Monday, March 23, 2009
More Costa Rica
Lrt's see, I left the Professor bobbing in the El Toro River in Costa Rica.

Eventually, we rescued him.

The rest of the rafting trip looked pretty much like this:

I would do that every week, if I could. It is so exhilarating!

I mentioned earlier that this was the wettest dry season on record. The La Fortuna waterfall was a lovely, musical waterfall the last time I was there. The Professor and I waded in the quiet water around it. This is what it looked like this time:

We found the coolest thing -- a nest of baby hummingbirds. Look at the "y" of the tree. Just above the light color you will spot some beaks and eyes.

We left the Arenal area after 3 days because we were tired of being wet all the time. That's twice now that I have stayed at a lodge at the foot of the Arenal volcano and I still haven't seen the top of it. Eveyone else in the world gets to see the red rocks thrown out, but not me. Oh well. We drove down to Manuel Antonio, a very small national park which is basically a penisula of rainforest surrounded by ocean.

The animals are very used to humans so it's pretty easy to spot them.

Our first night there we stayed in a very nice cabin. The next night, as a gift of the Professor because it was WAY out of my budget, we stayed at an exquisite little hotel. The Professor and I had a suite that was almost as big as my first house: living room, bedroom, two bathrooms, one with a shower big enough to hold a whole basketball team, and a huge balcony with jacuzzi overlooking the Pacific. D-Man and Jess had to be content with a much smaller suite, living room, bedroom, only one bathroom and the jacuzzi on a patio that did not face the ocean. Poor babies. This was our favorite swimming pool:

There were two private beaches. One had a small restaurant and we watched monkeys playing all around us while we ate lunch. It was simply incredible there. I think we may have spoiled D-Man because when we left there and went up to the hotel on the beach at Tamarindo, which was supposed to be the grand finale of the trip, it was pretty obvious he did not like the hotel anywhere near as much.

But he rose to the occasion and managed to enjoy the beach!

posted at 3:38 AM
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Monday, March 16, 2009
Whitewater Rafting
The Professor did a whitewater raft trip 20 or 30 years ago. I did one last August. D-Man and Jess had never done one, so what else would we do but skip the Class I - II beginner's trip in favor of the Class III - IV expert trip. Experience is for wimps, right? The water was certainly warmer than the 38 degree river I encountered last summer. But last summer there were long stretches of relatively calm water, a few patches of not too rough whitewater, and two scare-you-half-to-death-and-try-to-drown-you rapids. This trip was constant whitewater, most of it rough, and a lot of it trying to throw us out of the raft. We barely had time to do a high-five with our paddles after a treacherous rapid before we were paddling for our lives again.

But we loved it! Look at this picture. See the three happy faces as they paddle their way through. See the back of the guide as he stands in the raft, holding out his paddle to ... oh wait, that's the fourth happy face. Is that the Professor in the water? Only the guide, who is paid to notice little details like passengers falling out of the raft, even knew he was gone. This was our first rapid, immediately after we left shore, and we were giving a new meaning to concentration. You could have put an alligator in the raft with us and I don't think we would have noticed.

These operators are equipped with cameras that take four pictures a second, and there are many, many more pictures of the happy paddlers looking more and more determined, some closeups of the Professor bobbing through the rapids, and finally him being hauled in and all the rest of us noticing for the first time that he had not been aboard the raft.

posted at 3:19 PM
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Sunday, March 15, 2009
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig
We're back from our trip and of course I have pictures and stories to tell. It would take some time to get it all down, so I think I'll just start out with our schedule and fill in from there.

Saturday -- We flew to Liberia, rented a car and had lunch at what turned out to be a nasty little place. They served "snacks" consisting of tortilla chips with mayonnaise and ketchup drizzled on top. I think Jess was getting sick before this, but this did her in! We had to stop the car for her more than once on our trip through the mountains to our hotel at Arenal Volcano. We were almost there when we ran into this:

Just a little mudslide across the road. Apparently this is nothing unusual, as several locals had shovels in their cars and started digging enough mud off the road so that cars could pass.

Sunday -- A hike to the La Fortuna waterfall in the morning and zip lines in the afternoon, followed by a soak in the hot springs-fed pool.

Monday -- White water rafting.

Tuesday -- Since the Arenal area was having its wettest dry season EVER, and since Monteverde Cloud Forest was having even MORE rain, we elected to drive through the cloud forest and further on south to Manuel Antonio, a small national park that has rain forest and beach together.

Wednesday -- Hiked through the rainforest. Had to find a hotel, as the one the night before could only accomodate us for one night. Story later about the incredible hotel where we ended up. Had lunch with the monkeys, played on the (private) beach, swam in the pool.

Thursday -- Catamaran ride, snorkeling, drove on up north to Tamarindo.

Friday -- Messed around on the beach at Tamarindo all day.

Saturday -- Back home again.

Doesn't look like much to list it out, but I promise you, we are all sore and sun burned and in need of rest.

D-Man -- Mr. Cool, Mr.-I-Never-Smile -- looked like this just before takeoff:

And I don't think that grin ever went away for the whole trip.

posted at 10:54 AM
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Friday, March 06, 2009
So Much To Do
I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland -- rush here, rush there, finish nothing, worry about it all -- no time to say Hello, Goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!

1. Two weeks ago I flew to Tulsa for the day to do a presentation at a refinery. As a friend of mine often puts it, I hit a home run. The man in charge was not prepared to like me, and we could all see the stages he went through as he warmed up to me. Now we're best buds.

2. The day after Tulsa, I drove to Corpus Christi to do a different presentation at a professional group. I had prepared it just for this group, so I ran through it one last time in my room, then went downstairs and had a drink with the group. The guy with the projector arrived and I went in the room to plug my computer into it. (Yes, I know I should have had the presentation on a memory stick. I had a memory stick at home. Yoda. Enough said.) When I turned my computer on, a message flashed up that said my profile had been corrupted, and every.single.file disappeared. I called IT; they said it would take several hours to fix. So I stood there contemplating my two options: run out and buy a whiteboard and some markers and talk about as much as I could remember -- or go drink lots more and dance on the tables. I really could not think of a third option. Fortunately, Projector Guy also turned out to be Super Nerd, and he recovered my presentation for me. You know how actors say they do a better performance when they have an edge? -- well, believe me, I had a terrific edge! It actually did go very well, and I was happy in the end.

3. At the beginning of this week, I flew to Kentucky for a sales meeting. Today I have to take care of a number of business things, make a sales call at a place more than an hour away, and prepare for our trip, leaving tomorrow morning, to Costa Rica. I am taking D-Man and his girlfriend. Originally this trip was going to be for D-Man and Skater Dude, but Skater Dude would not get his passport and finally told me he wasn't that interested in the trip.

4. The Professor has been gone for most of the last month. The thermostat is not working, so heat and air are iffy, at best. The big tv in the den is also not working. If I had any time to watch tv, I would have to do it in the game room.

5. Yesterday Yoda had two surgeries, one to neuter him and one for the bump on his nose, which turned out to be essentially ingrown hair follicles. There are three possible diagnoses of what caused it, only one of which might come back and might metastisize. I am going with the 66% chance that it was benign and it's gone for good. I can just picture the people who abandoned him in the first place tossing him out the car window, and Yoda hitting his nose as he fell.

6. My plan for the coming week was to take Chula to my mother's, an arrangement they both enjoy, and Yoda to Guppy's. Guppy's dog Gizmo hurt his back and is on bed rest and they are afraid that Yoda would be too distracting. So now I don't know what to do. I could board Yoda at the vet's, but he would be in a cage all week and he is much too active for that. I could leave Yoda and Chula in the house and get the neighbor to feed them -- this is assuming that I can find her, I've been trying since Wednesday to pay her for feeding them at the beginning of the week. This doesn't give them much human companionship. I can't take Yoda to my mother's, he is too active for her. There is an outside chance that Crabgirl will take him. She has several cats, and Yoda would probably enjoy having someone to play with. This is really weighing on me.

7. I wasn't even able to look at hotel reservations until last Sunday. One hotel, on the beach at Tamarindo, was no problem -- reservations were a piece of cake. The other, at Arenal Volcano, insisted that I had to fax a credit card verification to them. I no longer have a fax, so I called them about it. They said I could scan and email the form, which I did. I have received an email that said they have availability but are waiting for the credit card verification. Of course, leaving the house at 4:30 AM on Monday gave me no opportunity to do anything about it. So straightening that out has to be added to my long list of Things To Do Today.

8. My small hot-pink camera has disappeared. I have a vague recollection of having it at the restaurant for my mother's 89th birthday celebration, and having someone run after me because I was leaving it behind. I was carrying my mother's presents to the car, which I was going to drive to the front door of the restaurant to get her, so I thought perhaps I tossed the camera in one of the bags -- or was there just one bag? -- you see, too much has gone on and I just don't remember. I do still have my bigger camera, so I guess I will just take it and not worry about getting pictures from zip lines.

And that is what I have to remember all day: do the things I absolutely have to do and don't worry about the rest.

posted at 4:27 AM
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Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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