Monday, October 10, 2016

Vivienda La Pura Vida

Well, I am back.  And I know it has been awhile since I wrote anything.  And the only excuse is the usual - I am just plain lazy.
 I just can't seem to get my act together to do this.  Why?  I have no idea.  But I am super lazy, and I can think of no other explanation.

Anyway, we are back from another trip to the states.  That makes three this year!  This time we went to Wisconsin.  The ostensible reason was to go to my nephew's wedding.  And it was beautiful and I would not have misssed it for the world.  It was outside, at the bride's farm.  The weather was beautiful, and since the wedding was held over Labor Day, I am here to tell you that the weather in Wisconsin at that time can be nice like it was, or rainy, or cold.  The fortunes smiled upon the bride and groom, and all went well.  My sister Buffie and I used the occaision to go all out - we got our hair done, and I learned how to wear false eyelashes.  Now I have wanted to do that for years.  However, every time I tried in the past, I could not get them on properly.  This time, with the aid of a magnifying mirror, I had no problem.  But one has to have a magnifying mirror.  I think I looked fantastic if I do say so myself.  My other sister also knocked it out of the park with this polka-dotted skirt made out of some chiffon-like material, and a simple back top.  Also a pair of the cutest ballet flats I have ever seen.  So the Riley girls made their presence known!
 Ok, enough of my vanity.  But I rarely ever have the chance to get dressed up anymore. It is too hot here for one thing.  Anything nice will be ruined the first time I wear it.  If I don't spill on it (which Ican't blame on the weather), I will sweat it to death.  So when given the chance, I am going to do it up for all it is worth.

We have been wating for a very long tme now to get back out to sea.  If only for a couple of days!  But Mike is concerned about our anchor chain.  We spent months at anchor, both in Ecuador and Panama, and that takes a toll on the chain.  I personally thought it should last longer than two  years, but Mike says no.  There is a lot of rust on it, and he is afraid that if something exciting happens while we are at anchor with the wind or water or both, the chain could part.  That would of course be disastrous.  Not to mention we would lose our expensive anchor.  So here we sit, while the chain is on order.  We are supposed to get it at the end of the month, but since everything comes out of Miami, and Hurricane Matthew has just passed through, there may be a delay.  I hope not.  I am not, however, holdng my breath.

Since returning from the states, we have travelled some more around Costa Rica.  As I have said before, this is an amazingly beautiul country.  I don't even have words for it, and for me not to have words should show you all something.  I am never at a loss for words.  I have seen  an anteater, which are much bigger than I though they woud be.  They have gorgeous golden and brown fur.  But they are mean.  They have very long claws, and they can lash out quickly.  Farmers don't like them because they can kill inquisitive dogs.  The claws did look very long and curved, and they gleamed in the reflected light.  We also saw a jaguarundi, which is simply a small panther.  It was running across the road we were driving on.  Unfortunately, it went by us too fast to get the camera out.  So you will have to take my word for it.  We have also seen more and more different kinds of birds.  I could watch them for hours.  My favorite are the motmots, which have strange tails and a lot of attitude.  They are also very colorful.  I just can't get enough of it.

I spend a lot of time just thinking about things.  I also think that someday I may just crawl inside my head and not come out.  I'm not sure what that would look like, but it has an appeal to me.    It is part of the reason why I like my night watches.  I break each hour up into 15 minute segments.  I can easily keep myself amused for 15 minutes.  If I do that four times, it will be time to make my log entries.  I can drag that out for at least 10 or even 15 minutes, so you can see how it goes.  I like to think about things without anyone interrupting me.  It can get embarassing, because sometimes I get so deep ito it that I start talking out loud.  Lots of the time I am not even aware that I am doing it.  My mom used to tell me it was the first sign of insanity.  But I only  "answer" myself if I am playing two parts in my head.  So I guess as long as I am aware of the cast of characters, I can keep on doing it as much as I want to.

Good news - I went to the dermatologist for a check up and she found absolutely no sogn of any cancer.  She did use this little tube of something really cold to have at a couple spots, but they weren't cancer and the scars it left have already gone, so all is well on the health scene.  I was getting sort of nervous for about a month before the exam, in spite of the fact I have followed all the instructions given to me after the first melanoma.  I stay out of the sun, utilizing long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and sun screen.  So I no longer have a beautiful tropical tan (at least by my standards) but I guess I will live longer.  I have a cousin that died from melanoma, and I don't want that to happen to me.

That brings up another topic - health.  I now spend quite a bit of time thinking about it.  Despite all my mother's fussing, I have yet to contract either pneunomia or tuberculosis.  When I was in college in Wisconsin, she was constantly telling me to be careful, not to catch a cold or it would turn into pneumonia and then to TB.    Now she had to know it doesn't work that way, but it didn't stop her.  In fact, I have enjoyed pretty robust good health.  But sometimes I feel as though I am falling apart, piece by piece.  Things just aren't as easy as they once were.  When I had my shoulder fixed, the surgeon told me that he found osteoporosis and that I should be careful not to go breaking anything.  Now I am very clumsy by nature, and I have always fallen, tripped, and otherwise knocked myself around a lot.  I never had any ill effects from it - no sprains or broken bones.  Just scrapes and bruises.  But now I can't be so cavalier.   I guess this is just part of the aging process.  I still get surprized when I realize that I am 60 years old.  I thought I'd be smarter by now.

But no one wants to read about someone whining about their health.  Heck I knew I was getting old when I talked to one of my sisters and we spent at least 20 minutes discussing what medications we have to take and why.

Right now it is cloudy and hot and we are expecting rain.  It is the rainy season here.  We have only two seasons in the tropics - hot and rainy and hot and dry.  Summer is the wet season and winter is the dry season.  The dry season is the top time for tourists here.  Here in the marina, in the northern part of the country, we are in the driest part of Costa Rica, where the tropical dry forests are found.  I lived in San Diego long enough that it is still a big thrill when it rains.  And I love the thnder and lightning as long as it isn't close to us.   A couple of weeks ago we went up to the mountains and while we were there, they had a huge thunder and lightning storm.  I laid on the bed in our awesome hotel room and watched the storm.  It thundered and lightning-ed and the view over the mountains was incredible.  It went on for several hours and buckets of rain fell.  The dirt roads we had to take to get there were pretty messy the next day, but Mike is a superb four wheel driver, and we had no problems.

I am really happy we are not in the US for this election cycle.  If only we get our absentee ballots in time!

Other than the chain issue, Magda Jean is in fine shape.  I am getting eager to take her out and see what all our new sails can do.  One of the ones we ordered did not come back as we wanted it to - we aren't sure what happened.   Instead of the genoa we wanted replaced ( a genoa is a big foresail) we got a big Yankee.  (A Yankee is a sail that is cut higher than a genoa.)  But I have a feeling that we are going to like this new sail  better. e will be using our staysail a lot more, and between the three sails (the main, the staysail and the yankee) we have a lot of different sail arrangements we can make.  The yankee will also be easier and neater to furl up partway when we need to reef our our sails and decrease the sail area. I think we will do better in light air, and will find it easier and smoother to deal with the smaller sails when we need to tack.  The genny could be hard to handle if the wind came up and caught us unawares.  And I think we can sail with the yankee alone in higher winds.  I like the look of it, especially in conjunction with the stay sail.  Another thing - when we looked at the plans for the rig drawn up when the boat was first built, it appears to have had a yankee rather than a genoa.  With the genoa, we could only use the staysail under very limited conditions. With the yankee, we will use it a lot more often.  I think this new sail combination will cause the boat to be in better balance.   The better the balance the better and smoother the sailing.  Come on, chain!!!   I am waiting for you!!  But I have pointed out to Mike that there is no reason at all why we can't just take her out for the day, returning to the marina rather than anchoring out.  He agrees, but it hasn't happened yet.

Anyway, I think it is time for me to wind this up.  We won't be leaving Costa Rica any time soon, other than  for visa renewals and a Christmas trip to Nicaragua with a frined from Newfoundland we met in Bolivia.     Our current permit for the boat ends in July, but we can probably renew it if we want to.  Or we can sail somewhere else for three months and then come back and start the whole thing over again.  Who knows?

"It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."  (My Dad)        

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