Sunday. I transcribed video then decided to paint. I painted our house from memory, which is interesting because it's fascinating what seems prominent and what fades into the background. It felt fantastic to be downstairs in my basement studio painting. It was delicious and I need to do it far far far more often. Perhaps I should challenge myself- photos are far too easy and something of an artistic cop out, a short cut (sorry professional photographers, I'm only speaking personally here). Perhaps I should post a Sunday painting each week. ChrissysphotoadayandSundaypainting.blogspot.com perhaps???




Dan and I went to an antique store early in the afternoon to see if they had any good chairs for our living room. See, we have these two wooden chairs in there and they are really pretty- but uncomfortable to sit in for any length of time. So we are looking for some good ideas if you have them.

Then I spent the rest of the day- 8 hours really- transcribing video for a paper I'm writing. I felt so antsy, kept falling asleep, and needing tea to keep me going. I just really wonder whether research is for me. I love doing creative things like planning lessons and teaching, but I hate the mundane aspects of research. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I got an app for my iPhone that makes pictures look old, so that's what the second photo was taken with.




The thaw.
It got above freezing today and the snow started to melt and I noticed... snowdrops have popped up in the front wooded area near the driveway! Right on schedule.
Today was a writing day. I transcribed video, did a literature search, and started working on a paper for NARST that's due in three weeks.



I'm so proud of my husband. He finally ordered himself a trainer for his bike. He set it up in the basement and even rigged up a way to watch videos on his iPad- with my painting stand! Oh well, it's not being used for painting these days. Very clever. And he's riding his bike again in this cold snowy weather- safe in the basement.

Today I taught two classes and they went very well. I'm trying to relax and just be myself in the classroom. Chill. Take it easy. Have fun. A student was texting on her phone all during class and instead of reprimanding her in front of everyone (which I wanted to do), I sent her an email which developed into a personal conversation about a family issue she's dealing with. So, I think I'm becoming a kinder, gentler professor. Crossing my fingers for stellar evaluations this semester. I even taught in jeans today, trying to relax and be comfortable.

Aza came over for dinner and we had the best time. It's so much fun sharing stories about our day now that she's "in my world" at school and we know the same people. I'm so proud of her. She's working for the department, tutoring a girl in Algebra II and is going to start tutoring students in an Algebra I clinic. My math whiz.





More snow. MORE SNOW! Sheesh. I know I'll miss it when it's gone. Today I stayed home to work and fought off a migraine. I'm taking a new supplement and it seems to be working to keep the migraines at bay. I got my new printer today and set it up. Also got the Aveda shampoo and conditioner I ordered BUT it doesn't smell as good as the stuff did at the beauty salon. What's up with that? Do they put more fragrance in the stuff at the salon? Or did I order the wrong thing?

new years card 2011

Happy Thought Bubble New Year's 5x7 folded card
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I'm going to get a gift certificate from Shutterfly for posting this card I created. So, here it is! Send me my gift certificate, Shutterfly!




Baking bread and a roaring fire in the wood stove makes for a cozy Sunday. Thanks, Dan! I was productive today and felt good about working, getting ready for my busy week ahead. This evening Squirt and Dan watched the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears and it was a nice sound in the house. Like a Postsecret this week, I like the sound of sports on TV- not that I like to watch it- it just reminds me that I've got men in the house. A man at home. A family. We celebrated with steak I cooked on the grill (in the snow, yes), fresh bread, sauteed mushrooms and broccoli. Good day. It was a good day.





I wonder when I'll stop taking pictures of snow and ice this year. It seems like spring will never come. I had a hard time working today- just wasn't motivated to do much of anything. My sister Sakura and I are trying a new migraine remedy hoping it works. L-carnitine. She is taking 500mg a day and I'm starting slow with only 200mg. It's supposed to help mitochondria work better and I don't know what that has to do with migraine, but somebody somewhere suggested it so we are guinea pigs again.






We got a big snow last night and I got to stay home and measure its density today. I got 35ml of water from a cup of snow. Density anyone?



Squirt is growing a beard...


Aza and her boyfriend B came over today for dinner to celebrate her 23rd birthday tomorrow. Twenty Three! Wow. We had chili and cornbread baked in those little cast iron corn things and salad. For dessert, ice cream with homemade fudge sauce. We played dominoes and she opened her present from us, and we watched a stupid movie as usual. Happy 23rd Birthday Aza!




We went back to the furniture store today to look at more chairs. More to choose from. Opinions anyone?


Our rug in the living room.




We are in the market for a couple of chairs for our living room, so we went shopping today looking for something small enough yet interesting enough. I wish my mom would come visit to help me make a decision! It's so hard to know what will look good and be comfortable and fit!


Class officially began today. I went in early to prepare, then got a migraine. Aza came to pick me up and drove me home. I had a bad one yesterday too and wonder what I might have eaten.
Aza moved into her new apartment this week. The snow, the ice, the cold... is getting old.


War Eagle! Auburn won the National Championship! I'm at Toomer's Corner in spirit tonight.


I met my friend Miss March for coffee today and we spent two hours catching up and planning a presentation at an upcoming event. I loved this coffee shop she discovered- called Coffee Times Cafe. It's my new favorite haunt.

Went shopping for groceries afterward and made a most excellent stew for dinner.

What I'm thinking about today is that I just can't let my job take over my life this year. Some how, some way, I need to balance academia and the artist's way.


I didn't work today. I could have- and probably should have- but Pura Vida! I didn't want to. It was snowy outside, and Dan lit a fire which made it toasty inside, and I drank coffee and worked on updating my blog with lots more photos from my recent trip. Check out all the new photos I added!

My trip has indeed changed me somehow. I want to tread even more lightly on the earth. I want to work less and live more. I want to boycott plastic and make my own cotton bags for shopping for produce, and only buy meat wrapped in paper. I want to use less water and cherish being with my family and friends more. I want to live a happier life. I want to help people in other countries who have less access to education. Did you know that in Costa Rica the children are only required to get a 6th grade education and that reading is only taught 15 minutes a day, and there are no books, and there are few bookstores (we saw one, but it was closed, and I have heard they are really stationary stores), and fewer libraries (I saw only one from the outside in the city). I want to learn Spanish and meet some of the immigrants here from Central and South America who are here for a "better" life. I want to return to Costa Rica next summer with an agenda- to not be so much a tourist, but an educator of some sort. But really, I hope to spread some Pura Vida here at home. In the snow.

I ate pineapple for breakfast. It was a Costa Rican pineapple. I cut the green part off and put it in a dish of water on my windowsill, and look at it thinking, "This grew first in Costa Rica. I ate it. Now it's growing here."

Italian pottery on a Costa Rican tray.

View out the front door this morning.



So, why do I keep up this blog? When I started it on 1-1-07 I had no idea it would become a daily thing for over four years. Some people keep up with it, mostly friends, some strangers. I love getting comments and knowing there is an audience out there. From the map, I can see that there are visitors around the world. But mostly it's for me. For my memory. For the days when I need help remembering when and where, for the days I need to reminisce about how far I've come since I was knee-deep in graduate school, teaching 6th graders, trying to write a dissertation.

I spent the day at school. Two hours in a mildly productive meeting, three more hours at my desk doing "je ne sais quois." Then I walked home in the snowing snow. I walked home 2.5 miles in the snow- and it felt good.


Toto, I don't think we're in Costa Rica anymore. Last night we left Chicago and headed north to Wisconsin to spend the night with the in-laws. We surprised them and it was nice to sleep soundly in a quiet, dark, warm, soft room. This morning we had a pancake breakfast and hit the road in the snow. First stop, Indianapolis to pick up Frisbee from my sister Stay's house. We got to spend an hour or so visiting with her and two of her kids. We didn't get home until midnight. Long day. Snowing at home.


Woke to the sound of tropical birds and lush gardens. Closed the day driving in the snow.


Oh boy. Today we left our house near Lake Arenal and drove about 3.5 hours on very curvy roads to get back to Alajuela. Potholes the size of plastic swimming pools. This is downtown Alajuela, the city with the airport next to San Jose.

Checked into our hotel then went to lunch. The majority vote was for a ceviche restaurant. We ate raw fish, shrimp, squid, and clams. Hm. Ok after that I said I deserved some chocolate so we went to a grocery store called Auto Mercado. We though it might sell cars, but no. Expensive groceries. I got chocolate. After that I got my way again (which usually backfires) and we drove on roads that were shaped like intestines to a town called Sarchi. It has the world's biggest ox cart. Here is a photo of a wheel.

That was ~real fun~. Exhausted now, back at the hotel. We leave at 6am. Goodbye summer. I can't imagine flying into the cold winter north tomorrow. This place is another world. Such beauty, such poverty, such basic living- people in touch with the land and each other.


Today was our last full day at Casa de Gavilan in Nuevo Arenal. We tried to go on a hike at the Eco Lodge to see the Maleku Indians but that didn't work out, so we just hung around the house. Dan and I went out to dinner by ourselves this evening while the kids stayed behind and cooked their own dinner. I will miss this place, but I'm ready to come home. Today I just took pictures of birds and they're still on my camera. This Internet connection is too slow to upload. Tomorrow San Jose. Wednesday, home.

Home now... you want to see some awesome bird pictures? I have no idea what kinds of birds these are.


They don't call it a rain forest for nothing.
Rain, rain, rain.
I hear there are two seasons here- the rainy season and .... the more rainy season.
Nevertheless, we spent the day touring around. I opted out of the zipline canopy tour, but the kids and Dan had a great time.


Wow, what a cool date to type. 1-1-11. Squirt says 11-11-11 will be even cooler. Imagine sitting on a deck over a pond watching a dozen hummingbirds jockeying for positions at the feeder, when two toucans enter the picture. And two red headed woodpeckers. Those are my pictures of the day.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the house, catching up on grocery shopping and laundry. Tomorrow we venture to Monteverde (not sure if that's how it's spelled) and maybe the volcano Arenal for a hike. The hot springs were so wonderful yesterday we may go back. THIS is where we were yesterday. Having a great time!