Thursday, December 31, 2020

Taking A Break In Arizona

Disaster strikes!!  I tried to move the remaining pictures of Costa Rica from the oldest computer to the second in line.  It didn't like the fact that I had no blank CD to transfer them to.  Although I thought I was copying, it seems I was moving, and now the files don't want to open at all.  BIG SIGH!! 

So ...... on with an ordinary day in Arizona!  


Back in the day, you might find me sailing the San Francisco Bay on a tall ship to a spot of exquisite cold, where we could watch the fireworks up close and personal.  For the last few years, it's been watching the fireworks between my two cranky dogs on the living room floor, fighting for Nancy space.

Sadly, there will be no celebrating THIS year!!   The suppression this country is letting happen in some states is epic.  At least Arizona is letting businesses stay open.

At any rate, I think I should hit the store today for a big bottle of refreshment.  It might make the day a little better.  

I spent most of yesterday going over 25 bunny videos.  It's funny that they know when the coyotes are out.  The bunnies play around, then disappear just as the "boys" appear, who are enchanted with the smells they find.  When they wander off, the bunnies reappear.  

Having purchased gift cards (for myself of course) at Quilter's Market, I quickly dropped a bundle on parts and pieces I needed to finish two quilts.  This binding was one of them, which I spent hand sewing all day long.   I'm STILL not done.  

 Speaking of the "boys" ... here they are.  Just look at those tails!!  These guys are fat and happy!!  Check out the markings on the backs.  I've never seen that before!!  It was one of this group that I saw when looking for Miss Jessie.

 Just because I could, and because Patty gave me an unused leek, I made clam chowder.  I have to say, all clams are not equal.  Sadly, I did not have the GOOD clams and used the only variety in the store.  It is definitely NOT the same.  I'll thicken it a little more today and force it down.  This one was a little too pricey for the cemetery.

Here's the other quilt I finished last week.  One of the things I picked up was extra fabric to make pillow shams.  Unfortunately it will have to wait since they did not have the white I needed.  So many unfinished projects make me crazy!!

 Lucky for me, the Chance household received gift cards too, but for FOOD!!  They invited me to dinner at our favorite chef salad haunt.  Serial Grillers has the absolute best salad and ranch dressing.  I don't even LIKE ranch dressing, but theirs is delicious!!! 

 On our way out the door, we were treated to this magnificent scene.  You just have to love Arizona sunsets.

 I doubt very much I'll be staying up late tonight.  There's not much to celebrate other than I'm still breathing!!  

I did order a humidifier in the hopes I won't be seeing that 1/4 inch thick, 2 inch long blue lightning between the light switch and my fingers ANY MORE!!  I'll let you know if it works.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020


 There are lots of poisonous things in the desert, but at least you can see them coming.  It's a different story in the jungle.  I kept wondering what people DO there.  There are no trails to wander, and if you do, they are full of things that can hurt you.  I have to say however, the REALLY good news is that we saw NO snakes!!

As I mentioned before, every group had their Guide.  We just followed along here and there with other groups of eight.  This very nice guy said he grew up here, working his way up through the ranks of biologist-type guides until he finally acquired THIS job.  He loved it and he got paid!!


 On this day we loaded into a boat and headed down the river, turning right and left and ending up in some very narrow channels.  The logging of teak wood trees was big back in the day, thus the leftover remnants of equipment we saw laying around everywhere.  Here the sign directs you to different canals owned by the lumber companies.  I can't imagine how they could possibly float those trees downriver.

 Along the way we spotted flocks of parrots and macaws flying overhead, but they were too high to get pictures.  The iguanas didn't have a problem posing for us though.  He is in his finest coloring, trying to attract a beautiful female.  These guys are everywhere!!

 Yes, blurry picture.  It's hard to get pictures in a rocking boat when it's so dark underneath the canopy you can barely see.  I lightened this one considerably so the roots were visible.  Isn't this amazing?  They were all along this canal used to transport the trees they cut down.  The water was barely ten feet wide and very shallow.

I asked the guide about the poisonous frogs ... probably not the best question.  The driver ran the boat against the side and the Guide jumped off.  Wait ... don't leave us!!!   In about two minutes, he came back with this in his hands.  DON'T TOUCH he said, as he kept rinsing his hands in the dirty canal water.  Finally he put it on a leaf for us to check out.

 This is the frog the natives rub their arrowheads on, to use in hunting dinner.  Yes it will kill you.  Okay then, can you please put it back?  It was maybe 1-1/2 inches long.  Tiny little guys you would never see on the jungle floor where they live.

 Not that I would ever go back ... well maybe ... but you can kayak this canal (if your kayak will fit on the boat used to get here) as it meanders around a big loop through the forest.  My advice is not to fall in the water.

The boat trip finally ended back at our dock where we were treated to tea and crumpets.  Not really ... it was over 100 degrees with 100% humidity and we were served sweet cookie-like things and hot chocolate.  I don't much remember the cookies, but the hot chocolate was amazing.

It was so amazing that when I returned home, I got on the internet and ordered six huge bags.  I couldn't wait for it to arrive.  It took about three months.  I finally received a package that had been opened and closed a dozen times.  

I never gave it a thought until I opened the package.  I had ordered 3 pounds of a white powdery substance from just south of Nicaragua.  I'm sure they thought it was drugs and so opened the package at every stop.  The cocoa was good, but I never did THAT again.

 Now dripping wet from the heat, we went back to our room to find everyone else was in the swimming pool.  No one told us there was a pool, so we didn't bring a bathing suit.  By now the heat made me very cranky.  I wanted to be in that pool!!!

If we had brought any extra clothes at all, I would have gone in with shorts and a t-shirt.  In desperation, we put on our old wet, stinky, dirty clothes because the "wet" part made them cooler than dry clothes.  We reeked of ... well .... jungle!!  That's probably why we were left to our own devices when it came to dinner.  But that's another story.

 Speaking of reeking, one of my local visitors stopped by the water station.  You can usually smell them before you see them.  There are lots of tiny babies running about, but none have come to my station.

 The weather has cooled again.  They expect 50 degree days with 30 degree nights.  Woohoo ... I'm turning my heater up!!  It's almost time to turn over a new year.  I hope it's better than this last one, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bring A Brelly!!!

 I suppose we knew there would be rain in Costa Rica.  After all, they did tell us to bring a small umbrella along with a minimal bag.  I think we maybe had two T-shirts each, both of which were going to get used on THIS day!!    

I must say it was fabulous cruising along the river in the little boats where we had some plastic window protection.

Finally back at the "hotel" which in reality was a hut on sticks stuck in the mud, I wanted to try and get pictures of the frogs making all that racket at night.  They were LOUD!!  Patty and I walked along the raised walkway until I heard one very close.  

Patty .... I can HEAR it!!  It's very near!  Wait ... it's VERY VERY close!!!  I almost screamed as I turned my head to the right and realized it was ON MY SHOULDER!!!  I'm in panic mode now, thinking it's probably one of those poisonous ones we have been told NEVER TO TOUCH!!

Patty ... get a picture!!  She took my phone, but at the time wasn't proficient in phone-pics.  Still, she snapped a good one as I slowly walked to the edge of the walkway to try and coax it off my shoulder.  I'm going to die, I just KNOW it!!!

Lucky for me, it went for the plant.  This is the Costa Rican green tree frog, the symbol of Costa Rica.  Cute little guy, right?

Thankfully, they are not of the killer variety and I didn't have to throw away my only dry shirt.  The moral here is to NOT buy a little carved wooden tree frog souvenir or you might just have one land on your shoulder.

Very early the next morning, as they did every single day we were there, the howler monkey alarm clocks went off with a blast that woke up the entire complex.  There were lots of them in the trees, but they were hard to spot and rather camera shy.

Hey ..... let's go on a little hike into the very wet rain forest!!  There had been signs .........

The first big red light was when we were required to put on rubber boots.  Just pick your size from the stash on the porch.  I had a fleeting thought of just how many people might have worn these boots before me.  Too bad Patty and I were a little late to the party, giving us just a few to choose from.  I never did understand why we didn't get any of the "messages" of what we needed.

It's hard to walk in rubber boots too big for you.  Even harder if you are running.

And so we followed our trusty guide through the forest on what wasn't really a trail, but a kind of wide spot in the trees.  Our first encounter was a big termite nest.  If you are stuck in the jungle, this is the first thing you look for for nourishment.  You can eat those brown wiggly-looking things.  Not me, but YOU could.

That's when it started to rain.  No biggie, I brought my brelly! 

There are lots of creepy creatures in the jungle, this being one of them.  It's a Jesus lizard.  Looks pretty much like a plant to me, but scare it and it will walk on water to get away from you.  That of course was the SECOND big sign that we missed.

Suddenly there was thunder ...... BIG thunder and lightning!!!  And the rains fell like someone pouring a pitcher of water on our heads.  I heard the guide exclaim ... uh oh ...  RUN!!!!!   Are you kidding me?  RUN???  

Yes he said ... run for cover!!  LIGHTNING!!  CLOSE THAT UMBRELLA!!  And so we ran in our too big boots through huge puddles of water back to the safety (??) of the boat dock.  Our 45 minute hike lasted five minutes.

That's when I discovered that really big hole in my rubber boots that let all the water and mud in.  We were soaked from head to toe.  We changed into our other shirt and I "rented" a hair dryer from the hotel.  Luckily I got one because everyone else seemed to know they were available before we did.

Unfortunately there's no way to dry your clothes.  The hair dryer didn't work all that well.  We asked about using a clothes dryer since we knew they washed their linens there, but were told no.  At this point the only thing dry was our one pair of shoes.  That didn't last long however, after all, we are in the RAIN forest.  Who knew???  

It's not over yet, we are going to have even MORE fun!!

I haven't mentioned my game camera in a couple of days.  I have been getting lots of bunny images.  Those guys run around all night long and ran up about 30 videos.  As soon as my internet services clicks over into next month, I'll post a few.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Where Are We???

We REALLY should have attended those meetings about our trip to Costa Rica.  Having looked at a map for the last 30 minutes, I think we are on the Colorado River (which is WAY too close to Nicaragua), but to be truthful, I have no idea now, nor did I have any idea THEN.  Here's our little dock upon arrival in the pouring rain.  In two seconds, we were soaked from head to toe.

 I thought it unusual of them to post this sign.  In case of WHAT emergency??  Oh Patty, what have we gotten ourselves into? 

 The first trip was to the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Tortuguero.  We went by boat down the river and way around the corner.  Where are we?  I only know because I just looked it up.  We paid our $2.00 and walked through the forest.  We had a guide telling us about how they were trying to save the sea turtles that swim across the Caribbean Sea to Cuba and Haiti.

The turtles lay eggs on the beach, which the conservancy guards until they hatch, making sure they all make it to the ocean alive.

 Here's the turtles on the Caribbean beach side.  How many can you count?  Yeah, we didn't see any either.  It was a beautiful long beach without a single turtle in sight.  Apparently they only come out of the water at night.  We were warned not to wander very far because we would never be able to find our way back.  Oh great!!!

 Since we were there, we walked through the little town of Tortuguero, perched on the very edge of the river.  There are no roads here, only a walkway.  Travel is by bicycle, foot or boat.  They know when the touristas are going to show up and open their shops full of handmade items.  I purchased a little wooden green tree frog, the symbol of Costa Rica.

There was lots of jewelry and well, junk.  No matter, we thought it was our duty to at least help their economy.  Surprisingly they had a music school here for the kids.  Here you see a couple of their star performers. 

 Most all of the buildings were painted with images of local critters, those buildings having been left over from the timber industry.  Surprised?  This area naturally grows trees, which you will see later, that were harvested, sold and turned into furniture.  Wait til you see where the trees are!!

 Drum solo here.  I have to admit the kids were pretty good and we got a kick out of their performance.

 Again with the heat and you can imagine the humidity.  There were no water fountains, water bottles or bottles of soda to cool off with.  The only refreshment we saw was this guy whacking the end off of coconuts for your drinking pleasure.  We passed.

Here's the main street of town backed up against the jungle.  I have to say it was rather different since Patty and I knew NO ONE on this part of the trip.  Everyone else stayed in their little groups with their guide.  We just kind of followed along with NO guide.  This comes into play later in the trip.

 Here's an interesting structure.  This is a house.  No heat, no air conditioning, just a floating barge.  If you look real close, you can see a washing machine inside the door.  It's the only one we saw.  Of course everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, drains into the river. 


On the way back home we passed several more houses.  Talk about a laid back atmosphere.  All of their time is spent fishing on the river for dinner or making little things to sell to the tourists.  I have to admit at this point we STILL didn't know where the heck we were, other than on a river in the jungle.

Next up, almost struct by lightning!!  Oh it gets even better!!

On a more familiar note, I whipped up some mac 'n cheese with ham.  This has to be my all time favorite meal.  Sprinkle the top with Italian Panko crumbs and uhmmm uhmmm GOOD!!  I ate TWO bowls full in my best china dishes!!

Thankfully the weather in Tucson has warmed up a tad, but today we're expecting winds from 15-20 mph with gusts up to 35.  This will be a day of phone calls, sewing binding and puppy play. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

That Moment Of Panic!!

I'm sure everyone has experienced it ... that moment of panic when you run around screaming like a crazy woman.  Okay, maybe it's just me, but when it happens my heart rate goes sky high and I get that huge sinking feeling that tears my heart out.

It was a beautiful warm sunny day.  Surprise, since it's been so cold and windy.  I unloaded another ton of junk from the RV, stacking stuff everywhere thinking I would sort it out later.  Suddenly, all I saw was Cooper.  I looked around quickly and called for Jessie.  Nothing.

OMG maybe she got out?  She couldn't have ... no way!!  I'm very careful of that.  I called and called, clapping my hands loudly since she can't hear, running from one end of the house to the other.  She knows to come when I clap.  NOTHING.

INSTANT PANIC!!  She got out!  I ran outside and down the hill, yelling and clapping until I saw movement.  I FOUND HER!!  Nope ... what I found was a face to face with a big coyote!!  YIKES!!  I turned tail and ran back up the hill.

My heart dropped even further.  Nooooooo my poor Jessie is probably gone.   Back in the house, I slumped on the couch and guess who came and stuck her head on my neck!!  All this time she was sitting on the back of the couch where I couldn't see her.  Little Brat!!  So that was my exercise for the day.

 Something very similar happened to me in Costa Rica.  Here we are again at the "dock", and I use that word loosely. 

 All aboard, we took off like a shot with two other boats along a very narrow and shallow river of sorts.

The guides were kind enough to point out the alligators.  Patty and I looked at each other.  What in the heck did we sign up for?????

Soon the little waterway turned into a huge river being filled even higher with rain like I've never seen.

Every mile or so we saw a dock of sorts all looking like they were going to fall over.  My oh my ..... there's a hotel back here somewhere??

The two houses we passed didn't exactly look like five star accommodations.   By now I'm thinking maybe a minus three!!

At long last we pulled in to a dock similar to the above and walked up the hill to find these huts on stilts.  THIS is our "hotel"?  I mean it's gorgeous and green, but .... but ..... are we staying here?

Even the walkways are built on stilts!!  We made our way down this one to the farthest room.

Ooh ... creatures.  This may not be so bad after all!!  It's a good thing I didn't take my bestest (not a real word) camera because by now we are soaking wet.  Even my tennis shoes are wet all the way through.

This is it ... our humble abode for the next few days.  The good part is there was at least a concrete shower ... sort of ... with not really warm water, but it was so hot and humid, we didn't care.  There are no windows, only screens on the openings above the bed and on two holes in the wall out front.

It wasn't time to panic yet, but it was coming very soon.  We didn't unpack since there was no place to hang anything.  Not that we HAD anything to unpack but one extra pair of shorts and a T-shirt.  I can still hear myself uttering the words "why didn't they TELL us about this?"

It gets even better, but I'll tell more of the story tomorrow.  For now, I'm doing some stretches and going for a walk to try and limber up from yesterday's Jessie scare that has left me stiff as a board. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

How Did Santa Get THAT In His Sleigh?

 With not much else to do, I finally drug out my camera and downloaded a couple of images of the Christmas Star.  I'm sure you've seen dozens of pictures like this ... hand held and blurry.  I would say not worth the paper it's printed on, but thankfully we now have cheap digital!!  This is a throwaway!


It's CHRISTMAS!!   Santa woke me up very early with all that tromping on the roof.  I opted for the perfect wake-me-up breakfast ... PIZZA!!

 That was followed up by two cinnamon rolls, the sweetest I've ever eaten, meaning I put in way too much brown sugar.  You know where this is heading!  Stomach ache city!

 Outside it was cold windy and raining, but I braved the elements to retrieve the game camera. 

 I was very surprised to see a couple of coyotes having a drink and two rabbits frolicking in the bushes.  Then I clicked on THIS!!  I don't know how Santa got him into his sleigh to deliver to me Christmas morning, but this was the perfect Christmas present.

 There are six magnificent videos, but I'm only showing you two.  I don't have enough gigs on my plan to include all of them.  I don't know if this is a male or female, but you will see a little territory marking at the end.  That means I should see him again!!!

 I watched them over and over as I prepared the huge ham for the oven.  I picked the smallest one I could find and it was still a monster.  I did have a little trouble finding a pan to cook it in since nothing was big enough.  That's red eye gravy in the back, a rarity since we only had beef on the ranch.

 I really didn't think there was all that much food on my plate until I was done.  I should have seen it coming.  Complaints came right and left ending with tums for dessert.  I was miserable for the rest of the day and passed on dinner completely.  Truthfully, all I could think about was ham and scalloped potatoes, or macaroni and cheese with ham.

Cooper and Jessie got their new toys, meaning I had to play on the floor with Cooper for about four hours last night.  He certainly did love the fish Santa brought for him.  Miss Jessie ... like any kid ... played for ten minutes and was done.

 By the way, you were right.  The new computer is now asking for an update.  I'm not sure how this is going to be accomplished.  It requires 12 gigs of download.  I am only allowed 10 on my internet package.  So here I am, back looking for an internet connection to complete the SEVEN HOUR download.  

One last request ... with all the wind and the dry desert, I'm getting shocked every time I even get close to an electrical outlet or anything metal.  Anyone have any remedies to lessen the pain?  I mean really, you can see the fire flash between my finger and the outlet when I'm six inches away!!

In the old days they had a carpet spray that worked wonders ... today it's not to be found.  I'm pretty sure I could pop that moose crunch popcorn just by pointing my finger.  

Merry Christmas ... I hope your day was a happy one!!