Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Lisa, Corinne and Marilyn

Monday mornings a group of us get together to make memory albums. I learned this creative craft in 2000 when my close friend, Susan, from Massachusetts introduced me to Creative Memories. She was a consultant for that scrapbook product company for two years, wearing me down with her pleas to start "cropping" with her because it was so much fun. I finally succumbed, spent a small fortune on supplies, and made my first album: Friends in Warm Places. With this theme, I made a scrapbook of all the warm places Jim and I went - to Safety Harbor, Florida, to visit Jeff and his family; to DisneyWorld for a learning vacation, and many trips to our Aruban timeshare.

Susan was right - it was a lot of fun! I felt great when I finished a particularly artistic page. In addition to pictures, I added comments, stickers, and other accoutrements to make the book visually appealing and to tell stories from my life. I went on to make a heritage album of my family, a small scrapbook about my beloved cat, Schmutz, a big album about our move from Massachusetts to Florida where we built a house, and now I'm working on a two-volume (or more) album of my life.

When I moved to Costa Rica, I brought my scrapbooking supplies with me, but they sat untouched until last year when I made a 50th birthday scrapbook for Lisa. She liked the album and expressed an interest in learning to scrapbook. Corinne jumped on the bandwagon, too, so there were three of us who started to get together. I taught them what I knew, and they are adding their own style of creativity to their projects. Marilyn is a quilter, but wanted to hang out with us on scrapbooking mornings, so she makes the fourth in our core group. When she has time, Rosemary joins us.

Our time together is developing rituals. We start with a scrumptious breakfast. After an hour or so, we start working. A theme song that has developed, whether Lisa likes it or not, is Gotta Be Startin' Something. We have a lot of fun, we get work done, and we are getting to know each other better.

Margie, Corinne celebrating her birthday, Marilyn

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Margaritaville Party

Most of the women at the Margaritaville party
I'm in the front row, third from the left

We all dressed up in our most colorful tropical clothes and had a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville party at Diane's. She looked adorable in her grass skirt. Patty and I went shopping at Ropa Americana (used and seconds clothing) stores in Alajuela to find her a suitable flowery blouse to wear. I wore a pair of colorful striped pants that were so old that they smelled moldy from the closet.

A few of us paired up and played a game like horseshoes, but we had to pitch heavy metal washers into holes in the ground. I got a washer into the hole = a hole in one! My team won the first game, but lost a second round.

But that was okay because Mark was in charge of mixing and pouring the margaritas, and were they yummy! The recipe called for tequila, a little triple sec, beer (yes, beer!), limonada and water. Ooh, they went down very quickly and smoothly.

We all brought something to share, and with 40-50 of us, there was a lot of food. Diane grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, but not until later. After the bocas (snacks), I was hungry, so I perused the dessert table and cut myself a piece of key lime pie. As I was eating it, a bunch of people exclaimed that I was eating dessert before the main event. Life is short, I said, so eat dessert first. So they did.

Jimmy Buffett CDs were playing in the background, but people were talking so loudly we couldn't hear the music. So there was no dancing.

But it was a Saturday night, and what's a Saturday night without dancing? So I left the party and went to Coyunda's, where the band was playing and my friends were sitting at a table with some new people from Alajuela, another city about 25 minutes away. Carlos asked me to dance, and we ended up dancing all night. He's a good dancer, and he made me look good on the dance floor. No, there's nothing brewing there between him and me - he's a heavy smoker and I have trouble breathing around smoke. But it was a fun night.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's 2010

The full blue moon was the backdrop for Lisa's New Year's Eve party. Her house is high up in the mountains of Escazu, with a spectacular view of the glittering lights down below in the Central Valley.

There were 60-70 people there, most of whom I knew. Lisa put out a great spread of sandwiches, salads and desserts. I brought my yummy ginger snaps and was offered a proposal of marriage if I gave him the recipe.

Just before midnight we all gathered outside on the patio. My friends who live way up there had warned me to wear a jacket, scarf, gloves and earmuffs. Yes, earmuffs in Costa Rica! So I was prepared for the cold weather.

At 12:00 we saw a spectacular display of fireworks all over the valley, and Lisa's husband, Tom, set off some, too. Fireworks are sold everywhere in Costa Rica, even though they're illegal. Hired help passed around flutes of champagne, and we all toasted the new year.

The next day there was another party. Rosemary throws a Hair of the Dog party late in the afternoon of New Year's Day, and this was the first year I was invited. In fact, I made the A list at both parties. Lisa and Rosemary are sister Brujas, the Thursday ladies lunch group that I was invited to join last February.

My friend Patty and I went to Rosemary's about 4:30pm and yakked it up with more friends. The expat network is very big in this area of Costa Rica. The spread included ribs, salads, and of course, more yummy desserts.

Once everyone had eaten, Barry, Rosemary's husband, led a Yankee Swap, or as he called it, a Chinese auction. It was great fun. I thought I was going to go home with a crystal bowl, but someone took that away from me, and I ended up with a kit for reading men's palms. That should come in hand the next time I hang out at a bar.

The party ended about 7:00, but Patty and I stayed and talked with Lisa, Rosemary, Barry, and their houseguests. We had a merry old time, talking about everything under the sun, and telling jokes. We were amazed to learn that a couple of their friends live in Lexington, Massachusetts, and went to the same Unitarian Universalist church that I went to. Finally at 11:00 we said our goodbyes and left.

May 2010 be the start of a joyous, healthy and prosperous decade for you all!

Fran and I at Lisa's party