75. What We Do To Fill Our Time

Sunday 4/17- Happy Easter! As we told you about Halloween and Christmas, holidays down here are pretty different than we are used to in the US. They are much more low-key, they don’t focus on things like Santa and the Easter Bunny, and I’d say they have more of a focus on the religious aspect of the holidays (Costa Rica is a predominantly Catholic country, but all religions have a presence). Easter is a very special time down here, even more so than Christmas it seems. Many businesses have been closed all week for Holy Week, and the ones that weren’t closed all week were for sure closed Thursday through Sunday (with the exception of the grocery store and some restaurants).

Many people from the Central Valley (San Jose and the surrounding suburbs) use this week as a kind of spring break and head to the coasts and beaches.


This is such a widely spread thing, and so many people are traveling, that on Sunday MOPT (the CR version of the Highway Department) actually closes the main highway heading from the city to the coast (a stretch of road that takes about a 1.5-2 hour drive during decent traffic) to all coast-bound traffic, and opens all lanes of the highway to people heading back into the city so there is less congestion. Don’t get me wrong- this stretch will still probably take people 4 hours or so, but would take even longer if they didn’t switch all of the lanes going city-bound. For all of our MN readers, especially those in the Twin Cities- think of this like heading "up North" on Memorial Day, Labor Day or 4th of July weekend, only here there are way more cars driving on far fewer roads.  Wouldn't it be nice if they closed I-35 and 169 to North-bound traffic and let every one heading back to the cities use all of the lanes?  🤣 (To my Costa Rica friends reading this- I think I got all of these details right, but if I messed up on any, please let me know).

So- keep this in mind when you are planning your visit to come see us- Easter week probably isn’t a good week for you to visit!

I spent Easter morning STILL working on catching up on the blog (yes, when I’m not working one of my 3, soon to be 4 jobs, I am working on the blog, it’s literally a never-ending project. Some days, especially when I am also working I feel like all I do is stare at a computer screen).

If you were wondering- and I know people have asked, the way we do the blog is something like this. We have a giant google document that both Ramie & I have access to. I constantly keep notes on what we do on what days, and then when I have time, I actually write the blog posts. Ramie will then go read the blog posts, add his thoughts and ideas, and mark the ones that he has read. Then, when it is getting close to time to post them for you to read, I’ll read through the post again, make any more changes, updates, fix grammar and typos, and finally add the text to the blogger website. At that point is when I go back and add pictures. Then, back to Ramie to add all of those funny memes and gifs that make you giggle as you read the blog.  He also takes care of some of the additional formatting, and then all of those changes get saved on the blogger site.  Usually we'll work on batches of up to about 10 posts at a time. Then, on Saturday night or Sunday morning before they are finally ready for you to see, I will read through the post that is about to "go live" one last time looking for any remaining spelling and grammar issues (I’m sure many of them still make it through, but I try). 

Then on Sunday morning (or later in the day if we are busy in the morning) either Ramie or I will make the blog live for you all to see. This is the point that we post the link to FB and Instagram.  Some point later in the day anyone who has subscribed to get email notifications that there is a new post will get an email (that goes through a 3rd party website and we don't have any control when the actual email goes out, it's just automatic after the post goes live). There are a lot of steps and it takes quite a bit of time, so I really hope you are all enjoying this and I’m not just writing for nothing.

Oh, and just for a little bit more visualization, as I initially write this particular blog post dated 4/21/22, the date is May 9 (which is strange, usually I'm about 3-5 weeks behind).  In the google doc I am on page 167 of the document, and the Christmas post was just made live for you to read yesterday. 

Fast forward to when I am reviewing it to go onto the blogger website -it is July 3, our Google document is now up to 192 pages and I have just finished writing about what we did on June 6.  I also just posted live for you to read the blog that talks about how to make patacones out of green plantains.

Fast forward one more time to when this is going live for you to read.  This will be published for you all on  August 28, our google doc is now 207 pages, and I have posts written through Aug 2.  Blog posts will eventually catch up, I promise!  

Ok, so back to our Easter day. If you remember a few posts ago we went on a group “tour” for our border run to Panama. We met and stayed in contact with a few people that were in that group. Geoff and Tracy, one of the couples, messaged us and asked if we would like to get together at their house to chat some more and have dinner. Since we always enjoy meeting new friends, we were very happy to go hang out with them. Around 1:00 we headed up to their house, and while we knew they lived close, we didn’t realize just HOW close! We got to their house within just a few minutes! We hung out with them all afternoon and into the evening- until about 11pm. That is WAY past our bedtime, but we had a blast. Sometime after it got dark out it came up in conversation that they think they can see the building that is just across the creek from our house, meaning that they may very well be able to see our house. One night we’ll have to play flashlight tag and see if we actually can see each other!

Monday 4/18- Monday morning means Ramie gets to go to his work again. As he wrote about in our last blog post, he is volunteering with animals at a wildlife sanctuary that is pretty close to us. It gives him something to do, plus it’s kind of cool to get to talk about going in the cages with these exotic (sometimes naughty) animals.

In the afternoon we noticed that Adam & Katie (the new part-time neighbors) were home. We knew they would be heading back to the US soon, so we wanted to have a chance to go talk to them for a little while before they left. We stopped over and talked for a little while, learned a little bit about each other, and got to see a little bit of the inside of their house. They had some other things to take care of, so we had to cut our time short, but later in the evening they stopped over at our house for a little while longer to chat and get to see our house. They are leaving tomorrow, so we won’t get to hang out again until their next time back, but in the meantime we exchanged contact info and promised we would be in touch.

Tuesday 4/19 & Wednesday 4/20- With tax filing season officially over yesterday, I’m not expecting a lot of work coming up, but was told that I’d be working on some extension returns. I get up early, work for a little while, and when I’m done with what I have, I take the rest of the day to myself. After I finished the work that I had, I jumped back behind the sewing machine to work on a few more things that I wanted to get done. Since Ramie sold all of his big toolboxes back in MN but still has so many tools, we had researched some ways to organize what he has. One of the things we came up with is a wrench roll. This keeps each set of his wrenches together and in size order so that they are easy to find. I had the fabric for this, and found some instructions, and we knew we wanted to make at least 3 of these for his different sets of wrenches. That’s what I was working on and wanted to get finished so he could start getting his tools organized. Maybe in my off season I should become a seamstress and Ramie can be my helper? Nah- I’m not that good!! Besides, who am I kidding, what off season?! hahahaha 

Ramie probably has the coolest tool-rolls around, Tommy Bahama pineapple canvas!!

On Tuesday afternoon we ended up at Geoff & Tracy’s house again, but this time to walk their property and take some clippings of their cool plants. With the way plants grow down here, you can literally grow whole new trees just by cutting a small twig off of a healthy plant and sticking it in the ground. Much of the time that twig will start to grow roots of its own and very soon you will have a baby tree that is exactly the same as the one you clipped it from. There are many other types of plants that have babies that grow off of their roots, so all you have to do is dig up part of the root with a baby sprout, and same thing- new plant! We’ve been doing this for a while with plants that we see along the sides of roads and up in the community where our rental house was, so Ramie is really getting good at this. Geoff & Tracy have a large property with lots of plants different from what we’ve gotten our hands on, and they were more than happy to share some clippings with us. We spent about 4 hours with them again walking their property, seeing all of their cool plants and trees, and headed back home with a trunk full of new cuttings to experiment with. Tracy also gifted me 2 plumeria trees that she had started from cuttings. Plumerias are one of those plants that I fell in love with years ago when I visited Hawaii, and now I have my first 2 of my very own. She may have started a monster, as now I am going to be on the search for more and more varieties of them! 😊 

Thursday 4/21- It’s shopping day once again, and today, in addition to our regular stops, we are on the search for something different…. Sewing supplies!!! Hahaha. Seriously, I’m only half kidding!

As I’ve mentioned before and you may have seen in some of the photos, we have some beautiful wooden (teak) pool lounge chairs that were custom built by our cabinet maker. These chairs are fantastic, but they definitely need cushions! We knew that we would want cushions on our lounge chairs before we even had them, so when we were back in MN last November, we bought outdoor upholstery fabric and sent it down in the container. It has always been my plan to make these so we brought down what we could. The one thing we decided to source here instead of shipping down was the actual foam itself. They make and sell cushions here, so I know it’s available, and the space it would take up to ship it may have been prohibitive, so the goal was to find out where the sewing shops buy their foam. I contacted the local lady who made Geoff & Tracy’s cushions to see if she could sell just the foam to me. She couldn’t do that, but she told me where she purchases it from, and lucky for us, it was in San Isidro and not too far out of our way when we were already going to be in town. We’ll be stopping there today so we can get started on our cushions and make our chairs much more comfortable.

The store we went to was one of the strangest conglomerations of things that I have seen yet. They had a small selection of fabric, probably nothing that I would ever buy because it wasn’t really canvas or vinyl, it kind of reminded me of those old picnic table tablecloths that were vinyl on one side and fuzzy on the back, some sheer cloth for curtains, and some other random types of fabric. They had lots of bulk cording, bungee, Velcro, elastic, and zippers that might come in handy in the future, though. They also had lots of non-sewing related things like small kitchen appliances, internal parts to fix things like washing machines or other bigger appliances like that, bits and pieces of lots of different random things, I don’t even know how to describe it. And then, all the way in the back, were piles & piles of foam in different thicknesses, densities, and sizes. It turns out, these are used as mattress toppers here, or I guess if you buy the thickest stuff, you could use it as a full foam mattress. We explained what we were making, and they helped us figure out what would work best for our cushion project. We learned that the foam isn’t waterproof, so we would have to wrap it in another vinyl type material underneath our upholstery fabric, and luckily, they sold that here as well. Oh, and did I mention, we did all of this in Spanish!!  We were satisfied with the items that we purchased to add to my craft/sewing supplies, and then finished up our day of shopping.

Now I guess I have some more projects to do, stayed tuned! 

Pura Vida!