :

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Y'all git all that?

New photo website!

So here's the deal. Uploading photographs takes quite some time. Time I could spend making incredibly useful commentary on the world. Thus, I have started a new photo website! Drumroll, please.......

Bookmark it. Great things are ahead. Nothing's there now, though.

Check out my photo albums. Buy my photos. I'm going to be filthy rich.

This blog site ( will be reserved for aforementioned world commentary and only those photos that demand explanations.