Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The Jo Show

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Flat Stanley

Catie received the following email letter from her teacher at LHPS, Mrs. Walker:

Dear Catie,

In school we read a book about a boy who got smashed by a bulletin board. His name is Flat Stanley. He wanted to go on a trip, so his family folded him up and mailed him to California. I am mailing my Flat Stanley to you. Please take him somewhere and write me back at school telling me where he went. If you take any pictures please mail them along with Flat Stanley to my school during the week of April 24th.

Thank you for helping me on this project. I wish I could fold myself up and visit you!.


Mrs. Walker

We miss and love you.

Dear Mrs. Walker,

Thank you for sending Flat Stanley for a visit! We are sending photos of him by email because regular mail takes a long time from Costa Rica. Here are some pictures of Flat Stanley with me, Kevin and my dogs Jumper and Jo.
Stanley also came to my school, called the Cloud Forest School, for a day. Jo also came, because I was Star of the Week, and I wanted to share him. This is a picture of my building at my school, and our playground. Some kids climb trees during recess. There is also a picture of my friend Liam in a tree, and some of my other friends.

I miss you too and I wish that everyone in my class in K-F could come and visit me!

Love, Catie

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Great Catie Adventure!


Marlboro Man

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Y mas fotos

And a few more photos from the past weeks.... I'll include some pictures of where we walk to when we go from our house to Raol's stable. We actually have to DRIVE across that bridge to get to Manolo and Beth's house. I shouldn't say we, as I would be afraid to drive over it. Jim drives our huge Land Rover over that bridge. We walk across it to get to the stable. You could also splash through the stream below to get to the other side.

Before we get to the bridge, we walk down a road near our house, and then cut across a neighbor's farm. The next picture is the private road that cuts through their farm, and leads to a coffee farm. We have to duck under barbed wire to get into the coffee farm, and then walk through some woods that belong to the Bell Bird Project. That's our farm in the upper right part of the picture. It's the same view of the farm I have from my bedroom window as I write this.

This next one shows Catie cutting up sugar cane for the horses' snacks. They graze in the meadow, eat hay and grain, and for treats they like sugar cane and bananas. They even eat the banana skins! Note the foot long machete in Cate's hand. Kevin is wisely standing back. Sugar cane is a good kid treat too - you sort of suck on it and chew on it to get all the sugar out.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Some Photos

The kids are asleep, the house is quiet, and so I'll try to post some pictures from the last couple of weeks. The one with me and Catie at the waterfall was taken on one of Kev's tours. Kev goes out with Raol, our friend who owns a stable, and helps giving tours to tourists. On this tour, we only rode for a short while, and then took a long hike into the Bell Bird Project Farm to this waterfall.

Kev then had us hike further to an even bigger waterfall.

By the time we delivered the tourists back to Bar Amigos in town, it was already dark, and we we had to ride back to the stable in pitch dark. Raol assured me that horses can see in the dark, which is a good thing, because I can't. It was pretty smooth going until the horses got close to the stable, when they started to gallop. Oh, and did I mention that Kevin was also bringing along another horse roped to his? Raol had the rest of the horses - about 6 of them - hitched to his horse.
Luckily, just as we were riding to the stable Jim showed up in the Land Rover, and was able to light up the road for us, and then helped Raol and Kevin to unsaddle all the horses.


Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?

When Daddy is away, I usually have company in my bed. They fell asleep before 8 p.m. tonight. I went to check on Catie and found her and Joe sound asleep. Considering that Joe has doubled in size in the past month, our bed could get pretty crowded. Joe went to the vet today for his second shot and a check-up. I talked to Dr. Villalobos about taking him back to the U.S. with us, and he said he would fill out the necessary paperwork which wasn't very complicated. Before he comes home with us he needs a little operation on a hernia on his stomach, which I'll have done here because it is a lot less expensive. His visit today cost appoximately $12, and that included me buying Jumper a new, very heavy chain leash. His last visit cost $1.80.

Joe and Jumper get along very well, and most days we watch "The Joe Show" which entails Joe torturing Jumper in various ways until Jumper finally has enough and tries to eat him. It's very entertaining.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Happy Easter/Feliz Pascua

Last night we had dinner at our neighbors' Nicolette and Ran. They have a daughter Ryan who is Catie's age, and the girls tell anyone who will listen that they are best friends. They also have a darling 9 month old baby named Jackson. We had hamburgers cooked on a grill and the best brownies I have ever had in my life for dessert.

We opted to walk home along the road rather than traipse through the woods that separates our houses in the dark. It actually wouldn't have been that dark, as we had one of Jim's toys with us, a 2 million candle power flashlight. I worry about snakes and scorpions and such things that you might not see very easily at night.

Today we are having a quiet day. We went out for a late breakfast to Stella's Bakery in Monteverde, did a little grocery shopping, Kevin bought 2 more gyabera style shirts (move over, Alex!) and now we are home doing laundry and such. Later today we're going to hang out with Beth and Manolo and their family and visit the Santamaria family farm up the street. Everyone is getting together to take a walk on the paths on the farm behind their house.

I'll try to post a picture of Catie and her best friend Ryan, who reminds me of someone special. Can anyone guess who?

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Alone Again

The Kelly/Sima clan left at 5:30 am today in order to make their 12:30 flight out of San Jose. They made it to the airport in Alajuela in 2 hours and 50 minutes, almost beating Jim's record time of 2 hours and 19 minutes, which did NOT include a pit stop and a car wash. A warning to the casual reader: this trip SHOULD take approximately 4 hours. As Jim puts it, "John is one hell of a wheel man".

Jim's trip to San Jose on Friday afternoon, on Grey Line, took 5 hours because it included a stop in Canas, which to the uninitiated, is in the WRONG direction. I imagine this is the last time we will patronize Grey Line.

The first picture was taken after a horseback ride down to the river on our farm. It was Johnny's first real horseback ride and he was a trooper, as the horses has to walk down some pretty steep cliffs. We spotted some white face capuchin monkeys right near here on the river. I've been riding for 3 years since we first came to Costa Rica, and I was always afraid that my horse might fall down on these cliffs. Well, mine did fall down but he got right back up again and I didn't fall off, so I'm feeling pretty accomplished. Rene, Chrissy and Catie decided to sit this ride out, so they stayed at home.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


We're Back!

It felt good to be back at home after being gone for 4 days. I was a little nervous about leaving Jumper and Joe alone at home, as normally we would leave Jumper with Dona Marta, but now that we have 2 dogs it seemed a bit much to ask her to take them both home with her. I arranged for people to come feed them, and they were both fine. Jump started barking as soon as she heard our car pull into the carport. Joe was so excited to see us that he threw up.
The men went to the market for some supplies, beer and wine, and we had a little party when they got back.
Today we'll give everyone a tour so they can get an idea of what the Monteverde area is like. Jim wants to show Kent the farm, and Kevin wants to take everyone horseback riding. Cate and Chrissy seem quite content to stay home and write scripts for the plays that they then act out. Look out world - this could be quite a duo!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Semana Santa

We headed down to San Jose on Thursday afternoon to spend two days with the DeMeos before we met up with the Kelly clan at the airport on Saturday. Normally it takes us about 4 hours to get to John's, but this time we had some car trouble on the way, and we had to take it a lot slower. I'm getting better at diagnosing car problems, and fixing them. John had his mechanics fix up the car for us, so going to the airport, and then later to the beach was no problem.

We met Kent and his family (daughter Anita, husband John and Johnny and Chrissy) at the airport after a trip to the peluqueria where Jim, Kevin and Catie all got their hair cut. Catie DID NOT like her haircut, as the hairdresser trimmed it quite a bit, and was only pleased when Chrissy told her she looked like Lucy Pevense (of Narnia fame). Speaking of Narnia, I was very happy to have the DVD in the car for the kids to watch. It made the 4.5 hour trip to the beach go quickly.

The beach was great! On Sunday we drove to Playa Grande and spent some time playing in the water until the waves got too rough. Then back to the hotel for more time in the pool. We had a fantastic tuna dinner at a beachside restaurant, and Johnny and Catie fell asleep before they finished eating.

On Monday, the men/boys went fishing on a 40 foot boat in search of mahi-mahi. They returned 5 hours later with about 40 pounds of a variety of fish, which I imagine will take all week to eat. They were told that you can see the pictures online at www.kingpin-sportfishing.com. The women/girls hit the beach for some body surfing, and then we visited the pool at the Diria, which was fun.

On the drive back to Monteverde we stopped in Santa Cruz for lunch. Santa Cruz is the biggest city on the Nicoya Peninsula, and is a typical Tico town, built around a town square. After being in Monteverde for 2 months it was exciting to be in a reasonably good size town. We drove in search of a restaurant, parked the car on the town square and found a Chinese restaurant. The food was fantastic! We asked a patron what he thought of the food, and he told us that he had driven from Liberia just to eat at this restaurant. Liberia is about an hour from Santa Cruz, so we figured the food had to be good, and it was.

Then back on the road up the mountain to Monteverde. We got home around 5:30 just in time for the sunset.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Enter the Twilight Zone - Getting a Cell Phone

It's difficult to get a cell phone in Costa Rica, as only Costa Rican citizens and businesses are eligible to have one. Jim and I have spent the past month trying to get a cell phone for one of his new companies. Jim had the proper papers from his lawyer in San Jose, with all the proper stamps on them. We went to ICE, the government utility company, to request a cell phone. We were told that no lines were available, and that we would have to wait for a line to become available. Our friend in ICE told us that she would call us when a line became available. We checked in with her several times a week, and no lines were ever available. We were beginning to think that maybe we were never going to get the cell, when lo and behold, we checked yesterday and we were told that a line was now available, and that we should come back after lunch to claim it.

We came after lunch with 2 copies of Jim's passport, 2 copies plus the original bill of sale for the new cell phone, our electric bill (?!), Jim's Cedula de Persona Juridica, and a notorized, stamped statement from Jim's lawyer attesting to his status as a business owner. Things were looking up until our ICE friend commented that the statement was over a month old (by 3 days) , and we would have to get another one. I pointed out that we had been waiting for a month for a line, and that getting another one would entail another trip to the lawyer in San Jose (8 hours round trip) and couldn't she please make an exception?

Without going into all the details, suffice to say that after an hour and a half in the ICE office our ICE friend managed to convince the ICE higher ups in San Jose that we were deserving of a cell phone ("They live on a farm, it's isolated, they have children...") and an exception could be made.

The ICE office is very small, with only one person at a desk. When you enter the office, however, you have to take a ticket from a very fancy blue machine after you determine your status (Old Person, Pregnant Person, Disabled Person?) and the reason for your visit (House phone, Cell Phone...) I guess ICE wants to know who their clients are.

Next on my list: high speed internet!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


El Establo

Kev, Cate and I got up early this morning so that we could walk to the stable where Imperial (Kevin's horse) is. It takes us about 20 minutes to walk up the road in front of our house, down the road near the Coffee Tour, across a coffee plantation, through the woods, then down another road, past Manolo and Beth's house, across a wooden bridge and up the road to the stable. This morning we stopped at Beth's to ask if they wanted to come with us, which they did.
When we got to the stable, Kevin saddled up Imperial, and went for a ride in the field. Raol also saddled up a horse for Nati, Beth's daughter and she had a chance to ride for a while in the field with Kevin. We all walked back to Beth's house for lunch, and then reversed the walk home. On the way home we stopped at the Coffee Tour restaurant for a drink. Jumper was still with us at this point, but when we left to walk the rest of the way home, Jumper was nowhere to be found.
We are at home now, it's 2 hours later and still no Jumper. Not a good sign. Joe walked most of the way with us this morning, and was carried the rest of the way.
Jim is in San Jose. He left on Thursday night because Dorothy had an early morning flight on Friday. He should be home later tonight.

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