Wednesday, December 31, 2008

last year's new year's resolutions revisited

where was i this time last year? let's take a look at last year's new year's resolutions and see what i have accomplished (or not accomplished) in 2008.

1. i will not drink any alcohol for the entire month of january.
i stuck with this resolution pretty well, although i have to say it is SO hard not to drink when you are surrounded by bar culture and the main activity amongst your friends and neighbors is binge drinking. i think i eventually compromised and said i would only have 1 drink on weeknights (if i went out) and 2 on weekends, and i stuck to that for several months.

2. i will write a novel. i have not set a date for its completion, but i will have a substantial novel that i will be working on.
i totally nailed this one! i am about halfway through my novel. go me!

3. i will perform burlesque in public.
this one took a backseat to novel writing. however i did have a small tassel twirling exhibition on my 30th birthday, so maybe that counts for something. the bolshevik has kindly asked that i do not bare my chest in front of others. i feel that this is a reasonable request that i shall honor for the duration of our relationship.

4. i will continue going to the gym regularly and aim for 2.5 times a week
i have been trying to go to the gym 3 times a week, but i'd say i average 2 times a week. as this is more often than i have ever exercised in my life, i would say i'm doing fairly well on this one.

5. i will not go after "players" anymore.
if you were to examine my dating record, you would see that i did indeed fall for one player in 2008 (but it was early 2008! i was still new to this non-player thing!) anyway, i am proud to say that the bolshevik is not a player, not at all. so in the end, better late than never, i succeeded with this resolution.

so really, the only thing i didn't accomplish in 2008 was more public nude performance. i'd say that 2008 was a pretty successful year.

and as we look towards 2009, what glorious things do i want to accomplish?
  1. i'd like to complete my novel (then i'd like to get it published, and then i'd like to become famous and be a guest on Oprah and/or the Tyra Banks show, even though i find both Oprah and Tyra Banks to be obnoxious)

  2. i would like to lose my prednisone weight and become super svelte again (i am fighting the unsvelteness vigilantly, and yet i have made no strides. i merely maintain the same level of unsvelteness)

  3. i would like to balance my personal budget, and live in a more fiscally sound manner (when i transfer to my new branch i will be able to get rid of my car! that will give me a couple hundred bucks extra a month. yay!)

  4. i hope to maintain the healthy and satisfying relationship that i have with my beloved bolshevik. being in a non-toxic relationship is fun, and i encourage you all to try it sometime.

  5. general improvements: i would like to be more tidy, i'd like to be kinder to people, i'd like to improve my wardrobe, i'd like to cook more, and i'd like to let people "in" more.

and that dear blog readers is about as introspective as i'm going to get on this snowy new year's eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


as promised, here is the bolshevic's picture of the costa rican snack food we picked up at the gas station and ate in lieu of lunch.

at the top in the light blue are the vanilla sticks (our favorite), then going clockwise are the pineapple empanadas (just ok), the "caramel" filled cupcakes (bad), a peach likigurt (peach yogurt drink that was quite tasty), and the twinkie shaped "caramel" cakes.

so here is my breakdown of costa rica:
pros: beautiful scenery, rainforests, untouched beaches, amazing adventures, friendly and helpful locals, ecologically conscious, fresh yet simple meals
cons: poorly constructed road system, bad snack food

that's right ... you heard it here folks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

tis the season

oh holiday time is so exciting ... here's some news:

first off, we had an excellent holiday party. my fab assistant spearheaded a project to get people to donate little toys and gifts for the kids. mostly this was from library employees, many of whom were quite generous, but also from some parents of our "regulars."

i came up with the idea of reading the little kids holiday themed picture books and serving them hot chocolate. it was really cute. and it's amazing how exciting hot chocolate can be. i mean, it's only like $2.5o a box but you throw some marshmallows in there and suddenly you've got something pretty awesome. (much like the power of googley eyes. but do NOT put googley eyes in hot chocolate. that would be bad) anyhoo, we also made angels out of paper plates (pics to be shown later) and my assistant led the kids in some christmas songs while they worked on their crafts. then we had all the kids sit down and we called their names out one by one and gave them presents. each child got one or two books and a toy. all gift wrapped by yours truly and her amazing assistant.

it sounds cliche, but these kids faces lit up when they opened their presents. they were SO happy. and these weren't huge amazing presents or anything. for instance, i donated a "princess set" which is a very cheap plastic set of pink jewelry with accompanying tiara. it cost $4. i decided to give it to this little hispanic girl who comes in all the time and is struggling to learn english to keep up with her 1st grade class. she LOVED it. she had the biggest smile on her face.

one of the things i love about the kids that i work with, is that they really appreciate all the little things. i mean, they so often get shafted, so when you give them a little $4 present they get really excited. and the parents were appreciative too. as the kids were all collecting their candy canes on their way out, you could see that the parents were really thankful to have us in the community. not to get all sappy on you, but it was really quite special.

and it made me a little bit sad that i will be leaving library in the hood.

say what?!

oh, with all the costa rica excitement i forgot to tell you my beloved blog readers, that i am being transferred to another branch! effective very very soon! it's on the 7 train. oh how i love the 7! i can get rid of the fancy mobile (repairs on which are really a drag).

yes yes yes, the latter half of 2008 has been quite interesting (the beginning half of 2008 was totally sucky. SUCKY!) actually, it's not even the latter half ... it's really like the latter third of 2008. let us recount all the joyous things that happened from september 2008 onward:

1. i finally noticed the bolshevik
2. i went to costa rica with said bolshevik
3. i get to look forward to a "fresh start" at a new branch
4. i get to leave my branch on a high note, knowing that i was a positive influence in the lives of many community members

in conclusion ....
i rock.
happy holidays.

costa rica adventures: we end with a trip in a miniscule plane

since we lost an entire day due to my passport woes, the bolshevik and i tried to think of ways to make up time. on our last day we had planned to drive our SUV back to san jose for our afternoon flight back home. after having learned how deceitful the road maps are, i use our navigation system to deduce that this will actually take about 4 hours. at best. so the bolshevik comes up with the clever idea of dropping off our rental car at nearby tamarindo beach, and taking a plane from tamarindo to san jose, which is only a 45 minute flight. he is so very clever that bolshevik.

so on our last day we wake up around 7 am and spend our last hours of vacation at the beach. the bolshevik hides in the shade of a coconut tree, while i do yoga in the sand. then i have a quick swim in the ocean, and we return to our hotel for our last casados ever. so sad.

after dropping off our trusty SUV, we are driven to the "airport" which is really just a big awning with a couple of benches and small stand selling gum and water. don't let the picture fool you, there was no indoor space at the airport. there was also no security, no x-rays, no metal detectors, no luggage carousel. nothing. so we sit on a bench and wait. there are about 6 other people sitting around waiting as well and i start to worry that this is going to be a seriously small plane we are flying in. i hate planes. especially small planes. it is aroud this time that i decide to take some xanax, and concentrate on feeling anxious.

then our plane lands, and i watch as the one aiport worker loads our luggage up. we board the plane and i believe i count 12 seats. this is definitely the smallest plane i have ever been in. not only can i see the cockpit from our seats, but there is no divider or anything between us and the pilots. i could have easily chatted with the pilots, given them some constructive criticism on flying, pointed out areas of note from the air, etc etc. you know, had i not been paralyzed with fear, i could have been quite social. other plane passengers seemed to be having a fine time, making jokes and patting each other on the back. fools. all of them.

i spend the first half of the trip clutching onto my backpack for dear life, while also digging my nails into the bolshevik's arm. he is such a good sport. after a while i calm down slightly and the bolshevik tries to distract me with more car games.

we eventually make it to san jose alive, and we have just enough time to stop by the duty free shop before boarding our plane. i pick up some chocolate covered pineapple, as i am determined to find good snack food.

the plane ride home is uneventful. and since i had just had that terrifying small plane experience, i was SO well behaved on the real plane. i should have gotten one of those pins with the plane wings on them that they give to kids. or extra pretzels.

there was no one in the third seat in our row, so the bolshevik and i are able to spread out a bit. we spend most of the trip watching flight of the conchords episodes on my laptop, while eating chocolate covered pineapple (SO good).

and thus concludes our costa rican adventures.

the end.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

costa rican adventures: canopy tours, low quality snacks & leatherback turtles

we wake up at 5:30 am, thinking it is 6:30, because i forgot that the bolshevik hadn't set the clock on his cell phone to costa rica time. we don't realize this until we arrive at the main cabin for breakfast and there is no one there.

after breakfast the bolshevik tries to take some video with his fancy pants camera, but within about two minutes his camera shuts down due to overexposure to moistness. rainforests ... seriously rainy. take heed.

we arrive at selvatura park and we are quickly outfitted in harnesses and caribeeners and yellow hard hats, then herded into a bus which, after a long wait, drives us about 500 feet from where we started. then we are given an informative demonstration on how canopy-ing works. here's how it works:

you're in a harness.
they attach you to a long cable via pulleys and caribeeners.
then you zip through the rainforest on said long cable.

there was more to it than that, but i am summarizing for the sake of entertainment. so we are zipping through the rainforest on cables and it is pretty damned cool. the bolshevik suggests that i "look down," to which i reply, "hell no i won't look down!" but then on the next cable we zip through the trees and then suddenly we are over a huge valley and i look down to see all the treetops below me, and the mountains around me, and it was all very awesome. and i think to myself, i really hope i don't slow down and get stuck on this cable, leaving me hanging several hundred feet above the rainforest. that would be bad. but luckily that didn't happen.

then we did the "tarzan swing." pretty much, instead of zipping across via cable, the nice workers at selvatura attach a rope to your harness and then they lift you by the ass and toss you gently off a very high platform. then you swing like a pendulum off of a cliff. this was slightly terrifying, but once you swing back and slow down a bit it's pretty fun. they let you swing back and forth, until they eventually slow you down enough to rope you in with a device the bolshevik cleverly named "the tourist catcher." the tourist catcher is an oversized padded elastic band which they sort of lasso around you in order to get you down off the tarzan rope.

there is some debate about whether or not canopy tours are harmful to the forest. and although i'm sure the forest would be better off without canopy tours. it was really cool, and i think the damage to the trees was minimal. i mean, i didn't even slam into one tree. not even once.

i would like to add a little note here about costa rica ... when i called to reschedule our tour, there was no "oh it's non-transferrable" or "there's no rain dates" or "didn't you read the fine print" or "of course a non-expired passport is invalid." they don't have red tape. you just ask them to do something reasonable and they work with you. i heart costa rica.

so after our canopy fun we set off for playa grande. yay, warmth and beachiness! after an hour or so we finally move from "unpaved road" to an actual real road! with asphalt and everything! even though this maked the driving easier, it's not as fun or scenic. we make such good time that we decide to skip lunch and just buy costa rican snacks at the gas station instead.

now, i have noticed that when you leave the US they have much better snack food. at least in europe and australia. but i have to warn you that snack food is NOT something costa ricans are excelling at. i know, you are disillusioned by this information. shocked even. those of you contemplating travelling to costa rica, thinking that it is a magical land full of amazing processed snacks will be very disappointed. here's what we ate:

pinapple samosas - crusty samosa type snacks with pinapple filling. these were ok, but rather dry.
caramel cupcakes - little cupcakes supposedly filled with caramel. these downright sucked. it was like a little flavorless muffin with some dried up stuff in the center prentending to be caramel.
twinkie shaped pastry - turns out these are the exact same thing as the caramel cupcakes except that they're shaped like twinkies
vanilla sticks - these were long straw-like tubes that at first bite taste like vanilla flavored tree bark and have the consistency of chewing a thin layer of rubber. however, after you eat about 4 or 5 of them they are surprisingly good. addictive even. these were our favorite, by far.

photographic evidence of these snacks will later be provided by the bolshevik.

finally we arrive at hotel las tortugas. and despite the bolshevik's aversion to sunlight, he accompanies me to the beach where we frolic in the ocean until the sun sets and all the surfers have gone.
let me just take a minute to tell you about playa grande: the owners of our hotel fought to have playa grande turned into a reserve for sea turtles, so it is located smack in the middle of a pristine 3 km strip of untouched beach. after sunset you aren't allowed on the beach because they don't want people interferring with the turtles nesting season. but you are allowed to go on the beach with a guided "turtle tour," given by the Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas. so that is what we did.
our reservation is for 12:30 at night (we had to nap after dinner so that we were prepared for such late night activity, since i had accidentally started our day at 5:30 am). we walk over to the ranger station and wait with a large group of people. after a while we are ushered into a room where we watch a very poorly made power point presentation about leatherback sea turtles. but then we watch an informative video about how that park was made and it showed a little baby sea turtle trying to make it's way to the ocean after it had just hatched. it was SO cute.
after the video we are told we have to wait at the ranger station until a turtle is spotted on the beach. they warn us that this could take hours, if at all. now this is my favorite part (aside from actually seeing a sea turtle) ... they tell us we don't have to pay unless we see a turtle. so unlike those whale watching scams and other tourist rip-offs you have in the states, we only have to pay if we receive the service we signed up for. i heart costa rica: land of reasonableness.
after about 45 minutes of waiting, we are told a sea turtle has been spotted and we all caravan to the beach. we walk through the sand for a while until we approach a huge sea turtle. we circle around the sea turtle (which i'd say is about as large as a medium sized coffee table), and there are all these scientists and volunteers helping her dig her hole and holding flashlights and patting sand. it's all very exciting. and we are standing mere feet from this. mere feet! we're watching her flippers clear away sand, and then we actually watch her lay eggs! (they were larger than chicken eggs, and more round). and then we watch her cover up the eggs with sand. so cool.
my one beef with the turtle tour is that i would have liked to watch her completely cover her eggs and then return to the ocean. i overheard someone say that it actually takes over an hour for her to cover the eggs up and that she even gets twigs and stuff to hide the nest. that would have been fascinating! i want to see a giant turtle lay sticks down! how would she even grab a stick? we didn't get back to our hotel until after 3 am, so maybe they felt that another hour would be too long, but i would have liked the option of just sitting on the beach and waiting for her to return to the sea all triumphant. but it was pretty interesting nonetheless so i shouldn't complain.
and thus conludes yet another action packed day in central america.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

costa rican adventures: volcanoes and karaoke

we wake up at 6:30 am to the sound of a monsoon pouring down on our cabin, the wind whipping through trees. it is truly a cloudy rainy cloud forest. at breakfast we eat casados which is our new favorite thing, and i sample some costa rican coffee. tastes like regular coffee. then we accomplish 4 things (besides eating)

1. we re-schedule our canopy tour for the following day (thereby pushing back our arrival time at the beach)
2. we get the lovely staff at the hotel to dry our clothes from the night before, since laying them out to dry overnight did absolutely nothing
3. we "rent" ponchos from the front desk, but when i ask cuanto cuestan? i am told they cost nothing. the clerk says this as though it is obvious that renting ponchos would be a free service. i heart costa rica.
4. we decide that since it is raining, we should drive around the lake to the volcano in la fortuna so that we can go in the hot springs. we have been so cold and damp, we need a little hot springs.

now, on the map the volcano looks as though it's right around the corner. in actuality it is 3.5 hours drive. damned these crazy costa rican roads. but even though the driving is difficult, it is kind of fun, so we play our car games (turns out the bolshevik knows way more political leaders than i do) and we look at the scenery and have a fine old time.

then we see this crazy creature in the road. it kind of looks like a cross between a monkey and a raccoon. it is SO cute, so we get out of the car to take pictures. suddenly there are like 15 of them surrounding us, but luckily they are friendly enough not to attack us.

we eventually make it to la fortuna and we see the volcano, but alas due to fog we are unable to see the top of the volcano. but it was pretty obvious that it was a volcano. i swear.

then we try to find eco termales, which is the name of the hot springs place we found in our trusty guidebook. our handy navigation system tells us that we have arrived at our destination but there is no entrance or sign or anything except for two large wooden doors with a little call box. now, approaching a call box and big ominous doors is intimidating enough without the added pressure of having to speak in spanish. but i muddle through my spanish and they open the doors for us.

inside it's a tropical hot spring wonderland. there are pools filled with water heated by the volcano. there's a little bar and lounge chairs and waterfalls and rock formations. it's divine. so we get ourselves some cocktails and spend several hours splashing around in the warm water while we are gently misted with rain (it never quite stops raining in the cloud forest)

on our drive home we stop at a local bar on the side of the road, in hopes of getting some casados for dinner. the bar is an open air structure with a dirt floor and an assortment of farm equipment and logs and hay for decoration. i am a little worried for our safety when we approach. we had heard a lot of stories about robberies and violence towards tourists. but when we get inside we see there are about 5 guys there (including employees) and they are singing karaoke in spanish. after we order our food, they all come up to us and ask us where we're from and if we're going to sing and do we like to dance, etc etc. so friendly. so of course i ask if they have any musica en ingles, and i am given a short and random list of american songs. i decide to sing I Will Survive. who doesn't love donna summer? i ask you. the crowd (ie the 5 people in the bar) went wild. ok, actually they just applauded with a moderate amount of enthusiasm, but whatevs. it's good to see that cultural divides can be overcome through the power of karaoke.

when we arrive back to our hotel the lights are still on, so we are able to light our one candle, and i proceed yet again to make my pathetic attempts at building a fire. and thus ends another day of fabulous costa rican adventures.

... to be continued ...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

costa rica adventures: things get brighter, then seriously foggy

we wake up on friday morning in a much better frame of mind. i am still hivey, but less so. and the bolshevik and i are just thrilled that we finally made it out of the tri-state area.

we sit on this lovely patio dining area, and have what the costa ricans refer to as casados which means "typical meal." their typical meal includes rice & beans, eggs (scrambled or fried), a couple slices of cheese, a few slices of tomato, a selection of fresh fruits, coffee or tea, and fresh squeezed fruit juices (we had the option of orange juice, watermelon juice or "mixed fruits"). pretty sweet. dare i say that the boshelvik and i first bonded way back when over our mutual love of brunch (although it may still be a point of contention that he prefers pancakes to waffles). anyhoo, you can imagine that we were very pleased with this spread.

after breakfast we waited for our car and took a short stroll aroung the grounds of our hotel. even though the hotel wasn't in an area known for natural beauty (ie next to the airport), it really was very pretty. there were paths and trees and little benches and exotic flowers. very nice place to wait for your rental car people to pick you up.

by 9 or so we get in our trusty SUV (with GPS) aaaaand ... we're off!

aaaaaaand ... we're lost! turns out that costa ricans don't believe in road signs. anywhere. no road signs. why label your roads? i guess if you don't already know how to get where you're going you probably don't want it enough and therefore are not worthy of being shown the way. but after driving in circles for a little while our handy little GPS system finally kicked in and got us onto the panamerican highway. it was about this time that the bolshevik remarked that once we got on the "real highway" we would probably make excellent time. and then i informed him that this small two-lane highway was actually the biggest road in costa rica. and that is when the GPS system chimed in with it's lovely automaton faux british accent, "in .2 ... miles ... turn ... onto ... unpaved road." turns out almost every road in costa rica is named "unpaved road."

so we are having a fine time getting jostled up and down as we drive over huge potholes on our unpaved rocky muddy costa rica road. we pass beautiful sights and hop out of the car to take pictures now and again. it's kind of like driving some adventure video game, where you have to keep both hands gripped tightly to the wheel while you get bounced around. after a while we get the hang out of it, and start playing a car game that our friends the Confined Nomads taught us. so we're having a fine time, no? it's a costa rica driving adventure, right?

suddenly, with no warning from our GPS system we approach a small bridge that is very obviously "out," and i don't mean that it's gay. it has two huge piles of rubble blocking the entrance, and it is quite apparent that we are not supposed to drive on it. then off to the side is a steep gravel ramp of sorts that leads to a small river. it is at this point that the bolshevik remembers reading something about how in costa rica sometimes you have to drive through rivers. and lo and behold as we are wondering whether or not to drive through this river, a little subaru outback comes zipping past us, through the river and onto the other side of the road. so we decide to go for it, thanking our lucky stars that we upgraded from our compact car.

as we are bravely traversing a river in our SUV, we notice that those big metal things that hold up bridges (columns? i-beams?) are no longer attached to the bridge beside us. they're just hanging out in the water, leaning against some rocks, while the bridge above it is supported by nothing. glad we didn't try to cross that one.

it takes us several hours but we finally make it to santa elena. during our car trip i tried to think of some phrases i could use on a pharmacist so that he or she might take pity on me and give me some cortisone. since i have no idea how to say "hivey" in spanish, i settle on soy allergica a los todos el mundo. necessita prednisone.

anyhoo, we walk around santa elena a bit, get some helado, and that is when the bolshvik spots a pharmacy. so i go in and try to give it my best shot. there's a young woman sitting behind the counter sucking on a lollipop while reading a magazine. i quickly realize that this will be easier than i thought. i don't even give my sad sad allergic story. instead, i merely say necessita prednisone. then, get this, she stands up and grabs a box with the words "prednisone 5 mg" and says "esto?" and my dear blog readers, without a prescription and without any explanation of my medical woes, i am sold 50 mg of prednisone for the bargain price of $3. i heart costa rica.

as it is too late in the day to start any true adventures, we make a reservation for a canopy tour (more info on that later) for the following day. then we go to the ranario, frog pond, where we see all these cool tropical frogs. turns out the boslshevik loves frogs. who knew? then we get back into our SUV for the oncoming adventure of finding our hotel.

the navigation system gets us a bit turned around and we wind up leaving and returning to santa elena several times. i believe it was the third time that i helpfully pointed out, "there's the ranario again," (much in the style of clark griswald in european vacation when he keeps saying "look kids, big ben!" fyi: there is no traffic circle by big ben). and that dear blog readers is when the bolshevik and i got into our first fight. but we got over it fairly quickly.

on the drive further up the mountain to our hotel we are suddenly enshrouded in mist. turns out the monteverde cloud forest is not just a clever name. it is seriously cloudy up there. we drive down a long private road, boucing around for several miles, and when we are truly in the middle of nowhere we see a cluster of green cabins on a hillside. we assume that they are overlooking a beautiful view of mountains and valleys. but due to massive fog we can't actually see past the cabins.

so we are given our very own huge cabin (this thing could easily sleep 4-5 people), with a wood burning stove and candles for "lights out." turns out this place is run on generated electricty, and the power is shut off every night at 10 pm.

we grab a quite bite to eat in the main cabin, which kind of looks like a tropical ski lodge, and then head back down the mountain for our night time rainforest tour. when we get to our SUV, a small monsoon has begun and the fog is so thick we can barely see 5 feet in front of us. oh but my courageous bolshevik drove us down the mountain safely.

after our tour (in which we got rained on a lot and we saw a tarantula), i drive us back up the mountain through the fog and rain to our hotel. they don't call it the rain forest for nothing. and apparently it rains outside the forest as well. when we get there it is completely dark, even the little light posts on the pathways between the cabins have been turned off. since we don't have a flashlight, we wind up using our navigation system as a light source, trying to shine it on the pathway. the bolshevik and i run up and down several different pathways getting soaked in the rain trying to find our cabin.

after running up to numberous cabins, we finally correctly identify and enter our cabin. we putter around in the dark for a while, lighting candles and attempting to start a fire. why didn't i pay more attention when the men in my family were making fires all through my childhood? drenched to the bone, the bolshevik and i cuddle in front of the pathetic fire i build ... thus ending another day of costa rican adventures.

to be continued ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

costa rica adventures: day one in which shit hits the fan

ok blog readers, let's begin at the beginning. day one. our flight was scheduled to leave at 8 am, and as a punctual person i tow the line and always follow the rule regarding arriving at the airport 2 hours early for international flights. the bolshevik does not believe in this rule. he thinks it's bullshit. but as i was the one booking our cab to newark, i was the one who got to call the shots. the shots being that we arrived at the airport at 5:30 am. okay, so that's a little too early, but better early than late! anyway, my beloved bolshevik was very good humored about the whole thing and proceeded to lightheartedly poke fun at me as we waited in line to check in. of course, that was before we made it to the counter and i was told i was not allowed on the plane.

say what?!

that's right. the woman at the continental airlines counter told me i was not allowed on the plane. you are probably asking yourselves, "but why, miss dewey decimal? surely you are an upstanding citizen who should be allowed on commercial aircrafts?" well, i would tend to agree with you (except for the time i shouted out "we're all going to die" in a particularly scary bit of turbulence. but in my defense it really was some scary turbulence. and that was years ago. pre-9/11).

anyway, the reason i was not allowed on the plane is because my passport is expiring soon. now of course i checked my passport expiration date before i left, and it doesn't expire until the end of the month. so i deduced that since it wasn't expired at the time that i was leaving, nor would it be expired by the time i returned, then i was okay. but apparently, having your passport be close to expiring is just as good as having it actually be expired. this leads me to wonder what the point is of even having an expiration date at all if your passport can be considered "invalid" before it has actually expired. and according to the lovely staff at continental airlines this is information i should have looked up on my own. i should have wondered if travelling with a passport that wasn't actually expired would be a problem. oh yeah, that seems so likely.

so the arguments went something like this:
continental airlines staff: well, it is up to the traveler to make sure all their documents are valid.
me: but it is valid! it doesn't expire until the end of the month!
continental airlines staff: it is the traveler's responsibility to make sure that their documents are valid in regards to the country they are travelling to.
me: but why would i even think that my non-expired passport may be a problem?
continental airlines staff: it's the traveler's responsibility ....
and so on and so on.

so then the continental woman started printing out the bolshevik a boarding pass! like the bolshevik would just go to costa rica without me! i believe i shouted something like, "he's not going to costa rica without me!" to which the bolshevik nodded in agreement, and then she put the bolshevik on a standby flight for 5 pm that day. but she refused to put me on a stand-by flight, saying that she couldn't because my passport is "expired." then we proceeded to get into the above-mentioned argument all over again.

fast forward to 7:00 am when the bolshevik and i took a cab from newark airport to the passport agency in downtown manhattan. i got some passport pictures taken at a bodega next door (seriously, is there anything you can't get at a bodega?) then the woman at the passport agency told me that i cannot get an "emergency passport" unless i have proof of my intent to travel (and my ticket for a plane that left newark 5 minutes prior to this conversation was not proof enough). so we went through the back and forth of how i can't get on a flight roster without a passport, and i can't get a passport until i'm on a flight roster. grrrrrr.

but finally after a call to continental, i got some very helpful person to officially put me and the bolshevik on the standby flight and she promised to email me the flight info asap. back to the bodega where, for a small fee, i was able to check my email and then print out my travel itinerary. seriously, i heart bodegas.

i was told i could return at noon for my shiny new passport, so the bolshevik and i tried to kill some time in the big bad city. did i mention it was cold and rainy that day? did i mention that we were dressed like two people who were only lightly layered because they assumed they'd be on a plane to costa rica? anyway, the bolshevik and i had a very nice breakfast, then did some shopping at macys. of course everywhere we went people assumed that we were tourists, as we had our luggage in tow. "oh, are you visiting new york? where are you from?" they'd ask. "no," we'd answer sadly, "we're from brooklyn ... it's a long story."

by 1 pm i had my passport in hand, but we still had several hours to kill before our flight. running out of things to do, we decided to catch a movie. it was while we were in the movie theater that i realized my ankle was getting really hivey. now, i had been hive free for a few weeks, but i think the stress of the morning's ordeal had brought them back out again. by the time we got to the airport my whole ankle was swollen. and it was around this time that i realized i only had enough cortisone for the length of my trip. no extra cortisone for this kind of emergency. what was i thinking? i mean, growing up my mom had a whole pharmacy of prescription drugs in her purse at all times. why hadn't i been more prepared?

we made our 5 pm flight, and by the time we landed in costa rica it was about 11 pm and we were completely exhausted. i hobbled behind the bolshevik with my swollen hivey ankle, and as we made our way to the car rental counter, i cursed myself silently for having ruined our vacation. we lost a day because of me, and it looked as though i'd be all hivey and annoying. why would someone as awesome as the bolshevik want to hang around with me? obviously, i am nothing but problems.

the car rental guys explained to us that the area we were going to, santa elena, was several hours drive and that the roads there are really bad and there was a bridge out and pretty much we would be crazy to attempt going there that night. they also told us that it would be completely impossible for us to drive to santa elena in the compact car that we reserved. to sum up, if we wanted to make it to santa elena alive we'd need an SUV and we'd need to drive said SUV the following morning. so we agree that we would upgrade to an SUV, and we even decided to pay an extra $8/day for a GPS.

then (this is the awesome part) they offered to drive us to a hotel nearby and offered to pick us up after breakfast, and rent us the SUV then (thus saving us one whole day of car rental fees). how nice is that? so they drive us (for free) to a cheap but clean hotel nearby, telling us they will pick us up at 8 am (for free) after we've had our complimentary breakfast.

so we're driven down all these windy rocky streets with small one-level houses with roofs made of corrugated metal, and we approach these big doors that look like they hide the operational headquarters of a drug cartel behind them. but when they opened up and we were let inside, we saw a lovely tropical garden and a small brightly colored hotel.

once in our room i soaked my hivey ankle in cold water (just an aside: the showers in costa rica are like 4 times the size of showers in the US. several people could have soaked their hivey ankles in this shower and had plenty of room), and i decided to take my entire stash of cortisone in hopes of ridding myself of hives through a drastic pharmaceutical counter attack.

and finally, after about 19 hours of travel mishaps, we fell asleep in our first cost rican hotel room.

... to be continued ...


senorita dewey decimal tiene gusto de leer in costa rica

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

is it chivalry, sexism, or are you just trying to get into my pants?

this morning i was SUPER early so i decided to stop at this new gas station in the hood where they are fancy enough to have proper tea and coffee (they even have breads and muffins! no way!). and while i was there, since i had so much time, i figured i'd buy more windshield wiper fluid. my windshield is dirty and i ran out of fluid ages ago. anyway, as i walked to my car fluid in hand i wondered to myself how long it would take before a man interrupted me, assuming that i am unable to fill my car with cleaning fluid and that he needs to come to my rescue. now, i am quite clueless when it comes to automobiles, or the horseless carriages as the kids are calling them nowadays. but i know how to do a few things:
1. i know how to pump my own gas
2. i know how to add oil, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant
3. i think i might be able to change a tire after seeing my friend mike taco do it
4. and one time i even installed a new car battery ... all by myself!
anyway, i have noticed that the moment i step towards the hood of my car men will swarm around and try to "help" me. why? do they assume that i cannot help myself due to me being a woman? are they just trying to be polite? or are they trying to look for an "in" with me? who knows. i don't know, maybe this stems from my desire not to talk to people i don't know while i am going about my business.
but as soon as i popped the hood and was fiddling with that bar that props it open, lo and behold a male passerby asked me if i needed help. did i look like i needed help? i mean, it wasn't like i was fumbling around, getting myself all covered in oil while wondering which end of the jumper cables go where (jumper cables are not even involved in adding wiper fluid! see how knowledgeable i am!). anyway, i knew what i was doing. and then there was the added insult that since we are in the big bad city, most passersby are not even drivers! what does this man know about cars?! he is most likely a pedestrian who has never owned a car in his life. i politely told him i was fine. i proceeded to add the wiper fluid and go on my merry way, spritzing my windshield happily as i drove off into the sunset.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

apparently, i am also thankful for pants

you may have noticed that i have not spoken about svelteness lately. that is because svelteness is at an all time low (weight gain being at an all time high). you may be wondering to yourselves how this could possibly be so. "how could this poissibly be so, miss dewey d?" is how your wondering probably sounds in your head. "with all your punking rope and semi-reasonable eating habits? how could this be?" well, i'll tell you ... i blame the hives.

that's right, the hives! you see, i stopped mentioning the hives. not because they have gone away, but because they are so god damned annoying i can't even stand to discuss them. but i am on some super powerful meds to keep the hives at bay, but these super powerful meds also seem to keep the svelteness at bay as well. ... oh, long lost svelteness, how you have foresaken me!

anyway, this lack of svelteness has created a bit of a problem when it comes to the issue of pants. this issue being that i can no longer fit into my tight jeans (which as a resident of billyburg is a serious problem. i am lucky i have not been ejected from The Paradise in some sort of biblical fashion).

i have implemented a new plan which i call "shock and exercise" in which i will shock my body with intense exercise in hopes of tricking it into losing weight. i am proud to say that i have been going to the gym every other day for two weeks now!

now, if you've ever had to cram your non-svelte self into a pair of tight jeans which no longer fit you, you will know that it's not a pretty sight. and it doesn't do much for the self esteem. not at all. so i broke down and bought a pair of my favorite jeans on ebay (citizens for humanity straight leg "avedon" jeans. love them. maybe one day i will tell you the story of how i contacted citizens of humanity regarding my old fave pair, which are actually limited edition and i can only assume are priceless in value).

ANYWAY, the jeans arrived yesterday and it was SO nice to put them on and feel what it feels like to have a pair of jeans not cut off the circulation to your legs. and even though this pair is a whole TWO INCHES bigger in the waist than my beloved limited edition pair, these look so much more flattering as they actually fit the current state of my body. and of course they are still "tight fitting" (but in a comfortable way) so i am not at risk of expulsion from the 'burg. phew. what a relief.

so last night at around midnight was my first opportunity to try on these new jeans, and of course i was so filled with excitement that i felt i had to tell the bolshevik about them asap. can you believe that he is not interested in discussing the crucial topic of jeans at 12:03 on a school night? what gives?! he said something about sleep and tiredness. whatevs.

and that dear blog readers is why i had to bore you with this tale. because i know you guys will be happy for me and my new jeans which make me feel a little less unsvelte (as long as i don't look at the size tag).

turkey see, turkey do

so here are some examples of the turkeys we made. on each of the feathers we wrote something we are thankful for. on the left is the turkey made by kid who hates hoboes. he is thankful for the five sense, for jobs, for his life, for poems, and for his school. mine is at right. i am thankful for my friends and family, for the people who love me, for my home, and for my education (i figured i'd throw that in there for the kids)

you may notice that we have some new fancy googley eyes! (kid who hates hoboes made use of our "eyelid" googley eyes) oh how i heart googley eyes.