A community of citizens

Even more applicable today…..

Building kids of character

 “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.” Theodore Roosevelt

     What principles did Theodore Roosevelt mean when he made that statement? As Americans in the 21st century, do we remember? As parents raising the future leaders of our country, we MUST know.

     It seems that our country has become so politicized that even Roosevelt wouldn’t recognize what we have become. But the ideals and the character of America have been held in high regard by the rest of the world for most of our existence, with millions of immigrants flocking to our country since its birth. So what is it about our unique system of government and our people that many foreigners are willing to give up everything to become part of?

     As parents, we must emphasize that our country…

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Check it off for Costa Rica!

Flight arrangements made: CHECK!

We will be flying from Jacksonville to Houston to San Jose (the capital of CR, smack in the middle of the country) to Liberia. One major airlines and one local to get us from San Jose to Liberia. 

Ground transportation to Nosara: CHECK!

Nosara is OFF the beaten path. To say the least! Nosara Transport seems to be a lifeline throughout Costa Rica, getting people from here to there in a country that only has one major airport. 

Lodging arranged in Nosara: CHECK!

A casita! Right on the same property with my daughters! Nosara Vacation Rentals has been great to work with and offers a true value for your money. 

Pet Sitting Service: CHECK!

Our motley crew of rescue cats has grown to the point that we can’t leave them alone with bowls of food and water, much like I used to when I traveled for work. Courtney, from Courtney’s Pet and House Sitting, is coming over Sunday to meet the crew.

Traveling takes planning and attention to detail. In my younger years, I packed a bag and headed to the airport. Sometimes that worked……

It also helps to have some personal recommendations when you get your check list out! Feel free to poach mine…..Pura Vida!

hanging bridge

Sansa Airlines: http://crc.flysansa.com/en/planning-and-reservations

Nosara Transport: http://www.nosaratransports.com/

Nosara Vacation Rentals: http://www.iicostarica.com/area.html

Courtney’s Pet and House Sitting Service: https://www.facebook.com/pg/courtneylovespets/about/?ref=page_internal

 

 

 

 

 

Where Exactly is Costa Rica??

playa pelada

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

PURA VIDA: Simply translated, it means “simple life” or “pure life” but in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying—it is a way of life.

 

It’s been awhile, you’re right about that! But the years keep marching by, with or without a blog. Funny how that happens.

And that’s OK. Steeping oneself in the years as they flow by teaches us that sometimes we don’t have much to add to the conversation. But it does takes self-control to stop talking and just listen.

Since my last post, my daughter has married and moved to Nosara, Costa Rica. Yes, you read that correctly; COSTA RICA!

The young woman who grew up in one house, went to school with some of the same people her whole life, and then settled right here in her home town…….she packed her bags and got on that plane to live a saner, slower life.

I envy that. It wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. Look around YOUR house; could you get rid of nearly all of it, including your car, and move to another country with only a couple of suitcases? I helped them with garage sales, called in a professional for the rest, and waved good-bye as they disappeared into security at the airport. A bittersweet day. Actually, more bitter than sweet, if I’m being honest.

So, now what? She and I are tight. We had to be, as it was just the two of us here in our little house for all those years. Single mom, doted-on only child making our way through the years. So, what do you THINK I’m going to do about that?

You guessed it: I’m headed to Costa Rica! My first trip will be coming up within about two weeks, so I’m working on travel arrangements–Nosara is NOT on the beaten path, believe me–lodging, pet sitting while we’re gone, all those tiny details that can derail a trip if they are neglected. Age DOES have its advantages that way.

One major change for me is that I now have a wonderful man in my life, one who has my back, something I’ve needed for a very long time. We’re excited to take this adventure together.

Oh, wait. I forgot to tell you: You’re all going with us, so stay tuned! I will be posting from now as we prepare until we return, complete with pictures and video. You may want to visit this tropical paradise, too, and we can pave the way for you.

Get your virtual passports ready…….

Pura Vida!

map
Nosara, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

Family ties……

Remember the TV series entitled “Family Ties”?

I don’t have many of those. The reasons are varied, some known to me, others still (and might remain) buried deep inside the footlocker of my family’s history. But those issues are not my point here.

Recently I attended the funeral of an uncle, my mother’s older brother. At that coming together of friends and family to honor his memory and life, I met relatives that I didn’t know until the introductions were made that day. They are not distant kin, either; they are the children of my first cousin, the cousin I lived with my senior year in high school.

Where have we been the rest of our lives?

Family isn’t always blood, either, right? I also ran into–quite literally–one of my best friends from that same senior year. Heaven knows, there aren’t many of those for me, military brat that I was. She and I hadn’t had any contact since then. Almost 50 years ago.

Once we arrived at the gravesite for the service that day, my cousin pointed out our grandparents’ resting place, right next to that of this same uncle’s wife. My aunt, one of my favorite people ever. And this was the first time I had even seen their resting places, or even known where they were. I hadn’t attended their funerals, a fact that shames me now.

resk graves

Even sadder is that this familial amnesia continues for my adult daughter. She has little knowledge of these family members, something I would love to rectify with a road trip soon. A long one, to be sure, but better late than never.

Family ties have significance far beyond this moment, the one when we’re angry at a member of the group or are separated in other ways. They connect us to a tribe, a ready-made, hopefully well-nurtured, soft place to fall in times of trouble. These sturdy strings were never knitted together for me or my siblings. But it is up to me to get busy and start picking up the loose ends, don’t you think?

“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ~Erma Bombeck

Dancing Fool Competes: But WHY??

Yes, there is that question. competition

Considering that I seem to be colorblind when it comes to blue ribbons…..or any color ribbon at all. Competition holds no meaning to me, so why would I decide to dip my high-heeled dance shoes into a Ballroom Dance competition at all?

I spent some quality time in front of my potbellied stove to craft an answer over the weekend. The birds and I came up with a response as I witnessed the sunrise bringing light to the day….and my thinking.

I’m all about learning, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me. The process of the dance lesson alone intrigues me. How does my teacher move from Point A–a simple box step–to Point B–a cross-over with hip motion, and then beyond, resulting in a beautifully crafted rumba? Especially from me, someone who had never danced a step until about 3 years ago, a woman who resisted dancing to the point where I spent more time hiding in a lounge’s restroom than sitting anywhere near the dance floor? As a teacher myself, albeit in a vastly different arena, I appreciate and embrace the challenge from my perspective: the student.

I may not be competitive with others on the dance floor–or just about anywhere else (well, maybe on a racquetball court, so come back later for that story)–but my internal dialogue challenges me. How was my crossover yesterday? Today it must be better, or I’ll exhaust myself trying. I don’t need my rumba to be perfect, but it must be the best I can achieve. And therein lies my competition–me.

Competing may slake my thirst for continuing to move along the line of my dance experience. It seems a natural progression for me, as a woman with no dance partner and some decent moves on the dance floor. I may hate the whole thing–but there is only one way to find out.

Let’s do it!

Consider yourself warned…..

too late

Consider yourself warned…..

  • Eating junk food as your daily entree turns your body to junk. How could it not?
  • Joking about not exercising won’t be comical when you’re 70 and your legs and core won’t get you up off that comfy sofa any longer. It will be funny to those watching, though.
  • Smoking will be the death of you, one way or the other. Yes, YOU. Did you like taking that last breath, the one that just went in without any effort at all? If you smoke–yes, YOU–those breaths are numbered. Start counting.
  • Arteries in all kinds of places in your body can–and will–harden to the point that other important things CAN’T, guys. Yes, that one! Why doctors don’t harp on this with their male patients escapes me. If young men knew this NOW, they might take better care of themselves, because we know what gets their attention, above all else, right??
  •  That gorgeous “bad boy” will be bad for you, girls. Be careful, very careful, who you choose.
  • The trite platitude “It’s never too late” is a lie. Some mistakes can never be corrected, some missed opportunities will never circle back around for a second look. Live intentionally, not by the default position of “what will be, will be.” It made for a great tune, but the lyrics simply made its creator a rich man, not necessarily a happy one.

To reflect on your life with regret is devastating. Consider yourself warned, today, before it IS too late!

 

 

 

Dancing fool competes…..

Yes, I’ve made the decision to enter my first ballroom dance competition.  Yikes!

What’s up with that? I freaked out doing a performance at my own dance studio, so how will I handle dancing in front of lots more people? That’s a good question you’ve just asked, I must admit.

Here’s how I figure it. In my former life, I taught hundreds of teachers at any one time, so this should be easy. Right?

We’ll find out! My instructor and I will be preparing and then we’ll head on down to the Hilton here in Jacksonville on June 20th. I’m going to take all of you along on this ride, beginning with today’s dance lesson.

We talked about what dances I want to compete in at what levels (waltz and rumba), and then we danced. He talked: We can’t do that in a competition at that level, we have to be back here in 8 beats, make sure your heel is down before moving the other foot…..

And you know what? I’m in heaven…..

Stay tuned!

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