Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This had better be good...

My mother in law Marian and I set off down a bumpy road jutted with ruts and rocks to find an interesting hidden away pottery studio near our home…we approached a chain across the road and I realized that it was quite possible that the guard and the studio inhabitants were not available, then quickly surmised that I would have to back up about 300 yds(I do anything to avoid putting a 12 pax Starex in reverse)…and as soon as I gathered my courage, backed up nearly 300 yds, the guard appeared. Marian said let’s go see if he will let us pass—I couldn’t believe she talked me into it, but we approached, asked for la ceramica, and he dropped the chain!

About 100 meters up the road I remembered that Brian told me it was up. Up is one way to describe where the studio is located, but along a single lane drive with hairpin turns is another. I also remembered a remark about some dogs…. The kind of dog reminiscent of Rex, the neighbors’ dog in North Carolina. He loved me, but he looked as though he would eat anything or anyone approaching!

It was worth it! Pefi’s studio had beautiful, whimsical pottery pieces of all patterns, shapes, and sizes! Too pricey for me, but Marian bought a cute pitcher! A must see if you visit the east side of the Central Valley!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve...Pierna de Cerdo: A tradition for Costa Rican but a new Christmas Eve tradition for us!

Morning came a little earlier this AM as Cathi prepared her pierna de cerdo(leg of pig) for a Christmas Eve lunch!

Take one freshly slaughtered and herbed pierna, mix one bottle cerveza (beer) and one bottle Coca-Cola. Cook over low heat until tender while basting every 30 minutes to keep moist! Slice thinly and serve alongside all the traditional Duggan Christmas side dishes!

It was truly delicious and Oreo enjoyed one of the bones all afternoon! Guess I’ll have to come up with some new recipes for all the leftover meat!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Stockings were hung, on the wall with care....

Last night we finished hanging the interior Christmas lights, and in lieu of a chimney, we carefully hung our stockings on our dining room wall, and wrapped our banister with green garland reminiscent of my parent’s foil garland to replicate our home d├ęcor stateside. We are anticipating Matt’s return on Friday—after finals Tuesday through Thursday! Brian has a busy day ahead of him as our local congregation is performing “Papa Panov’s Christmas” and he has been in San Jose long enough to participate in the choir! Christmas open house invitations are being sent, and even though the winds are blustery and the temperature in the 60’s and 70’s, the holidays are here! I am about to join my Tico neighbors in putting together canastas de Navidad(Christmas baskets) for our security guards—should be an interesting time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas bats and cats....when you care enough to give the very best?

My kids wanted me to share a few details about the bats and cats that have appeared in various locations in our home recently. Oreo is a very sweet dog who must realize that we saved her from a life of misery and has been expressing her gratitude in various ways! I wish I had a photo of the “special” gift she left in a prominent place in my home recently—a bat! Not the equipment needed for baseball, but a recently deceased furry winged bat—beady eyes and all! After some praise, the specimen quickly went into the trash before a photo op!

For several days Oreo has been on patrol and acting strangely. Brian went to retrieve something for our Christmas tree and found what Oreo knew had been prowling around…a small gray and white kitten with some sort of deformity….guess she was just earning her keep!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Part of the Community

Even though the dreary rainy day at the end of rainy season prevented us from cutting our Christmas tree today, and Anna’s fever and hacking cough continued, I knew we were part of a community. And the very wonderful thing, part of the local La Union community where neighbors greet neighbors with “Buenas, como le va?" (Good afternoon, evening, how's it going?) careful to notice any difference in response. I guess my response wasn’t as cheery this afternoon, but my local grocer gave me suggestions on how to use local honey to make a natural cough syrup, and our friends at the local panaderia knew that teddy bear cookies would put a smile on Anna’s face and help her recuperation so that she could brighten the community as she took walks with her siblings and Oreo! They also offered tips on using cold water and alcohol on foreheads to bring down the fever and gave me fresh bread for dinner!

I left their store, with a smile on my face even though the rain continued to pour! Thanks for allowing us to be a light in this community—even on days that seem less than perfect!