Well Now I have gone and done it

Ξ June 26th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

For the (maybe) 2 people who regularly follow this blog, I am happy to report that I am now officially engaged to marry Maria Luisa Fallas.

I had planned this thing for weeks…  ML and I would stand up at our joint birthday party and welcome the guests.  She would speak first… then I would welcome them as well.

The unscheduled part was where I would say something really romantic about how much she means to me, how I want to spend my life with her… and of course the biggie… will you marry me? 

This worked swimmingly until I was handed the mic, at which point I forgot:

  • Maria’s name
  • Spanish

OK… the name thing was not a huge deal as guys can always get by in Costa Rica with Mi Amor, Mi Corazon, Mi Vida, and others.  These are the Latin equivalents of Darling… though ours are much cooler!

The Spanish thing was considerable more of an issue as only about 8 people of the 80 at the party actually spoke English… the only language that I could remember at the time.  Sadly, my bride to be is not one of them being  of the Tica (Costa Rica) persuasion… she speaks little if any English.

So I did what I always do in time of sheer panic.  I panicked!  I also sweated bullets… looked vastly uncomfortable.  I then remembered the word “hola”, which means “Hello”, and is not a particularly helpful word when you have a lot more to say.  Thankfully, I recovered, did the welcome and proposal thing

She accepted… and now I am compromised

Then…  I got the hell back to some serious drinking (which I never do!) because I knew the Costa Rican Traditional, Country and Western, Can Can and Square Dance Dancers were coming!

The dancing thing was her idea.  “Let’s have professional dancers at the party!” sez she.  OK, sez I.

Those of you who are aficionados of dance may indeed wonder how a dance troupe can be Latin traditional, Square Dance, and Can Can, all at the same time!  This would seem to be a conflicting situation involving not only vastly different cultures, differing periods, and certainly different costumes! 

HA!  If you do not understand how this can be done… you are clearly part of the great unwashed!  You probably voted for George Bush in the last election and live in states that New Yorkers feel should not even be PERMITTED to vote.  Any New Yorker can could easily explain this.

Sadly, I am originally from Ohio, so you will have to find a New Yorker to help you with this.

In any case, we were treated to a hour of really interesting dancing with the dancers wore can-can skirts (sort of) with cowboy boots, and cowboy hats who danced the Can Can mixed with a tad of do-see-do!   I sure got MY money’s worth! 

Cowboy?  Cowgirl!  Oh Oh!  Possible PC alert!

As I no longer live in the USA, I have sort of gotten away from the Politically Correct silliness that had invaded the US just as I made my departure!  Forgive my gaffe! I do not wish to offend! Should I have said cowgirl boots?  Is cowgirl now offensive to girls?  What if the girls are women?  If they are women, should these now be cowwomen boots?  Is there such a thing as a cow woman?  Should it be now be cowPERSON?  What about the COWS!  Do they now have a PC word of their own? What is the PC word for cow? I am so confused!

Back to dancing!

Veronica, the lead dancing lady, the one without any body fat and who has not broken a sweat since she ran a iron man in the rain forest came running up breathlessly to ask ME to participate.  I tried to warn her that this approach would affect the size and availability of her tip, but I had still not sufficiently recovered my Spanish.

I have advice for all of you, especially those of the male persuasion.

Men, in general, should never can-can, and if they DO, they must never can-can and square dance simultaneously.  To do so brings on pain in one’s nether regions.  For those of you who do not know what a nether region IS, please check with long time NY resident Hillary Clinton.

I hurt myself… and I almost had a myocardial infarction.   I really didn’t, but I am testing a new blog tool called BlogJet and I want to see what the spell check does with myocardial and infarction.

It fixed the first and couldn’t find infarction… which is maybe cause there is no such word.

I did suffer severe strain to my nether regions, and I am feeling it today.

Everyone seemed to have a good time.  We got some nice gifts… and a surprise gift from my daughter Karen and her family in Chicago.  Thanks sweetie!

In summary… I am an engaged person and my sweetie is happy. 

Most people now plan the wedding… but we spent all morning planning the honeymoon  (luna de miel or moon of honey, in Spanish).


A taste of Irony! The real Taste of Chicago?

Ξ June 25th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Humor, Whatever |

Shooting near Taste of Chicago festival kills one and injures two others

CHICAGO, June 26 — Shots were fired near the crowded Taste of Chicago outdoor food festival, killing one man and wounding two others, police said.
The shooting occurred late Saturday as tens of thousands of people were leaving the festival, which had just closed for the evening, police spokesman Pat Camden said.

Now does anyone other than me find this to be pretty amusing?  (No, idiot, I am not referring to the dead or dying). 

As an ex-Chicagoan living the ex-pat life in Costa Rica, I think that simply letting people sample the wonderful cooking in Chicago is not enough!  Clearly, Chicago agrees!

Chicago clearly wants to enlarge on the definition of Taste of Chicago to maybe get a feeling for the true Feel of Chicago.  Sort of…. “Violence and gun control with pene pasta!”

Try some pierogi but bring your Mac 9!

Like ribs?  Try our sauce and our Glocks!

Oh… BTW… the food there is most excellent… so I would suggest everyone go. 

Just make sure you are carrying!


Looking to start a business?

Ξ June 25th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Costa Rica |

Hotel Room Shortage

During the past high tourist season – running December through April – some 39,000 tourists were not able to secure a hotel room in Costa Rica, that according to the National Chamber of Tourism

This is one of the consequences of an unexpected increase in the arrival of visitors, which had been expected to grow by 6.6% between 2002 and 2012, but just between 2002 and 2004 it went up8.94%.

According to the sources, the 700 new rooms expected to be available by the next high season will still be short to satisfy the growing demand.

If this is true, Costa Rica may be an attractive location for those wishing to be hoteliers or B and B’rs


Oh Lord… 36 hours… and no planned heroism

Ξ June 24th, 2005 | → 5 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

Up at 4 AM. Sleep is impossible as tomorrow nears.

I like to get up early anyway… often before 5 AM. The house is quiet and the then the birds come! I am not a birder. I do like to browse a bird book once in a while, but I am not a expert. However, one of my favorite things in Costa Rica is to listen to the birds just before daylight.

In the US, I HATED the freakin’ things. Sparrows I think, or grackles (sp?) or whatever… and they just made noise. Indistinguishable noise. Once in a while I read about small towns that set up bounties or traps… I related.

Here, things are different. The songs (calls) are astonishing. If I had a good recorder, I’d make a tape and post it here on the blog, but I get too much machine noise, so it’s maybe just a mic problem.

Anyway, these songs are enormously complex and exotic, and after many years, I still never tire of the mornings or even being awakened at 4AM by this music. Without going to deep into birds… there are a whole group of night singers who create the softest songs at maybe 1 AM when all of the world is at rest. They sing only about once every 1-2 months, but if you happen to be sitting out on the teraza when the begin… it is unforgettable.

I simply do not believe I am getting engaged tomorrow night…. Holy Shit!

Got an HB email from my lovely Kirsten yesterday… she called me a brave man and wished me luck tomorrow. LOL. Silly rabbit!

I have met some truly brave men or heard them speak. Vets mostly. Most say they do not remember their bravery. They remember being very, very scared and then they reacted. None said their heroism was planned.

Anyone ever see the movie 84 Charing Cross Road?

84, Charing Cross Road is the title of a book by Helene Hanff, published in 1970 about the long correspondence (1949-1969) between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel of the Marks & Co. bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road. A stage play and movies have been made based on the book. The first movie in 1975 wasn’t much, but the re-make… the 1987 version starred Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins and was pretty special if you happen to suffer being a terminal romantic. I am. Shit, I used to tear up at those Maxwell House cpmmercials.

The gist was that Helene was a book lover (i.ei nut) in the 30-50’s , and lived in New York. Frank was the manager of Marks & Co, a bookseller in London located at 84, Charing Cross Road. They met by writing MAIL to one anyother… originally about books and later or a more personal nature. Mail! Remember mail? That was where you could write something… maybe vent a bit… say something stupid, overt, nasty, aggressive, passive, whatever then just tear up the thing before you bought a stamp and mailed it. Ahhh… those were the days… before the instant and “Oh MY GOD what did I just send” of the Internet… Oh well…


There is a closeness and a very special relationship between Helene and Frank, though they never meet. You get the feeling that… had they met… something truly special would have resulted. It was perhaps the best cast movie I know of. Great flick. Great chick flick. Great first date at home flick. Rent it.


I have never met Kirsten, but we have talked by phone and email for a few years now. She is the brave one and one my life’s heroes. She is a talented writer… I mean really good, though she seems unable to capitalize letters… was that a ee cummings thing? Maybe I’ll invite her to write here. If she accepts, you’ll all be in for a treat!

I have never been sure it would be safe to meet her.


I have been known to worry too much

Ξ June 23rd, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

The perfect example was this AM when my sweetie flew off to work sans a ‘Happy Birthday”.

Of course 5 minutes after I hit publish, she called… wished me an effusive HB, and invited me to dinner and other “activites”.

As Bugs Bunny used to say… “Whatta Maroon!”


WordPress Just Rulz!

Ξ June 23rd, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

I am SOOO impressed with WP! Damn this just beats MT to death!

I have played around now… found this theme which I had to mod a bit and change the CSS… added other links so you can all tell how excellent the weather is here in Costa Rica, added a couple of plug-ins (one of which is that slippery thing which is just way too cool!).

I learned more in a day than I did in 2 years with MT. I am sure everyone thinks their blog software is just great, but if anyone wants to make a change, this one really warrants your attention.


Ex- Costa Rican President gets another 3 months

Ξ June 23rd, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Costa Rica |

Ex-Costa Rica Prseident Rafael Ángel Calderón will spend three more months at least under house arrest.

The former president is under investigation the role he may have played a $39 million loan from Finland that allowed the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social to purchase cellular equipment. He is accused of taking kickbacks. One other ex-president is also enjoying the close supervision of the government while a third is hiding out in Switzerland.

In Costa Rica, we use a modified version of the “Guilty until proven innocent” law that allows prosecutors to jail or place the accused under house arrest for periods of up to a year while they investigate. No bail.

And you’re probably bitching about the Homeland Security Act!


Birthdays, Engagements, and Fear

Ξ June 23rd, 2005 | → 1 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

Today is my birthday!

I actually forgot it until an ex-lover called to wish me a happy.

If anyone actually reads this blog, you have seen mention of my darling Maria whose has been my novia (girlfriend) for about 14 months. After the ex called, I realized that my sweetie never wished me the same as we got upthis morning. I have mixed thoughts on this. She is a most excellent girlfriend, and has a ton of really wonderful attributes.

Remembering stuff like birthdays and anniversaries is clearly not one of them.

This is odd as my life experiences have taught me that it is almost always the guy who forgets this stuff. This seems to be a never ending source of irritation for the woman and now I see why. I am not sure I really CARE, but it would have been nice.

This is important for two reasons. On Saturday night, we are having a joint birthday party (Maria’s BD was the 14th, and NO, I didn’t forget it) and mine is, of course, today. About 80 people are coming to the big show.

What my sweetie does NOT know is that this party is not just a birthday celebration.

It will be her compromiso!

In Latin culture, a woman’s engagement party is a big deal, and on Saturday night, I am going to ask Maria to be my wife… and I am going to do this in front of all those people. The only people who know this is going to happen are my son and my best buddy here in Costa Rica.

The panic is setting in. I have been divorced for many years (not unhappily).

It appears I am going to ask a person to marry me who just forgot my birthday! Ugh!

The Ring
I have been pondering this all morning. Is this important? Does it show some complete lack of caring? Does it mean she may not really care for me all that much? Hell, I don’t know. What I DO know is that I have bought tworings (see photo of ring 1) and knowing her as I think I do, I am just going to chalk it up to the morning rush we have every day as she heads off to work. Wish me luck!

Oh… Why two rings? One is for wearing every day (a fake) and one is wearing when she wants (the real deal). In Costa Rica, street robbery is a national pasttime, and so I expect the fake to go with her to work each day as she works in a non-to-savory area of San José. Can you diamond experts tell which one is in this photo?


Good-bye to Moveable Type

Ξ June 23rd, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Whatever |

I hate that I had to switch from MT.

Well that is really not the case. What I really miss was how cool my blog looked using MT. The old site had a nice appearance, and now I have to figure out how to make this one look cool. WordPress is MUCH easier to understand, but after several hours of trying to find just the right theme, I have come up a bit short. However adding pages in WP is so much more simple.

What I won’t miss from MT is how hard it was to do what should be simple stuff. So now that I have a new toy, maybe I’ll post more than every six months.



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