Calendar Girls: Little Theatre Group

This afternoon, I went to a presentation of the play “Calendar Girls” (adapted from the movie (2003) of the same name, which was in turn based on a true story), presented by the Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica, a group of English speaking volunteer thespians and crew who have been delighting the audiences of Costa Rica for 59 years now.

I’d already seen a few productions of theirs before, and liked them; but I have to say, I was impressed with “Calendar Girls”. And not just the production itself – which was excellently acting and funny, while addressing some serious issues, but the story behind the play. It’s about a group of middle-aged women in the north of England who got together to do a nude calendar in order to purchase a new sofa for a local hospital, where the husband of one of them had been getting treated for cancer (which proved to be terminal). It was apparently a huge success, and there have been adaptations of it all over the world (including one here in Costa Rica – for the local animal shelters).

And… not only was the play wonderful, all the proceeds from the performance and the small auction that followed are going to assist the Earthquake Fund, for help to the people who suffered in the January 8th earthquake that took place around Poas. Even now, according to the British Ambassador (who was up in that region last week), and someone who has lived in the area for 40 years now, there’s still a huge amount of damage – to homes, to businesses, to community buildings, and to the environment – that needs to be dealt with.

So, not only did we get to see a play that was both poignant and amusing, but assist in helping the victims of the quake. Something to feel proud about.

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Visiting Costa Rica

Well, made my annual journey to Costa Rica on the 11th (of February); going to be here until March 11th. I’m having a relaxing time – something I really, really needed.

We’re heading off to the beach early tomorrow morning (we’re planning to be on the road by 6 am), so I’m quite looking forward to that. We were going to be going to the Caribbean side, but the weather there sucks at the moment (rain, bad winds, and high seas), so we’re going back to the Pacific side, to Esterillos Este again. It’ll be nice to see the familiar beach.

That’s about all for the moment; I’ll post later!

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Health Situation: Sigh of Relief (& Gen. Update)

Well, things are finally at a partially settled state regarding my health (ref: Major Update from August). We’ve got a diagnosis (accuracy somewhat uncertain), and I’ve found out today that I am receiving Long-Term Disability (something which has kept me on financial tenterhooks since my short-term ran out in the end of December). Thus the aforementioned sigh of relief. *g* (And I’ll also be seeing my Mom’s doctor in three weeks – the one who helped so much last year – so we’ll see what happens with that re the diagnosis….)

Partially because of this, December and January have been fairly hectic. I’m finally receiving physiotherapy (for the legs as well as the hand and a few other issues), and am taking advantage of the fact that the physio office I go to also has massage therapy available. (Boy, has it done wonders already, and I’ve only just had my third massage….) So things are starting to look up.

Going to Costa Rica in 2 weeks, 2 days (counting down? Who, me? *innocent halo*), for four weeks, so looking forward to that.

Other than that… well, in terms of fic, Saiyuki and my origfic NaNo novel are currently fighting over my brain, and a friend and I are going to be doing a NaNo of two during February (Feb. 1 to Mar. 2), during which I’ll be working on the sequel to Search and Rescue. Luckily during NaNowriMo in November, I reached the point where I could write about 500 words in 20 minutes to half an hour, so I’ll just be writing for a couple of hours each day. (And several during my flight down to Costa Rica! *g*)

Later, all!
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Flying On A Jet Plane…

Well, I suppose an Airbus 319 is close enough…

Okay, here we go – the story of my trip from about the time I left you 9 hours ago…

The boarding pass for my flight said Gate 4. Given that last year, the pass said Gate 4B, and it ended up being Gate 4A1 (which is a floor below Gates 1-5 & 4B), at about 1:15 pm (more or less) I checked the gate with Customer Service, who confirmed that it was definitely Gate 4.

About 5 minutes later, an announcement comes over the PA system to say that flight AC 999 from San José to Toronto was leaving from Gate 4A1, as opposed to Gate 4. I had to laugh.

Turns out that we were actually leaving from Gate 4A3, but since that’s just across a small room from 4A1, the only problem were the crowds (Gate 4A1 was actually a Taca flight going to Guatemala, and Gate 4A2 was the Lacsa flight going San Salvador-Toronto).

Spent the 25-30 minutes waiting for my particular boarding call chatting to a man who was on my flight; he’d been in Costa Rica for 9 days, mostly on business that had involved also going to Belize and Guatemala. We had a pleasant conversation.

Then, when I got into my seat, I was seated next to an older couple who’d been on vacation. We got to talking about our trips, a bit of where we’d gone (they’d visited Arenal – one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes – and actually had a clear view of the top the first morning they were there), and then got a surprise.

Turns out that they live about only two blocks south and six to eight blocks east of me!

We definitely had some turbulence, both taking off (a bit, not nearly as much as we did landing in CR) and during the flight, but it didn’t really bother me that much. (Experienced flyer here…) The flight was fairly enjoyable overall, and I actually managed to (*gasp*) get another page and a half of RuroSen written!

When we arrived at Pearson (we reached the gate at 8:45 pm), it turned out that we were actually in the main building of Terminal 1 (as opposed to the temporary building out in the middle of the runway area, which takes a 10-15 shuttle bus ride to reach), at Gate 155. Went through Customs, which took about 10 minutes or so – I was right behind the couple I’d been sitting next to – part of which was used up being entertained by the very excited dog sniffing for drugs (he was bouncing around all over the place!). Got my luggage fairly quickly (my largest suitcase came by just as I reached the carousel, so I managed to grab it quickly, and then it was another rotation and a bit to get my other suitcase), and was through the last checkpoint and out by the taxis just before 9:15 pm. Less than half an hour all told – better than my last two trips from CR! (The first one, one of my suitcases had been grabbed and moved over to the claim area in the back, so I waited at the carousel for about 40 minutes for it to show up before going to report it lost; last year, I ended up having my suitcases checked – random spot check, I suspect – before I could leave the baggage claim area.)

Got home half an hour ago, and after about 30 seconds of staring at me (Dad, you were right on the timing!) I had both cats coming up to me for attention; right now, Mitzy’s on my lap (trying to make sure that I’m not paying too much attention to the computer), and Aspen is stretched out over the back of my chair (her favourite place to be when I’m sitting there).

Well, I’m tired; going to quickly eat my dinner (the sandwich Mom packed for me), put away a few things, and then go curl up in bed. Off to breakfast/brunch/coffee tomorrow with one aunt, and then the same again with another on Friday (we’re not going all together due to scheduling difficulties), to tell them all the details and show all the pictures… *G*

RuroSen Chapter 3 will be posted tomorrow. RuroBatt/Edge of the Blade Chapter 3.4 will most likely be posted either Friday or Saturday.

Later, all!

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…Babe, I Hate To Go…

Well, here I am, Aeropuerto Juan Santamaria, with an hour to go before official boarding time. Didn’t have to line up to get my exit stamp, as we got that done at the bank on Monday, and was through security like that *tag snaps her fingers*.

Do, however, have some seating irony…

The Air Canada Airbus 319 that does the direct route from Toronto Pearson to San José(/Alajuela) Juan Santamaria has an amazing amount of leg room. Being over 6 foot, with most of that height in my legs, that is an important factor for me.

On my flight down, I ended up in the window seat of the exit row, 17A, which doesn’t actually have a seat directly in front of it (just the exit door). It made it a bit awkward to get access to my carry-on.

Mom asked me whether I wanted an exit row seat (in which case, she said we would have to be at the airport at about 11:30, which would have meant leaving at 10:45), and I said no, because of the awkwardness of carry-on access and the fact that there’s no need of that seat for leg room. So we ended up getting to the airport just after noon.

Guess which seat I have?

17F. Exit row window.

*tag glances around her Plot Bunny Corral to see Saitô and Snape laughing their heads off*

Oh well…

Later, all!

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…Don’t Know When I’ll Be Back Again…

Well, in less than 15 minutes we’re leaving for Aeropuerto Juan Santamaria (which is actually in Alajuela, not San José proper)… my flight leaves just before 2:30pm…

*sigh* I’m going to miss this place.

Well, back to T.O. for me…

At least this trip has not only been relaxing, but productive as well.

Will post later!

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Toasty Orange Flames…

Well, I’m having a pleasant last night in Costa Rica. I’m sitting in front of the fireplace, enjoying the warmth of the flames (only night we’ve had it on while I’ve been here, but it’s been a bit cool today). Mom’s busy in the background scolding No Se (the youngest cat – aka “El Diablo”), who is persisting in wandering all over the table and counters. Spent a reasonably nice, quiet day today, just relaxing.

I’m definitely going to miss this place, though I am looking forward to seeing my aunts and my cats again, and going back to a country where I understand everything spoken in the official languages…

I’ve had a very good visit here – got to see lots of places, but also got the chance to relax that I don’t often get back in Toronto.

Talk to you tomorrow!
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From Costa Rica…

Had a very pleasant day yesterday – lunch out at the Hotel Bougainvillea (gorgeous place, and excellent food), then did a bit of shopping with Mom after we dropped Dad off at bridge, then came home, made arrangements to start getting DSL Internet at home (as opposed to the dial-up that I have now), and then when we picked Dad up we went out to dinner at a Princess Marina (a small chain of restaurants, kind of like a St. Hubert’s at home). That dinner was okay, but nothing special (and the noise when we first got there was awful – whole bunch of families there with their little kids, and the acoustics of the place were dreadful).

Shoe Shopping for Tall Women

Greetings From Costa Rica!

Haven’t posted much lately, but I’ve been in Costa Rica visiting my parents since Feb. 20th, and their ‘net connection isn’t the fastest or best here…

Anyway, I’ve been fairly busy, actually.

Places I’ve Gone

Cats & Rambles

This is what is called posting for the sake of posting. Well, mostly, anyway…

Regarding Cats: Mitzy (see entry pic) is an adorable little Burmese cat. And I do mean “adorable”, despite the fact that some of her habits (like trying to lie on my face when I’m attempting to sleep, and sucking on stuffed animals, electric blankets, etc., and licking the sides of the plastic laundry hampers, for example) drive me crazy.

Unfortunately, over the past two or three weeks she has developed yet another habit that drives me nuts.

I’m used to Burmese lying across my shoulders – that was one of Brightspot’s favourite perches, as it happens. And Mitzy generally liked to be lifted up to hang over one shoulder facing behind me. But lately, she’s been climbing onto my shoulders while I’m sitting in my chair, and draping her forepaws and the front part of her torso over my chest, for all the world as if she’s reading what’s on my computer screen. And it’s driving me bonkers! *sigh*

Of course, Mitzy’s bonkers anyway… Sweet-tempered, but definitely “not all there” at times…

As for other things:

First of all, a belated Happy 23rd to my sister Daphne…

Secondly, a belated Happy B-Day to stormheller!

Thirdly… hoping to have another chapter/part of either RuroBatt/Edge of the Blade or RuroSen: A Strange Partnership to post soon…

Fourth – anyone know any good ways to deal with headaches without taking drugs? (Currently having the occasional dose of Tylenol Migraine, since it seems to help, and I can’t have anything with aspirin due to the medication I take for my TMJ/osteoarthritis.) Other than sleep, that is. I’ve had a fairly good winter so far with respect to headaches, but lately… *sigh*

Fifth: I’m leaving for Costa Rica for just over two weeks on Monday the 20th. Will probably upload the occasional update (or maybe more frequent – I like Costa Rica, and I generally tend to relax there)… I’m really looking forward to it. And I may even get slightly warmer weather than last year, given that this year, I’m going down about 2 weeks later… (And will hopefully not come back to a nasty snowstorm here in T.O., given it will be into the second week of March by that time…)

Okay, that’s about it for now…

Talk to you soon!
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I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane… Don’t Know When I’ll Be Back Again…

Well, this is it. In a few hours, I’ll be on my way back to Toronto (and the cold and the snow – though at least it appears to be above -20C today…).

I’m really going to miss Costa Rica and the parents… (and the Goold Zoo v2.4…). *sigh*

Oh well – I imagine that Mitzy and Aspen will be very pleased to see me back (once they’ve got over their sulks).

Have to get ready to put my computer in my carry-on and leave now, so I’ll say, “Bye!” until I’m back in T.O. once again.

Mist & Sulfur

Well, went to Volcan Poás (the largest active volcano in Costa Rica) with my parents and my Mom’s Costa Rican best friend (wonderful, lovely woman – I really like her) this morning.

Unfortunately, we happened to hit one of the cloudy days, so couldn’t see the crater. I’ve got some pictures of the slopes leading down to the crater – what I could catch of them through the mist – but none of the crater itself that isn’t from a postcard or the little information booklet. On the other hand, got what I hope will be some nice pictures of some of the plant-life in the cloud forest around the volcano, and some of the coffee plant areas between Poás and San José, and the souvenir shop at Volcan Poás (which helps fund the Parque Nacional Volcan Poás) was quite nice, with very reasonable prices. I picked up a small wooden mask and a stone carving to hang up in my apartment, as well as the aforementioned postcard showing the craters of Poás and a lovely shirt with a jaguar on it (me and cats – any type of cats… my family can tell you I’m semi-obsessed with them) and a slogan to Save the Costa Rican Rainforests. Some really beautiful stuff there… of course, there was a lot of touristy stuff as well (the t-shirts being some of them).

We then stopped off at a restaurant on the way back for lunch, and I got a few more scenery/landscape pictures. Then Mom & Dad ran a few errands in San José after we dropped Mom’s friend off at her car, and we got back home about mid-afternoon. All in all, a very pleasant day.

And since I’ve now only got 1-1/2 days left here, I’m glad that even though we didn’t get to see the craters, it wasn’t a wasted trip. I had a good time.

Still in Costa Rica (and wishing I was staying longer)…

HVD From Costa Rica!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope everyone’s having a lovely day, and getting nice pressies from significant others…

Still enjoying my time down here in Costa Rica… Interesting news to post as soon as I get back, and hopefully some lovely photos as well… (Featuring The Goold Zoo v2.4.)

Casa del Soñador

Known in English as “The Dreamer’s Cottage”…

It’s a landmark location in the Orosi Valley in Costa Rica. It was started by a man who used to disappear off to this cottage and he would sit there (sometimes for days), whittling and carving coffee wood (including some wonderful carvings on the cottage itself). People started to come by to look at the cottage, and the carvings, and expressed interest in buying those carvings. He died in what my Mom thinks was 1995, and his sons took it over as a business (and continue to carve).

When I came down here for Christmas 2002, I didn’t get to go (Mom & Dad took the younger two over after they’d dropped me off at the airport for my flight home), so it was definitely one of the sites I wanted to visit on this trip. So, since the only thing we had planned today was my second appointment with the acupuncturist this morning (which so far does seem to be helping!), we headed out today.

Stopped off for lunch at the Orosi Lodge, a small European-style guest lodge owned and run by a couple who are good friends of Mom & Dad. Lunch there was delicious, and Mom & Dad got a chance to chat to their friends for a while.

Then we drove off to the other side of the lake, stopped by a newly opened small Artisan Market, and then arrived at the Dreamer’s Cottage.

There are some really lovely carvings there. Most of them are of people, men smoking pipes and/or carrying bags of coffee beans (Orosi Valley is full of coffee plants), and women (mostly praying). They had some lovely canes/walking staffs, but the only one high enough for me was too long to fit in my suitcase, so I couldn’t get it. Then I saw one of an owl (in exquisite detail, including chest feathers) perched on a branch, and fell in love with it. Dad was wonderful enough to buy it for me as a gift!

Most to all of the carvings in there were 3,000 colones, which translates to about $9 Canadian, or about $6.50 U.S. (based on Costa Rican exchange rates, not Canadian/U.S.). Considering the artistry of these pieces, that is remarkably cheap. And there’s no pressure to buy; the cottage is open to the public and you’re welcome to just come in and look around if you want. To me, that says that they’re definitely more interested in the carving for the carving’s sake, rather than for what they can get for them, and want people who do choose to buy a carving to really want it for itself.

Definitely a place worth visiting, and I’m very happy I decided I wanted to go…

Hello From Costa Rica…

Well, I made it! I am now here in Costa Rica, watching the beginning of a lovely sunset from my parents’ study window, having met the new members of the Goold Zoo v2.3, and greeted the old ones (and got my Scrappy-Cuddles in! He was delighted to see me…).

Won’t be online as often while I’m down here (each call costs, plus time costs), but I will be on every couple of days at the very least.

It’s so lovely and warm here… even Mom & Dad’s place, which is cooler than San José (which was actually 20C when I arrived, at 1:15pm local time, not 27C). Just what I need, I think, to de-stress. And I’ve got two weeks of it… *smiles dreamily*

Hoping to get quite a bit of writing done while I’m here. Last time I was in Costa Rica, I wrote quite a bit of HP fic, including the beginning of Harry Potter and the Sensitive’s Gift. This time, I hope to work on RuroBatt, Eye of the Storm, Harry Potter and the Sensitive’s Gift, another RuroKen story that Kenshin and Saitô have shoved down the connection between my brain and the infamous Plot Bunny Corral, and one of my original stories. But the primary purpose in being here is to enjoy time with my parents, relax, and de-stress, so those have priority.

Later, all!

Countdown to Costa Rica: 1…

Well, it’s now less than 24 hours until I leave; just over 26 hours until I’m due to land in San José (which is apparently due to be 27C tomorrow). *bounces excitedly again*

So looking forward to seeing my parents again, and visiting CR for the second time… I really can’t wait to go. And I’m looking forward to the opportunity for Scrappy-Cuddles – I miss Scrapper. Haven’t seen him since Christmas/New Year’s 2002/2003. And Mouse too, of course (though I’ve never really cuddled Mouse…). Not to mention meeting the new cats: Thor and No Se; and the dogs: Don Quixote de la Rancho, Sancho Panza, and Misho…

Now, I’ve just got to get packing…

Countdown to Costa Rica: 2…

36 more hours until my flight… *bounces excitedly* I can’t wait!

And to make things even better (*knocks on wood*) my cold is much better. Not gone, yet, but definitely better than it was over the weekend.

So, all I’ve got left to do is pick up the stuff I’m bringing down for the parents (tomorrow morning after work); laundry; and packing. The cats are being taken care of by my (adopted) uncle, who stopped by this evening to be introduced to Aspen and confirm he had my keys…

And just one more work shift. To make things even better, there’ll be no brats in the morning! It’s their 4-day mid-term break starting tomorrow, so none of them will be coming in… (Which also means I don’t have to outside to unlock the portables in the morning – yay!)

Later, all!

Countdown to Costa Rica: 3…

Well, it’s now 3 days and 1-1/2 hours until I’m due to be landing in Costa Rica… the countdown continues. Really looking forward to the balmier temperature – hoping it will help with my cold (which is getting better, thankfully, but T.O.’s dry cold isn’t doing me any favours…).

Now, I just need to worry about finishing the clean-up of my place, doing the laundry, and packing…

Countdown to Costa Rica: 4…

Well, in 4 days (96 hours) from the timestamp on this entry, I should be either taxiing down the runway of Toronto’s Pearson International, on my way to Costa Rica – or (less likely) already in the air. I’m really looking forward to it (and hoping to hell that this [CENSORED BY AUTHOR] cold is gone by then): 2 weeks with the parents, the Zoo Version 2.3 (four cats, two of whom I’ve not yet met and 3 dogs, none of whom I’ve met), seeing some of the people I met last time I was down there, meeting some of Mom & Dad’s new friends… going swimming, the sunshine, the warmer temperatures…

(*tag stares dreamily out the window*)

Basically, I’m really looking forward to it.

[Additional Note: RuroBatt Chp. 1.4 will be up sometime today, as soon as I feel I’m focused enough to concentrate on HTML-izing it.]