Chinglish in Costa Rica

Mi Pequeña Niña has a surrogate grandmother, a lovely woman by the name of Vicki. And, no, I don’t know her last name. All I do know of Vicki is that she’s an international school teacher, had arrived from Syria a couple of months ago (having been shoo’d out by the government after the US decided to give them the finger over something trivial), and had fallen in love with our little girl (and our cat).  
But then, doesn’t everyone?  
When she left yesterday for her new position in St. Kitts (talk about your hard assignment), she left behind a very wonderful present for MPN — a little toy crib for her doll.  
The crib was MPN’s gift. When I saw the name of the manufacturer on the box, I knew the text on the box would be my gift.  
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Visiting Villa Blanca

Alex’s birthday was yesterday (she just turned 29, in case you’re keeping track … ‘cuz we’re not), and as tradition holds, she got to choose where we went to celebrate.  
Well, at least it’s a tradition we’re going to try to restart and keep going, anyway.  
She did some reasearch and chose a place up in the cloud forest called Villa Blanca. The pictures we saw online of the place looked nice, but as we’ve found a few times — the pictures often look better than the real thing.  
It was nice to find an exception to the rule.  
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My 10 favourite cover songs

In the annals of music, there will always the be homage to the giants that came before, who created the sound, and inspired the ones yet to come. That usually lends to things like the ubiquitous cover track — a performer’s version of a previous performer’s work.  
As we all know, the vast majority of said covers are … well, crap. People don’t spend the time to consider the message or the music that went into the piece, and are quite happy to churn out a version that doesn’t sound much different than the original, or sounds so substantially worse that you really have to imagine what on earth they were thinking.  
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First crack at my own theme

After years of using other people’s themes — some very good and some that left a bad taste in my mouth — I decided it’s high time to get off my arse and build my own.  
Especially after seeing Schiller’s most recent redesign, and realising that mine was way too graphical for the amount of content, and it needed to be a lot lighter. Besides, I was feeling substantially ungeeky because I didn’t actually make the template myself.  
Ah, but here’s the rub: I can’t design. I can’t even draw a stick person.  
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Hell of a good scare

Well, we just had a doozy of a startle. Costa Rica just had an official 6.1 magnitude earthquake (originally estimated by the USGS as a 6.2), with an epicentre about 10km east of the Poas volcano. That’s less than 10 km from where I work, and about 15 km from where I live.
It didn’t just shake a few things, it rattled the windows, shook a computer to the floor (Leo’s trying to fix it right now), cracked our ceiling (totally caved in the ceiling of the office next door), broke one of our great big front windows (thankfully, we have the roll doors behind them), and scared the bejeesus out of all of us.
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Dealing with our first illness

Yesterday, Mi Pequeña Niña was sick. Not the sniffly, sneezy, coughy kind of sick (she has yet to get a cold [insert sound of me knocking on wood here]) — but the worse kind of sick. Things coming back up kind of sick.  
The three of us (Janice is also down for a visit, which was already a very welcomed event, but became a significant blessing with her presence) tried to figure it out yesterday evening. What had MPN ingested? Was it something more serious? Did we need to go to a hospital?  
These are the things that all new parents have to go through at some point, until they begin to understand the physical attributes of their children: allergies (if any; so far, so good on our end), what might make them sick, how well they recover from illness, how they handle warm and cold, and so forth.  
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2008, A Year in Review

Hasta la vista, 2008! You were a tough year in the life, and while you certainly gave me a good run, I’m not unhappy to see you go. You’ve lead me further down the road of fatherhood, brought me back dear old friends, brought me new challenges at work … and of course moved me to an entirely different country. But with all of this, you’ve brought a whole mess of turmoil, instability, and grief.  
Now for those of you who’ve not been following along — and what the heck, even for those of you have — here’s what I’m talking about: Continue reading “2008, A Year in Review”

New Year's Eve in Costa Rica

We might not have spent Christmas in Costa Rica this year, but we sure as heck spent New Years here. Not that we went out for any sort of partying, I should say — things in Costa Rica are a little different than back in North America.  
Up north, it’s about the party — everyone goes out, whoops it up, suffers through the hangover the following day. Here, it’s a chance for family to be close together (most of the bars close at 23:00, apparently) and shoot off fireworks.  
Yes, fireworks. Remember, it’s still warm here.  
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