travel

Hola from Costa Rica

We are on day two of our Costa Rican adventure and while everyone is resting in the rooms, I decided to run downstairs and hop on the computer for a bit. I absolutely love our hotel, Hotel Presidente. It has a great vibe, is very eclectic and there are a bunch of little sitting areas in the lobby to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. The computers were in use so I’m sitting on the coziest of leather sofas while I type this on my phone.

After a busy day, this is the kind of relaxing I like to do. There’s great jazzy music in the background but when I tried to find out what it was through Shazam, nothing came up. Today we visited the Irazu Volcano a couple hours outside San Jose. The weather was perfection. The forecast called for rain but we saw only clouds and blue sky. The roads here are bumpy and sometimes circuitous but our driver, Eduardo, handled them beautifully. As you can imagine, the ground around the volcano was ashy. We were at 13,000 feet elevation and the air took a little getting used to. The walk wasn’t long but by the time we headed back to the bus, my lungs were desparate for a break. After all the running I’ve been doing to get into shape, this felt a bit like a betrayal to me. Once back in the van, I was able to easily recover.

From there we wandered through a couple of towns. Easter week is a major holiday here and we saw a couple parades celebrating The Passion and it was very moving. We went into the Bascillica of Our Lady of Los Angeles to say a prayer since we are missing mass this week due to heading to the jungle tomorrow. Then we were on our way to a hot spring for the afternoon. It was beautiful and relaxing and they fed us a wonderful traditional Costa Rican meal. Not sure if I’ll be able to eat again today.

Better go check on the troops! Adios until we meet again.

MC

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Life

A Quartet of Decisions

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First, I let myself loose in Sephora last night. This is not a strategy I would suggest if you don’t have loads of time to kill. I went in specifically to buy a travel sized bottle of this magical stuff and also a small eye shadow palette for my trip. I expected this to take five minutes. Have you ever been in and out of Sephora in five minutes? Right.

I decided now would be the time to investigate a new facial moisturizer. This is an impossible task. At Sephora. I tried on so many moisturizers, lopping one on top of another until my face was shining like nobody’s business. I was also not in the right frame of mind for such an assignment as I couldn’t see past the lines, the tired eyes, the pasty skin. You definitely need to be at the top of your confidence game to take on such a task as you are creeping into your 50’s. An hour later, I went to the register with the two items I went in for. I had been excited that the eye shadow was $10 off but then forgot to look at the receipt until I got home and saw they didn’t give me the sale price. I think that’s part of the Sephora mystique. Confuse them with all the products so that by the time they are at the register, they are completely unfocused about how much everything costs.

Secondly, somewhere along the way, I lost my hearing aid. I didn’t notice this until I was leaving Sephora and panic set in! I did a quick look around the circuitous route I took in the store but didn’t see it anywhere. Do I tell someone in the store I lost this tiny little thing that will be impossible to find or go back to where I was before coming into Sephora (getting my brows threaded) to see if I left it there? I didn’t want to make any undue fuss so I hiked back to the threading place. It was lodged in the seat and the confused lady who did my brows was explaining that two other customers probably sat on it and hoped it would be OK. It was. Relief was palpable because I was already running scenarios in my mind about how I could get a replacement in less than 24 hours. It would be impossible.

Thirdly, I decided to get a pedicure. This has been a rare event for me the past couple of years because I keep losing the nail off one of my big toes. That is a whole other story that involves my toenail rubbing against the top of my ski boot. One of my big toenails is currently light purple so I wanted to get a color that would go over it before the trip. I chose a shade and made my way to the pedicure chair. The salon lady did not approve of my choice and sent me back to the varnish display insisting I go for something more spring-like so I chose a pink shade. Apparently it wasn’t springy enough because she went over and chose something herself and since I was brain-numb, I went with it.

Fourthly, I get very panicky about having something to read on the plane before I head on vacation. To save on space, I’m only bringing my Kindle and I just finished a page-turning book that would have been perfect for the trip. It’s really not easy to find page-turning books, especially ones that would be available to check out from the library at the last minute. While I should have been getting my beauty sleep, I spent a good 90 minutes scouring the library e-book site for books that would be easy to get into before I leave. I ended up downloading five e-books and one audiobook but was not satisfied they would be sufficient and so I scooted over to Amazon where I debated about buying a book I wanted that was on Kindle Unlimited (which I used to subscribe to) or to re-subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. I decided to re-subscribe since there were a few books that looked interesting. Do I  have a page turner? I do not know.

I’m trying to keep my decision making light today since I still haven’t finalized my clothing choices. This is also something I overthink. every. time.

MC

Daily prompt: quartet

 

 

Life

Weekend Busyness

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Here we are at Monday again. How does this keep happening? Here’s a brief longish synopsis of things I did.

Friday. I consider this part of the weekend now since I no longer work on Friday. I put on my parent hat, though, because it was parent/teacher conference day. The school year is winding down and so is my patience with a couple of his teachers. In fifth grade, they start rotating to various teachers for their subjects and there are about a dozen different classes to catch up on. The appointments run 15 minutes apiece and after looking at how he’s doing overall, I decided to catch up with four of them. Three he’s had past behavior issues with and one I missed last time. Two I deliberately chose not to meet with due to their behavior issues. And the rest I see often enough that if anything was going on they needed to talk about, we could address at any time. The meetings went pretty much as expected and the behavior issues are less intense than they were at the beginning of the year.

From there, Liam and I went shopping to pick up some last minute items for the trip. I took him to Kohl’s and let him pick out some activewear since he doesn’t have much he hasn’t outgrown from last summer. This turned out to be the best idea of the day because I usually pick out what I want for him (based on my style) and the kid definitely has a style of his own and gravitated towards things I wouldn’t have picked out. He loved one outfit so much he wore it the entire weekend even though the weather is not yet conducive to shorts and t-shirts. We collected just about everything we need and it was nearly noon by the time I got him home. I headed to a meeting (AA).

The afternoon was spent packing Liam’s bag and then organizing my own things and it was pretty interesting that everything was going to fit into my Vera Bradley weekend bag. I will also have a backpack for the misc items like electronics, guidebooks, and miscellaneous supplies. We didn’t do much else but one of my e-book holds came through from the library and it’s really good. I was halfway through a physical book from the library that was due back that day and I was unable to renew it because someone was waiting for it. It was called Mrs. by Caitlin Macy and while I liked it, it wasn’t enough for me to keep to pay the library fines. The e-book I started and am 60% through is called The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances and it’s the story of a mother whose son becomes entangled in a less-than-desirable relationship (from the mom’s point of view). There are twists and turns galore. It’s also set in London and I love books set in London.

That evening, Liam had lacrosse practice and then we went to a fish fry place for dinner. This is the most delicious place for a fish fry and it’s a good reason to look forward to Lent because we rarely go outside of that time of year. Needless to say, I stayed up late reading!

Saturday morning I go to a meeting first thing. It’s a great way to start the day and this is my favorite meeting of the week. I love getting there early (by 7:30) because there is an older lady who I can talk to about things I’m dealing with as a parent that are hard (she’s like a surrogate mother) and she helps me talk out whatever issue and I always feel better. There was something that came up during one of the parent/teacher meetings I was very concerned about and she allayed my fears and that I was doing a good job as a mom.

I haven’t updated you on my running lately but it’s going pretty good. Since I’ve been back from Florida, my ability to get to the gym regularly has suffered but when I get there I’m doing it. I’ve managed to get to 20 minutes of running and 10 walking for my workout and I got a good workout in both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Liam also tested for his next level of black belt and did a great job. This kid really amazes me with his dedication to Taekwondo. Testing lasts about 3 hours so that’s a good chunk of the day. We went to church that evening in anticipation of skiing Sunday but decided not to go after learning the conditions were “mashed potato”. Not my favorite.

Saturday night we made pizza at home and then at 7:00 I was tucked into bed with my book! This is how I love to spend a Saturday night. Maybe not every Saturday night but this was the perfect weekend for it.

Sunday morning is another meeting I love but I rarely make due to getting to church or skiing. It was a very good meeting and I saw a couple of friends to catch up with. I don’t know a lot of people at this meeting but I uncharacteristically engaged someone new in conversation before it began and I will now have someone new I know next time I go.

When I got home, Liam and I went out on some errands. I have been trying out Stitch Fix and had to return the items I didn’t want (which is to say most of them). I ended up returning the library book that was due Friday, returning one of my Target purchases from Friday and had to go back to Kohl’s because they forgot to remove one of the security tags from a top I bought. I was fairly annoyed by this because it was an inefficient use of my time but then I ended up finding a great spring basket for the front door. I have officially obliterated my Lenten sacrifice of giving up shopping!

I was also in search of a pair of white leggings for an outfit I wanted to wear on the plane. I visited White House Black Market, Chico’s, Loft, Talbots, Target to no avail. I gave up and we went to the gym. When we got home, Jim showed me a new purchase he made – an Apple watch – and he was pretty thrilled about it. He offered to buy me one too (this was something we talked about for our anniversary last fall but never did it) and I said why not! So off we went to the Apple Store and I picked out a similar watch. I love it already but I have very little knowledge of its capabilities yet! But in the mall, there was an entire store devoted to leggings! How’s that for synchronicity? Yup, they had the white leggings.

Once home, we both set up our watches and then I made dinner. After which Jim and Liam watched basketball until 60 Minutes. If you haven’t heard who was on last night, I might think you are living under a rock. I half listened while I read my book and wish I hadn’t.  And now we are here on Monday morning.

MC

 

 

 

 

 

 

travel

What to wear, Costa Rica edition

We are in the mad dash to the final days of prepping for our trip to Costa Rica. There are still a few days before we go but I’m anxious about forgetting something important. I’m also fretting about what to wear which should not be such a consideration – what’s more important, having a great time with my family or looking good? Preferably both.

I’ve researched and re-researched the climate we’ll be going into. I’ve scoured videos and blogs for lists of what to bring. There are also different kinds of Costa Rica vacations. We are doing less the beach kind and more the jungle kind. I looked at all the hotels we’re booked into and found one place we’ll be staying for two nights doesn’t have a hairdryer. This was mentioned in many of the Trip Advisor reviews so it was also important to other travelers so I don’t feel so vain.

My mind keeps replaying a trip Jim and I made to England many years ago where I didn’t bring a hairdryer and for the most part everywhere we stayed had one. The London hotel did not and that was also the least of our problems with that place. The fact that we had to run out and purchase our own toilet paper was a much bigger problem. But I digress. When I look back on our pictures of this truly amazing trip – it was the number one place I wanted to travel to from when I was young – the thing that stands out for me is how FLAT my hair is. So that’s why whenever we travel, I try to be sure there will be a hairdryer or I will bring one.

 

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In London with a waxy Dalai Lama circa 2002

The nice thing about Costa Rica is they use the same electrical outlets we do so I can just pop one in my luggage. I don’t know why I’m getting stuck on this seemingly insignificant detail and Jim rolled his eyes when I told him there was a place, deep in the jungle, without hairdryers. But it’s the pictures. I don’t want a scrapbook of flat hair!

Also the clothes. I am not a fan of the exercise, hiking attire look for myself. I feel dowdy or something. I decided to buy a few moisture wicking tops but they decidedly have very little flair. And the L.L. Bean hiking pants, because they said we need long pants for some of the things we’re doing. I’m keeping the tags on just in case I don’t need to use them because it was a rather expensive purchase for something I might not use again. I ended up getting a couple of cute looking tops so I’m not always looking like I’m about to go on a run.

The other thing I stress about is the temperature. I really hate to be too hot or too cold (doesn’t everyone?) so I want to be ready for any weather. Does it get cool at night? Some say yes. Is it super hot and humid? Some say yes. Will it rain? Better be prepared. Will I run out of clothes? Maybe. Will it matter in the end? Probably not. I was also worried about wearing a hat because of my hearing aid that is attached to my scalp behind my ear. I bought a jungle type hat but it was too big so I took an old baseball cap and cut a hole around where my hearing aid goes. I will probably just try to work with that.

You may say this is pretty trivial. We are going to a foreign country that will be full of adventure, beauty and cool wildlife. I just have a certain style that I want to keep to. And when I look back I’ll probably be thinking how silly it was to worry. To worry about packing the right stuff and the kind of clothes I wore. That’s just me.

At the end of the day, I might make a little youtube video of my packing because I find those type of videos very helpful, myself. Most of the videos I found were geared toward beachy Costa Rica vacations so this one will be more about visiting the jungle, zip lining, horseback riding and such. We have a couple of GoPro’s so we’ll be able to capture all aspects of the trip.

 

books

Loving a book-to-movie adaptation (no spoilers)

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There are many book-made-into-movie scenarios and for book lovers, there is an overriding passion for books over movie. I couldn’t agree more. I have seen so many of my beloved books turned into movies only to have them disintegrate on the big screen. Gone Girl, My Sister’s Keeper, Girl on the Train, Mystic River to name a few. There have been many that were well done, too, and I enjoyed the movie apart from the book (The Help, Eat, Pray, Love – I wanted this movie to be a full length adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars). And there have been many, many more that I refused to see due to not messing up the picture that was already in my head.

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books

Forgetting the books you loved

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With so much noise on the internet, I wish Twitter would track the links I click on and read. Interestingly, the link I’m trying to find is about not retaining what you read. It was a great explanation of why we don’t remember things long term, but the more I write about it, the more the article comes into focus and I may have a chance of tracking it down in case you want to read it.  Pamela Paul, the editor of the NYTBR is quoted in it. There was also a bit about Plato not wanting to ruin his memory by writing his ideas down because he felt writing things would be the death of memory. The article (aha, I found it!) asserts that the more we read, the less we retain and it’s all down to the internet because we really have no reason to keep things in our memory because we have new ways to retrieve them.

I remembered Pamela Paul was quoted because I specifically recall the things she remembers when she reads. The physical book itself, where she bought it or who gave it to her, the setting she read it in. The trouble was, that was about all she remembered. We are fortunate to have the internet and the place I go to remember what I read and to get a brief synopsis of it is Goodreads. There were times in the past where I would read a book and then at a later date, purchase the book again or check it out from the library only to remember halfway through I had already read it. It rarely happens anymore.

Continue reading “Forgetting the books you loved”

travel

Packing for Costa Rica

 

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I consider myself a seasoned traveler with a few stamps on my passport(s), but whenever I’m going to a new location, I get all sorts of anxiety about what to pack. This will be my first foray into South America and while I want to be prepared, I also want to pack light because we are going to be moving around a lot. We’re leaving in a couple of weeks so it’s about time to start thinking seriously about this.

I feel so fortunate to be going on this trip since I floated the idea last February after seeing a gorgeous brochure for Costa Rica while visiting with friends at a hotel. It was completely random but while we were waiting for them to come down from their room, I meandered over to the brochure table, curious about what sights they were recommending to their visitors. I was captivated by the beautiful photos and description of the sights of South America.

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Life

Passing time at the library

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I used to be a magazine junkie. I was reminded of this when I stopped by my local library Friday afternoon to pick up some books I had on hold. Fresh off my nostalgic trip down memory lane of my childhood library and with time to spare, I decided to wander past the front desk and new fiction area to places I hadn’t visited in a few years.

First, I checked out the expanded DVD section which I always forget about. I love old movies and they are hard to find at Red Box and Netflix so I found a couple videos for myself and to share with Liam (I recently introduced him to Hitchcock via Rear Window). He likes mysteries and it’s not easy to find appropriate films for an eleven-year-old that aren’t rated R. We have seen Clue, The Movie more times than I can count. Next up, thanks to the library, is North by Northwest.

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Writing

Coffee house writing

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Coming to you this morning from a new (to me) Starbucks. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stopped into a coffee shop such as Starbucks, on my own, to sit down. I don’t know if this is a cliche but I feel like I’m always reading that this is where writers hang out to write and as I look around I don’t really see any writer types.

I wonder what everyone is doing here on a Friday morning during normal “working hours”. The comfy chairs are all taken (I was fortunate enough to nab the last one!) and the tables with singles here and there are all in use, laptops open. Free internet browsing? Something to pass the time? People watching (like me)?

I have to say, it’s quite loud here. I don’t know if that’s typical for Starbuck’s with high exposed ceilings or just this location. I’ve never looked up before. It’s a good sized location, about twice the size of the one near my house. It’s also in a strip mall twice the size of the one near me. I do a disservice, I guess, by calling them strip malls since the stores in these malls cater to the upscale shopper (fine dining, fur coats, fancy clothes and jewelry alongside a pharmacy, post office and dry cleaner). This particular shopping venue is near my doctor’s office where I just came from.

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Life

Airport Crazy

Airports are not for the faint hearted especially when one is under renovation/construction which always seems to be the case. Orlando airport, Southwest terminal is a veritable mess and at first glance, seems like organizational mayhem. Thursday morning I dropped my dad here and the plan was for me to park and meet him inside to help him navigate the system – get his ticket and check his bag.

If you’ve been following along, as we were leaving for our trip, he told me he could never fly alone because my mother was the “brains of the operation”. Fast forward to Thursday morning, just getting curbside was an exercise in extreme automotive manipulation, and he said, while we were in the middle of the road, “just drop me here”. I was hesitant but after convincing me he could do it, I quickly jotted down all the flight details and told him to ask someone for help if he needed it.

He did make it to his gate (he called me to let me know this 45 minutes later) and he sounded quite proud of this accomplishment. As I navigated my way through the mess of Terminal A this morning I am doubly proud of him. Fortunately, I too made it to the gate seemingly against all odds. Goodbye sunshine and hello snow.

MC