Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No need to rehash the events in court yesterday. Suffice to say, I stood up in front of a judge and said that my marriage was irretrievably broken. Now I am divorced.
Or to reflect on the past 21 months during which my husband did his best to make my life miserable. It didn't work.
Because, I have the love and support of my family and friends and I am more grateful for that every day of my life than I could ever express.
I do want to say that I loved being married, I loved my husband and I did my best to be a good wife and friend and to set a good example for my nieces and nephews. That is all.

So, I read this the other day:  Every minute I spend feeling down, I lose 60 seconds of joy. So, let's be joyful everyone, and move forward with grace and optimism.

Friday, April 22, 2011

La ultima dia

So, maybe we should have taken it as an omen when the Arenal Volcano started spewing this morning.
And then raining down ash as we made our way to the zip line.
And, yes perhaps I should have ignored this bulls**t poster. Not even!!
And, when we parked and I got out of the car and looked up to see what that whirring noise was and saw this . . . (yes, that is a human hundreds of feet up)
or this . . . (yes, that speck is also a human)
I should have put my tail between my legs and run whimpering back to la finca. Well, you know what they say about hindsight. Lu said when I got out of the car and looked up and saw that, I said well I can't do that! Then she and I had a great hysterical laugh/cry! Lu says that is the nervous system doing something or other to relieve stress and get us back on track.
Ok, so up we climb to check in. A guy escorts us to the equipment room where they outfit us with harnesses, helmets, gloves and the thingy that fits over the very thin cable that you will be attached to 300 feet above the ground for up to half a mile at a time. I am not making this up.
Here I am with an I can't believe this is happening to me and please let there be a plague of locusts or a volcanic eruption so I don't have to go through with this grin. Those are some of the reasons on the list behind me for why you can't go up. Check out Lu - she is practically as hysterical as I am.
So here we are waiting for the tram (I was told it was a "gondola " ha!)
And this is what it looks like
So, we start to climb and climb and climb and climb and climb and well you get the idea. There is Lago Arenal in the background waaaaaaaay back there and hello? This does not even look like me. I am trying to smile but that looks a bit like a grimace. That's what happens when your teeth are clenched and you are contemplating your last moments on earth, I guess. (I met a woman at the top who said, now I know what TMJ pain is all about!)
Well, we get to the top and they hand us this red sugary concoction which I guess helps to get your mind off the eejit thing you're about to do plus gives your blood sugar a little spike. Courage. Then, we gather around and the guy says ok, here is how I clip you to the cable, you need to lean back in your harness, keep your arms straight, your ankles crossed and your knees up - kind of the fetal position. He says if you look around you are going to twist so just move your eyes and Lu says what if I faint and he doesn't get it and I say, you know, pass out and he says oh, well of if you let go you will be like a helicopter. Wonderful.
Well, we get two little practice runs. And, I'm sorry but because there is no chasm below you and it is only a few yards and you zip to the first platform and then to the second, it is fun and exhilarating. And you think, I can do this! Then you get to the big daddy. The real thing. And it stretches out over a 300 foot drop, tree tops below you, can't even see the end of the cable. And I say I have to do this. No fear. The guy says ready senorita? And I say no. And, he pushes me off. I couldn't figure out where the screaming was coming from and then I realized oh. That is me.
For some reason, I can only open one eye and it is focused on the next platform, as in please please just get me there. The guys shake the cable when you get near and you have to open your legs to slow yourself down but you are going 50 miles per hour. Yes, you heard me right. And, you come flying in and they slow you down with some sort of  rope setup at the last minute but you stop so fast you go almost upside down and they are unhooking you and moving you to the next one. Oh hell no. I am not going. Well guess what? Only one way down. Here I go again.

Coming in for a landing, legs wide.
And, there goes Lu!
So, eight platforms down and I've never been so happy to be on solid ground. High five, fist bump. We did it!!!  Yet another fear gone by the wayside.
And I didn't even pee my pants. Yeah!

 Henry Ford said, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

short post tonight

This morning early, we drove up to my land and met up with Steve to take a hike down to the river, La Tigra, a lovely cool gurgling creek that flows through the bottom of the property in this the height of the dry season. One can see how it might become a raging river when the rain comes. I love this picture of Lu.
my land
me and my BFF Steve

From there, we decided to visit La Marina, an animal rescue/zoo type place in Agua Zarca. We drove thru Florencia, to Ciudad Quesada (booming metropolis that is is) where we had some lunch, and then to La Marina. It was nice to see the people out on this holiday week, the little villages, the crops, the livestock. (I say "we" but Tom did the driving, and did an awesome job of it.)  And then La Marina. I found it depressing. All those poor animals in sparse cages. I took a lot of pictures but reviewing them tonight, I think I won't post them. Very dispiriting and makes me sad all over again. Maybe it is for their benefit but maybe a little exploitation going on there too. I don't know. So enough about that.
* * * * 
Now, let me tell you about our plan for tomorrow. YIKES!!! The plan is to drive up to the volcano, take a gondola up 300 ft, and while hanging on to a cable, jump off a platform. To the next platform. And then do it eight times more 'til we get to the bottom. Crazy? Duh! (Just kidding. Sort of.) 
Seriously, those of you who know me, know that after very many years, I have chosen to stop living my life in fear. Heights is just another part of that. Listen, every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thoughts there are. A thought of love or a thought of fear. Think about it. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms. I believe that Love is the opposite of fear. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, HEALS. And, I am all about that. 

So stay tuned and send love to me and Lu and Tom. 

And as I said earlier, YIKES!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ok, so much to tell you about, I hardly know where to begin, definitely on information overload because my pal Steve has filled my head up with way too much information and it is all percolating in there or should I say composting, and how to describe to you all that I've seen on his farm? He gave us the farm tour yesterday, the sacred seeds tour today. This is a brief and possibly completely inaccurate account but here's how I'm thinking about it tonight:
Finca Luna Nueva (New Moon Farm) is 207 acres and growing organic ginger is what started Steve on the path to the biodynamic paradise that is now this finca. (He supplies New Chapter, the guys who manufacture whole food vitamins and organic herbal supplements - you've probably seen their purple labels in the health food store.) Biodynamics incorporates all the key elements of organic and sustainable farming, while assuring that every aspect of farm life - plant, animal, or human - thrives in natural harmony with the cosmos. Yes, you heard me right.
Check it out:
"use the horn of a female cow that has given birth.
fill it with ground quartz crystal.
top with water without chemicals.
let set overnite.
pour off excess water.
plug horn with 1" of clay.
bury in spring and dig up in autumn.
mix with water and use to fertilize crops."
They do this here. Seriously. We got to see the quartz crystal, the mortar and pestle, the big glass plates, the process of turning crystal into a talc. (But think gigantic crystal, mortar, etc., not what you'd use to make a Mojito.) They use a gram of this stuff to treat an acre. You heard me right. And this is only a small part of what goes in to the biodynamics of this farm. We haven't even talked about the alignment of the cosmos and what best to plant or feed considering the alignment of those planets on every given day. (I can hear Steve in my head giving a disgusted snort.) Ok, Steve, I know, this is very simplistic but dude, so not my forte. Anyway, and I'm quoting here, biodynamic preparations and compost utilize energy from alchemical combinations of animal and plant materials. They work to remineralize, revitalize, and protect soil. And that is what they do here. From cow poop to table, so to speak. haha
worms in cow poo
No way I am going to attempt to give you the names of the plants, their medicinal purposes, etc. Steve rattles them off by the hundred (like I said, overload.) Talk to Dr. Lu for that (took copious notes, bless her.) Suffice to say, when my friend Steve plucked a leaf or a berry or a stalk or a stem, I popped it into my mouth. Some yummy, some yucky, all for the good of us all. (Oh, except the termites. I drew the line at eating a termite. Just wasn't that hungry, I guess. . . )
termite nest
Anyhoo, the bottom line as I see it, is that Finca Luna Nueva, and increasingly more like them (thank goodness - but still not enough) are acting as guardians of these medicinal herbs/plants/seeds before they and the knowledge of them disappears, partly because of the loss of the indigenous communities who handed this stuff down thru the generations, but also due to the loss of habitat and/or climate change - both HUGE problems, as you and I know. And that is just to name two of the many many many hurdles to maintaining and sustaining these resources. Whew.  Hope that wasn't too garbled. So. Pictures. Here are some:

This, my friends, is where the doodoo voodoo happen
Tom worshiping bamboo, only 6 years old (the bamboo, that is)
caladium - recognize it?
cool covered bridge on the property
happy smiley piggies snoozing in the mid-day heat
my old friend

the drying shed - look at the size of this ginger root - holy crapoli!
 And no, not severed fingers, tumeric! Ginger and tumeric. Important for your health y'all! and the two top crops Luna Nueva produces for New Chapter.
curing bamboo
sweet babies

composting sheds

tumeric ready to harvest (looks like creepy fingers reaching out of the soil - zoiks!

Time to turn in . . . . . . . .lovely dreams and lots of love to each and every one of you - we need some every day  you know, along with the ginger and tumeric and, well call Steve if you want the rest of the prescription ...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another action packed day and my dogs is barkin' tonight, baby. Well, actually my calves but whatever. Today after breakfast, we took a drive north to La Fortuna where we did a little exploring and a little shopping (I bought a shoulder bag. Honestly, why am I buying a bag but I couldn't resist.) Look how cute it is and all hand embroidered and I just love the colors. Feliz colores, no?
Anyhoo, La Fortuna is a nice little town with a beautiful town square and people on holiday everywhere. In fact, all of Costa Rica is on holiday. We could hear the singing coming from the church while we walked around town.
Lu and I monkeying around haha
Arenal Volcano as the backdrop
Tom in dreads 
We had a date for a float trip and some time to kill so after checking out the town, we drove up towards the Arenal Volcano to see what we could see.
And what we saw was Daniel, whacky and wonderful Daniel. Lu was looking for a hammock or ten and here he was, weaving one right here (and unlike Tom's, those are real dreads by the way. He has not cut his hair for 27 years.) So much fun and we are going back to see him again tomorrow. I found my Spanish and it was fun to talk and joke and laugh  with him.
We also went to a butterfly and hummingbird garden but they wanted $13 to go in for an hour and Lu put her foot down - rightly so. But we did see these bird's nests there hanging from the pavilion. Here is one of them. Wow. (That is a saddle sitting underneath it apropos of nothing.)
Okay, so the float trip. We went to this hacienda to put in to the Rio Pena Blanca right behind it. I was struck by her hanging baskets. Normally, one sees bright flowers or bromeliads, but la senora had little hanging cactus trays. Check it out.
I was a bit cranky (oh, just a leeeetle bit) when I saw the boat. It was a small inflatable, nowhere near big enough to carry six people for six miles down the river - although it did. And it was not comfortable BUT, the scenery and David the guide more than made up for the discomfort.
Now, I swear I am not making this up but just to name a few, this is what we saw during our trip down river, and this is in addition to a gazillion kinds of birds and a double gazillion types of plants and trees (all very cool in their own right) Ok, lizards, including quite a few Jesus Christ Lizards (walks on water), iguanas, a cayman, toucans (you know, the fruit loop birds) a sloth (three toed) and howler monkeys! Here is a picture of our guide, David, looking up into the canopy at the monkeys. We saw the alpha male, babies, mothers carrying babies. David, a mild mannered guy, started making this guttural noise and smacking his paddle on the water. Scared the crap out of me.
Well, they answered, boy did they answer! The racket was amazing. At one point, they started flinging poo at us - well actually I think they were more positioning themselves right above us and letting go. Seriously, David said they get PO'd and let go on the unsuspecting below them and he told us to get out of the way fast as it came raining down! What an experience.
Here is the caiman, about 4 ft long.
I didn't get good pictures of the monkeys because they blend with the canopy when you just have a little digital point and shoot. Can you see him?

Here are some more pics of the river. Just beautiful.
At one point, David offloaded us and the gear, flipped the raft over and proceeded to cut up and set out watermelon, pineapple and some just picked bananas. Is this paradise or what???
Ok, these two. Our raft mates. Well, these young ladies are from Calgary. They are seasoned travelers, having been seven weeks in Cambodia/Laos/Thailand and during that time, due to some trick of fate, a joke, having these wedding dresses made for them over there. They wore them for a week of adventure travel, tubing, etc. and then of course, what could be more natural than they should wear them for their Costa Rica float trip? Alrighty then . . .  
Fun Canadian senoritas, these two. And just a wee bit cuh-razy! We got back to La Fortuna too late to get to Luna Nueva in time for dinner so stopped off at a local place in town (mistake!) and got home with the light of the moon shining down. I am in love with Costa Rica.

So, before I turn in for the night, I will show you some of the flora I see on my walk about in the morning when the sun comes up.