Sharing and enjoying my small-town life with my darling husband, family, friends,
faith, two adorable Ragdoll cats and one very sassy Yorkie!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Travel - COSTA RICA!

We just got home from a WONDERFUL week-long vacation in Costa Rica. We traveled with two of our best friends, sharing a lovely condo in Jaco Beach, which is world-famous for its surfing.

Costa Rica is a WONDERFUL country. First of all, it is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL... the mountains, the sea, the beaches, and of course the amazing plant and animal life. Think Jurassic Park (parts of the movies were filmed there) -- without the dinosaurs, of course! ;o)

(VERY interesting fun fact: Costa Rica is the only country in the western hemisphere without a national military. The country maintains a diplomatically neutral stance, based on ideals of peace and pacifism. Without defense spending, the government is able to use its tax revenue for universal health care, social security, and free education. Pretty cool, huh? Who knew?!)

I loved MANY things about Costa Rica. The people (who refer to themselves as "Ticos") are extremely friendly. They love their country, and they value their tourist industry - and it shows. And while the typical standard of living there may be more humble than we tend to think of here in the US, there was NOT the poverty of some other countries we have been to, vendors were not pushy, and we never saw even one homeless or begging person.

And OH! The food was very delicious. Again, largely "humble" food, perhaps... but what those talented Ticos can do with fresh, simple ingredients like rice, beans, fish, pork, tortillas, plantains, sauces and salsas was amazing!

We loved eating where the locals ate; small, inexpensive roadside eateries called "sodas" were our favorites.

And have I mentioned the fruit smoothies?! Oh YUM! Had one every day. (Mango-strawberry was my favorite, but I think I tried them all!)

And the "Arroz con Leche" (rice pudding), with cinnamon and cloves... simply delicious! Had one of those every day, too! ;o)

And OH! How could I forget... the COFFEE! YUM! Costa Rica "is" coffee! We really looked forward to our morning cup... and our evening cup. And OK, maybe a cup or two in the afternoon... ;o) Seriously, the coffee was TO. DIE. FOR. Yeah, I'd go back just for that! besides EATING (and drinking!), what did we DO in Costa Rica?

We spent a day at Manuel Antonio National Park. While we were there we took a nature hike with a guide who had an unbelievable knack at spotting things, like iguanas, monkeys, birds, butterflies, spiders, snakes, raccoons, sloths and more.

I LOVED the monkeys, they are so comical!

Gymnast monkey showing off all his tricks!

Colorful crab:

A "Laughing Falcon":

This guy was BIG! EEK!

The markings on this sloth's back mean it is a male.

We swam in the ocean and jumped the waves like a couple of kids.

I took a short nap on the beach and woke up with a start as a big, fat iguana ran right across my legs!!! ACK!

LOVED this road sign on the way into the park:

("SLOW! [Watch for:] People, raccoons, sloths, monkeys" !)

We also spent a day being brave and daring ;o) doing a zipline and waterfalls canopy tour. Oh maaaaaaaaan, I LOVE stuff like that! Strap me into a harness and send me sailing high through the tree-tops and I am in HEAVEN! (Literally!) ;o) *Wheeeeeeeeee!*

Still wearing our ziplining gear, but taking a break to enjoy the beauty of one of many Costa Rica's gorgeous waterfalls:

With our friends on one of the suspension bridges:

We went horseback riding in the mountains one afternoon, and watched the sunset from a beautiful look-out point.

My horse's name was Picaro:

Guess what Picaro means in Spanish?
It means "mischievous, naughty, sly, clever, rogue, rascal"!
And oh yeah, he was all of those things -- and more! He had a mind of his own, and he wasn't much interested in hearing what I had to say. In fact, Picaro pretty much scared *THE CRAP!* out of me a couple of times, and I am not easily scared! The path was rocky, twisty-turny and STEEP... and in order to save a couple of steps he'd frequently get TOO DARN CLOSE to the edge of the mountain, and I am not gonna lie to you - I was terrified. There were no guard rails, and it was a LOOOOOONG WAY down! I was really, really happy to get back on terra firma, let me tell you. I think I'll turn in my chaps, thank you very much; an equestrienne I am NOT!

The boys went spear-fishing one morning, we girls went shopping. We ate out and we cooked in.
We spent lazy days sight-seeing and checking out the area, and enjoyed several night-swims in the pool at our condo.

We walked on the beach...

We enjoyed the gorgeous sunsets...

...and we hated to see the week come to an end.

It was a wonderful winter getaway that we will always remember, and we definitely recommend Costa Rica!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be;
and whatever your labors and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

-- 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)

Photo of night sky from: here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"United Breaks Guitars"

One passenger's very frustrating experience with United Airline's customer service.

The story:
In 2008, musician Dave Carroll had his $3500 Taylor guitar seriously damaged by careless baggage handlers at Chicago's O'Hare airport. For ALMOST A YEAR, Dave got NOWHERE trying to get United to accept responsiblity for this. Finally, in frustration, he made this music video, and within DAYS it was an instant YouTube HIT.

(And apparently, United has now offered him some compensation!) Really?! Yeah, no kidding. ;o)

And as someone who has also had careless damage to luggage and belongings when flying, (although admittedly, nothing nearly as valuable as Dave's guitar, but irritating and frustrating all the same!)... I happen to LOVE what he did, and the results he had.

And I absolutely *LOVE!* this video! *Way to go, Dave!*


Taylor guitar photo credit from: here

Monday, November 16, 2009

*Shameless Plug for Ragdolls*!

I am so excited! The December 2009 issue of Cat Fancy highlights my favorite breed, the Ragdoll.

It is a very good article introducing people to these wonderful animals. And there are some beautiful photos of different Raggies, too!

Here are a few excerpts:

Elegant, beautiful, sophisticated and sensitive all are words that describe the Ragdoll breed. Another? "They are a little klutzy!" says one breeder. In other words, Ragdolls aren't the type to climb curtains or bound athletically to the top of the fridge.

"They're very laid-back, happy-go-lucky cats. They're not the type of breed that will be in your face, on your shoulders, screaming at you for attention, but they want to be in the same room as you... and they'll follow you from room to room."

But that's the Ragdoll for you. Almost all of their characteristics are described as moderate - activity level, body conformation, athleticism, temperament and size. There is one exception: their enormous capacity to love. The affection they feel for their companions is second to none. Ragdolls crave friendship and relish the opportunity to return the favor.

"They're very people-oriented."

Once smitten with a Ragdoll, fans say it's hard to imagine another type of cat.

So true. That's my precious Boo, all over!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I love this time of year for many reasons.

One reason is that the markets are full of one of my all-time favorite fruits... the pomegranate. Typically in season from October to January, they are virtually impossible to find (at least where I live!) at almost any other time of the year. Right now I have six or seven big, beautiful, plump ones in my kitchen, and I could easily eat (and often do!) one whole pomegranate a day.

Pomegranates are not only delicious, they are very nutritious, too. Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, pomegranates have been linked to heart, joint and artery health, blood pressure and cholesterol reduction, even possible cancer prevention.

How to Eat (and Enjoy) a Pomegranate:

Eating a pomegranate takes a little work because the edible seeds are encased in an inedible white membrane. The seeds are the part you eat -- they have a tangy, sweet-sour flavor.
Here's the best way to get to them:

• Slice the crown end of the pomegranate off.
• Score the rind in several places around the fruit (from top to bottom).
• Break (or cut) the sections apart.
• Put the sections in a bowl of water.
• Pry the seeds out with your fingers (but BE CAREFUL, the juice will stain clothes permanently).
• Strain the seeds using a colander.
• The seeds can be eaten right away, stored in the refrigerator or even frozen.

My favorite way to eat pomegranate seeds is just right out of hand. Yum, nature's candy! But they are also wonderful sprinkled on salads or cereal or stirred into yogurt. You can add pomegranate seeds to quick breads, muffin or cake recipes... or add them to savory sauces. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, pomegranate vinegar, syrup, or molasses are also quite delicious!

For more info and for some delightful recipes: (Who knew?!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009 fun!

My wonderful and ever-so-techy-tricky niece, Gwynnie, made this for me. Awwww, thanks sweetie! I LOVE it (and you!) xoxox!

It's a little glimpse into the minds of Boo and his "brother" and BFF, Buster (my daughter's cat). *ENJOY!* Cat Conversations with Buster & Boo by gwyneth

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This video *CRACKS* me up! Every time I watch it, I laugh till my sides hurt.

It should be called, "Girlfriend Kitty Finds Out Boyfriend Kitty Has Cheated and She Ain't Happy!"

(Make sure your sound is turned up!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Last of the Mojitos -- and Custard's Last Stand! (Vacation at the Beach is Over!)

***Ahhhhh!*** A much needed vacation! Nothing like a getaway to the beach for some good ol' fashioned R & R!

So, my dear husband, dear daughter, dear son-in-law and I spent a week away last month. Our destination? One of our favorite beaches in the country: Bethany Beach, DE.

We LOVE Bethany! The beach... the boardwalk... the sweet little town! And it's even better when the time is spent with even MORE family (my sister, my brother-in-law, and my niece)!

So what do you do at the beach in September? ANYTHING you want to! And I'm honestly NOT a lay-and-bake-in-the-sun kind of girl, so I LOOOOOOVE the beach in September. All the beauty and fun of the ocean, but slightly cooler days and nights, and no crushing crowds... it's awesome!

So how did we spend our week? We slept in lazily, we walked on the beach, we shopped, we did lots of reading on the balcony, we laughed and played, and of course we ate lots of great seafood. YUM! The week flew by, but the memories are still making me smile!

Ocean City, MD (not too far away) was having their annual "Sun Fest", and that made a GREAT day trip. Mmmmm, I LOVE fun, schmaltzy festivals like that!

While we were at SunFest, my darling husband and brother-in-law rented segways! Ohmy, how FUN was that?! I thought I'd probably kill myself, but what'dya'know, I took right to it. They said I was "a natural"! (How THAT can benefit me in real life, I'm still trying to figure out!) ;o)

Right before we left home for the beach, a friend of ours gave us a couple of pounds of beautiful, fresh, garden-grown spicy peppers. We carefully hauled those babies all 450 miles!

My sister and I love to cook, and especially at the beach! So we had a plan for those peppers... and it was called MEXICAN FIESTA NIGHT!

We cut the tops off each pepper, and hollowed them out carefully. We browned sweet sausage and onions and added to that some chipotle Mexican rice. We stuffed those bad boys with the sausage/rice mixture and also a nice chunk of pepper jack cheese, and layered them with enchilada sauce in a VERY LARGE baking dish. More (shredded) cheese on top, then baked it all at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Garnished with scallions and fresh chopped cilantro... DELICIOUS! Served with refried beans, rice, tortillas and Mojitos... OLE'!

So the week passed, and the time came to leave. *sigh*

It's always hard to face the end of a great vacation, but the beach had worked its magic, and we were definitely feeling mellow and happy and relaxed - just what the doctor ordered!

And of course, it's always nice to get home... and we were VERY happy to see our sweet li'l Boo!