Tuesday, June 26

The 'Mean' Thing

My dad used to say that, "the mean thing, just don't get excited".
I really didn't understand why he used "mean" but I got the just of it when he would tell me this and it always made me smile.

I got to spend my summers and Christmases with my dad. It was just us and he kept me entertained by playing games. One of the best things he ever taught me was how to bluff. I basically learned to add playing Black Jack and wagering matchsticks. My enthusiam increased ten fold when we started using shinning new pennies instead of matchsticks. He would let me go to work with him and I'd construct a checker board from cardboard and Coca-Cola bottle tops. We'd play checkers when he wasn't busy working. He was a "company man", a train dispatcher, for all of his life. He'd let me help him by counting trains as they passed by the switchhouse and write down the numbers marked on each of the cars. To this day, I always buy the railroads first when I play Monopoly.

My dad was stearn but he did teach me discipline and how to stay calm when all others are losing their heads. "The main thing, is don't get excited."

Friday, June 22

Fighting Mother Nature

It's a losing battle but we all try. My grand plan was to live like I liked and correct it all with plastic surgery. Little did I know they don't do necks or knees! NO ONE wears turtlenecks anymore, especially here in hot, hot, hot Jaco. Pants are out of the question except maybe at night. I had every intention of having cosmetic surgery here in Costa Rica (it's cheap) but after a little research ( I watched how they do it), I decided to wear my wrinkles proudly, at least for now.

I see others contest Mother Nature in other ways. They construct houses on sides of mountains, in flood areas, stupid stuff like that (CR newbies). Every time I pass by this one house planted on the side of the mountain in Jaco, I look up to see if it's still there. The real hard 'rains' haven't even started yet. Click onto photo to enlarge and you'll see what I'm talking about. Where are the trees above the house going when their foundation erodes? It can be wicked rough here.

I've listened to a backhoe for about a month now down on the beach near my house. I have watched the river take ALL the boulders that were paid for and put there only for the guy to do it again, and again. When 'the rains' came two years ago, the river took out the entire hotel parking lot. JUST GONE, overnight. The owner is still fighting to keep his property from vanishing into the Pacific. Before, there was nice, soft sand in the ocean in front of the river. Now, all of the boulders have been swept out there and it's hazardous to surfers. My beach is a surfing beach. The river is my sun-spot and watch post. My most peaceful times in Costa Rica have been right there at that river, my chair positioned just right with the river passing under my chair and over my feet.

Two weeks ago, the beach was laden with debris from the river. I was totally shocked to see all the wood piled for the length of the beach. Today, it's almost all gone. Swept to sea. Watching the ocean has convinced me, you can't fight Mother Nature and win too often.

June 26th Postscript: I guess the hotel owner mentioned above is expecting 'the rains' to come hard really soon. The backhoe was working way pass 10 pm last night using his lights. It's pretty fascinating to watch the skill of the dozer operator placing those big boulders. I'll update photo as to progress of retaining wall reconstruction later. They were back at it today early, early and still going....

Wednesday, June 20

The Frog Prince

I would never admit I have a frog for a pet but this frog has adopted me. I didn't really realize it was the same frog until recently. He is very discrete, hiding in the day. IF this is the same frog, he has gotten REALLY FAT! Since I have discovered him, he has made himself right at home. I left the door open and he just came right on inside. The dogs don't bother him. This is surprising since my dogs terrorize any moving thing inside their property. Frogs are dangerous (read deadly) here. They have this milky-white poison they secrete from the back of their neck.
The dogs don't always eat all their food so 'Froggy' has had a steady, regular meal. Lately, I have chipped up the liver treats I make for the dogs and added it to their dry food. They have been eating ALL OF IT and Froggy has been kicking around the metal bowls LOUDLY as if telling me - Hey, Where's MY DINNER? I'm at odds as to whether to now feed him too? I really don't want to encourage him to stay. It was just recently that I realized he was getting into the dogs food bowls and had made a home of my lanai.
He has now let his buddy come in to join him. This area where he now lives has a partition at the bottom of the bars to keep frogs OUT! His routine is to wait for the dogs to finish eating and I bring the dogs inside. He then jumps in their food bowl, eats and then moves on to the water dish to sleep. His own private frog pond.
This photo gives you an idea just how BIG this fellow really is.
What would you do? I've tried putting him outside the fence by the river but he comes back.
This is home to him.

The Ticker

I guess we all have our addictions/obsessions. Mine is the ticker tape for trading the stock market.
It's hypnotic, it's exciting, it's heartbreaking, too. You can never pick the absolute tops or the bottoms of stocks. The trick is to "know when to hold 'em and know when to 'fold em". You can't trade with fear, greed, or hope. A little luck does help and intuition :) (i.e., research)

Stocks were traded in fractions when I first started learning to trade and only the symbol for the stock was displayed - "MSFT". They switched to the decimal system in the Spring of 2001 and just last year, CNBC added the company name in addition to the stock symbol to the ticker - "Microsoft (MSFT)". It's so much more user friendly now for beginners and those of us that don't want to look up the symbols to find out the company name OR calculate in fractions. For awhile, CNBC's ticker tape didn't show the volume and that was awful. I really depend on the volume of trading to determine where the action is. Now, CNBC's ticker displays the volume of shares currently trading, again. It's like the pulse of the world market. I remember when the market reopened on September 17, 2001. Blinking Blood Red.

On my computer I have a full screen of streaming real time tickers for my selected stocks. It is totally fascinating (for me) to watch the bid and ask and volume of each exchange - all those flickering red/green lights. Yes, I am a small pototoe stock market junkie. I stay in touch with that ticker tape Monday through Friday for many years now. Even in a restaurant, I ask if they'll change the channel to 28. I don't need the volume, just the ticker streaming by. Of course, I like to pick the places to eat breakfast or lunch that let me watch CNBC. You'd be surprised how accommodating Tico folks are here. My dream was to live in Costa Rica and trade the market for a living.
I'm still learning to trade while I'm living the dream.

Tuesday, June 19

Louse in my House

If you live in Costa Rica, you probably have dogs. If you have dogs, eventually (especially during rainy season), you will have ticks. I have not had a problem for almost five years but two weeks ago, I had an EXPLOSION of ticks in my house.

Macha (one of my dogs) was watching a dot on the wall and it sparked my curiosity to see what had caught her intense interest. From my perspective, it just looked like a black dot until IT MOVED. Well, the hunt was on. She had found a big fat momma tick. I found two more big fat ones. Then I noticed tiny, tiny dots on my white curtains. They were baby ticks still in a cocoon of sorts (not moving). I tweezer picked them all off and then started inspecting the dogs. Surprise, surprise! They had baby ticks stuck in their ears and between their paws. I was totally creeped out! The WAR WAS ON!

Canine Ehrlichia is serious stuff and A TICK can be deadly to a dog. The solution is to act fast and furious. First, I took my dogs to the vet and Jose Manuel gave them a shot for ticks and fleas. I haven't a clue what medicine it is but it keeps ticks off for 30-45 days*. It's not recommended as "a permanent solution" because liver damage is one of the side effects. It takes about three days for it to kick in. In the meantime, I had to kill the fleas on their bodies. I used the Banol dip (diluted) and cotton swabbed their ears inside. They all have touchy toes so I had to use the squirt bottle to soak their paws (underneath, between the pads, I used a syringe to satuate the skin). These were all baby ticks so they were in all the soft spaces. Under arms, belly - places like that. I gave them all a tick shampoo bath and then sponged on the dip (all over). They have to drip dry. For the house, I vacuumed with my beloved Rainbow vacuum cleaner OFTEN. I also sprayed inside the house and the entire grounds with this great pesticide, Peretroide. I had let the grass grow too high and hadn't sprayed in a LONG TIME. That is probably the root of the tick problem. During rainy season, creepy crawlers flourish.

I have had all sorts of vermits in my house when I purchased it. The house had open-brick (and open windows) in some areas and was 'Open to the Public'. I had bats that wouldn't give up their day spot until I glassed-in the area, a momma rat and nine of her babies, crabs, frogs, spiders, you name it. They all lived in this house before I bought it and I finally ran 'em out renovating.
The rat was the most amazing. My dog discovered her. She had dragged a dishcloth into some stack concrete blocks and made a pretty comfy nest for her newborn. No, I didn't kill them... they were transported over to the river to live. Pura Vida.

This whole process of getting a grip on the tick invasion has really been a battle. The only other things that are equally amazing are the crabs when they are laying their eggs (they go to and fro from the mountain in masses) and the ants. One special type of ant comes and sweeps through your house. Things that multiple quickly amaze me.

Gotta love it to live it - 'in the jungle'.

* The injection for ticks/fleas is Ivermectina (Thanks Wolfie for the info)

Monday, June 18

For the Bloke

This post is dedicated to the Blog Bloke. Without the Bloke's help, there would not be a 'Yo-Yo in Paradise' blog. He was there to help me with my silly questions and get me going on the technical details of blogging. His informative posts keep me current on what is available in the blog world. A lot of the info on his site is technical and way over my head but I still hope it will sink in. The tricks, tips and etiquette of blogging are all there on his site.

Recently, I thought I had lost him and posted "All Blogs go to Heaven" to see if he was still out there in the blogosphere. He replied and all was right again in the blog world.

This is my post to the Bloke to let him know that his efforts to educate people on blogging are much appreciated (and needed). Keep up the good work Bloke!
(Waiting anxiously for your post on how to make money blogging)

Friday, June 15


If you like Oprah and just love Mary J. Blige - Today's show WAS THE BEST!
I have loved Mary J's music for years but have lost touch with her new stuff (and her life). She rocks now, her music
and her life.

I'm one of those people who has a song in my mind. I will get a tune stuck in my head and replay it through out the day or a something will happen that triggers a song that is applicable and I hear that one. I call it 'Teri Tunes'. I've done this most of my life. I hope others do too, I've never asked. Music 'moves' me throughout my day.

I can "feel" Mary J's lyrics and music. Her gift really touches me. Listening to her today on Oprah is really the first time I've heard M.J. be so outspoken. I just love a success story and hearing someone finding their way 'Home'.
In five years, she has changed her life.
Click here for the show.

Saturday, June 9

Back to School - My Kids

My mom always wanted me to have kids, of my own. I've raised "OPK" (other people's) but that wasn't good enough for her, she wanted to bring me my own. I was adopted so, to her, it would be the same as my own. I never felt her urgency for me to have kids. Somehow I knew, one day, I'd have lots of them.

About a month ago, I started working (volunteering) at the school in my neighborhood. I have been very reluctant to do this because I didn't feel my Spanish was strong enough. Well, after visiting the school, I realized, IT DIDN'T MATTER. Funny how "fears" are. They are so understaffed and neglected. Anything I could give would be an improvement. I was relieved to know, the Gringa could help.

We have about 20 students ranging from 7 years to 15. There is ONE TEACHER for all of these children. He teaches them as a group and then they divide up into separate groups for work and study. I was totally amazed with his ability to juggle the various levels. All the children are so bright and disciplined.

I started by helping in the kitchen. There was only one lady cooking and she was feeding them in groups. Mainly because they didn't have enough plates and spoons (no forks). Some things are so easy to fix with just a little money. Now, they all eat together after having said the blessings in unison. Just precious.
They eat quietly, too. Beans and rice, everyday.

I showed the girls how to crochet (we'll be working on that all year) and make beads from oven-bake clay. I am on the hunt to find this is Costa Rica. "Sculpey" or "Fimo" clay, great stuff. We used glass beads with the handmade beads to make necklaces. The lesson was about design and patterns. Still working on that one too. For the boys, they have collected driftwood on the beach and will learn to do carving, sanding, and apply sealant. Just little projects we've started for when the rains set in and they can't play during their recesses. I'm a crafter and before this, there was no "art" class.

Christina, the girl that introduced me to the teacher, gave me a stack of books yesterday to help with teaching the kids English. Sally, my blog friend, will be passing through next week and she is bringing an English learning program for the computer. It appears, it's back to doing homework and learning how to teach English.

Adopt a School.

Thursday, June 7

"Paris who?"

I couldn't resist. Poor little richgirl Paris Hilton, money can't buy it all!
Isn't this beach baby cute with her little (diapered) bikini?

All Blogs Go To Heaven

I was wondering, what happens to your blog when it outlives you?
Recently, a blog friend of mine, The Blog Bloke, had some fairly serious surgery. He hasn't blogged since then or answered comments on his blog. It made me think, what will become of my blog when I am long gone. Does it just float around in cyberspace or does someone nix it after there have been no post for an extended period?

I do wish the Blog Bloke would let us know he is o.k. He is a die hard blogger and I can't imagine why he wouldn't update. It's been over a month now. He and Sally were very helpful when I was first setting up my blog last year. The Blog Bloke also set up the translate box on my blog. I could never figure it out so I sent him my password and he did it for me. Some people you know you can trust, even when you've never met.

Will "Yo-Yo in Paradise" be my legacy to Costa Rica?
That's one of those things that make you go "hmmmm".

Wednesday, June 6

"Tank you very much"

Speaking English is something Costa Ricans take a lot of pride in. I really didn't realize how important speaking English was to the locals. Of course, there are some that dig in their heels and NEVER want to learn (just like the Gringos refuse to learn Spanish) but most are happy to share what English they know with you. Since this is a tourist town, they know by speaking English they will be the most helpful to the most tourist and in turn, receive the best pay.

Most cannot pronounce "th" very well. Words like birthday end up sounding like "birday". My favorite tongue twister is to ask them to say - "this, that and the other" when they poke fun at my southern drawl slaughtering of the Spanish language. To repeat this, that, and the other really stumps most of them. Did you know, Spanish is spoken differently, with different accents, even different words, by people from different Spanish speaking countries? Actually, most words that require the use of the front teeth are spoken incorrectly by "Spanish speakers". My theory is they didn't have front teeth eons ago so that's why the "th" and sounds requiring the front teeth (like "v") are not in their language. Just a theory.

Another phrase most Costa Ricans know is "where you from". They may not know much else in English but they have learned that this breaks the ice and begins the conversation. It's a well used pick-up line.

I've always been perplexed by people's answer to that question, "where are you from". Having been born and raised in Southwest Florida, I was always surprised when someone with a thick Bostonian accent would answer, "Florida". It seemed that once they had bought property, gotten a Florida driver's license and a license plate, they "were from Florida". If that's the case, from now on I'm going to tell people "I am from Costa Rica. Tank you very much."

Tuesday, June 5

"You Can Live Without IT"

"You can live without it" was my mom's mantra. Us three girls, growing up, we heard that about a gillion times. We didn't have a lot of money to spend on needless things but that didn't keep us from wanting it. Our mother would always silence the whining with "you can live just fine without it."

Well Mom, Thanks! Your words ring true in my ears nearly everyday living here in Costa Rica. I never dreamed just HOW different life could be.
Sure, you can almost get anything you want here in Costa Rica BUT
1. you have to know where to find it, and
2. you have to pay a premium for being able to get it here.

I have discovered there are SO MANY THINGS I can live without. Some of it is out of necessity. I do without because "things" are just not available in my area. It necessitates having to make a two hour, "doing the mountain", trip to San Jose and return on the same day. I just know, I'll live without it and improvise or modify. Most times, I do without just because I have to. It just doesn't exist here........ Pura Vida.

Mom died years ago but we credit her for teaching us how to get by on just faith. In her wildest dreams, I'm sure she never thought I'd move to Costa Rica but she was the one that planted that seed. One of her side-jobs was keeping books for a local citrus grower in S. Florida and he had orange groves in Costa Rica. He was teaching Costa Ricans how to grow Florida oranges. This was back in the 70's. I helped her with his bookkeeping and fantasized -
C O S T A R I C A.