A Note About the Photos…

I moved the blog from Typepad (hallelujah) to WordPress. T*pad makes it impossible to export photos. You will see broken picture links where the photos used to be. They are safe in a file ready to go into the book… which will be out one day soon.

Till then, please enjoy a vicarious romp through Costa Rica with us. Start here: First Costa Rica post with a broad. Then join me at and the U.S. adventure.

May 2011 bring many blessings to us all… and continued pura vida!

Love, Saratica

From: A Broad In Costa Rica

Logo To: Fifty To Life

Dear Readers, I'm now blogging at Please join me over there. Today's post is called Me and My Coma. Fascinating.

I'll be moving these abroad posts over to that blog, poco a poco, so everything will be in one place. Once that's done, this name will point there. Hopefully, one day, I'll be a broad in sunny Costa Rica again, instead of a broad roaming Kentucky's frozen tundra. Still the same broad, just colder. I said COLDER, not older.

I just looked at my handy Ashley's Grain, Feed and Seeds thermometer and it's 58°. That's very close to freezing. Certainly closer than we've been in over 30 years. I'm ordering fleece and wool clothing today.

NOTE TO RSS READERS: If you are an RSS reader, meaning you see new posts on your Google homepage or Bloglines or on whichever reader you use (as opposed to an email subscriber), you'll have to unsubscribe from ABroad and re-subscribe to Sorry. I tried to move the names over, but no can do. Google and Feedburner keeping it close to the chest.

Pura vida! Send a little sunshine my way!!!

The Eagles Have Landed

DSCN2906 After having flown hither and yon for the entire summer, Hal and the boys and I are finally all in one place again: Kentucky. Where it looks like we'll stay. At least, that's the plan today. Or, it was an hour ago.

The original plan, waaaay back in June, when it became clear we were moving from Costa Rica, was to land rat cheer (right here in KY-speak). Then, end of September, we'd join Peggy and Brian on their move to Houston. After helping them unpack, we'd explore the Houston/Austin area, with the focus on Austin, see if that would be the permanent place. "Permanent" until I graduate from acupuncture college, at least. Then, who knows? Does any other normal non-military family roam around like this?

But we can't do it. Can't drive to Houston. Can't pick it all up and live out of a car and a suitcase for two more weeks. Can't — even if we fell in love with TX — dredge up what it takes to move our entire household again right now. Even though it's only suitcases, laptops and guitars. We are too tired and Kentucky is too beautiful. We know too many people here (starting with my entire family). We found a beautiful, old ancient, furnished, affordable house. We can have chickens and bees in our backyard. Then, yesterday, we stumbled into an awesome Whole Foods Market with incredible homemade sausage, nitrate/hormone/antibiotic free… it all fits together so nicely here. Did I mention we are too tired to move again?

The only menace in KY is snow. Perhaps "menace" is too strong a word. But it's only mid-September, the temperature was 60°C this morning and I was FREEZING. My nose was like ice. How will I survive a windchill of… anything? I'm trying to look on the bright side (honest): we only have to do snow twice. My third year of school, I'll have to move to Gainesville for the year. Hopefully, Florida will still be warm then.

Hmmm. I gotta say, now that it's all down in print, I'm thinking maybe we should dredge up whatever it takes and investigate Austin. Hate to think I'm missing out on something. The biggest downside to moving from here, where things are quasi-familiar, to moving to an entirely new area — besides being too freaking tired to think about it — is that we don't know anything about the town or anybody in it. It would be starting over from scratch. So, no. Forget Austin.

But, then again, we did it in Costa Rica. I know we'll meet people in theatre and C4L-ers and 12 Steppers right away. And Peggy and Brian will only be 2.5 hours away. And they lived in TX for fourteen years before moving to Key West. "So," I'm reasoning, "how hard could it be, really?"

See, this is how my mind works. Totally chaotic. Completely Libra: the pendulum of Justice swings back and forth, back and forth, where she stops, nobody knows. How anything gets done around here is beyond me. Literally.

So, the eagles have landed in KY. For right now. As my mind changes, I'll keep you posted. Yeah, going to be a lot of blogging going on.

Which brings me around to this: it looks like this is my last post at The blog plan, back when I was making plans, was to continue "A Broad in Costa Rica" as "A Broad in the USA"; I even reserved the name. But, it didn’t seem right, somehow, to squeeze a round, fluffy broad into a square, unforgiving hole. Two completely different lifestyles, latitudes, foci.

And it doesn't seem fair to Costa Rica, really. Forcing a Costa Rica blog to become a USA blog? Yuck. Where Costa Rica and the adventure of living there was ripe for blog posts — breathtaking, frustrating, hilarious — the USA has little ripe. Overripe, maybe. Breathtaking and frustrating, to be sure. But there is so little fun or funny about the USA today, I’d probably have to make stuff up to entertain us all. Which I have never done here. (Now you're wondering, right?)

I hope you'll join me at, my USA blog. I'm writing about living in the U.S., traditional food, food politics, politics, chickens and keeping the second fifty as interesting and alive as the first. If you are on the mailing list here, I will add you over there. If Fifty doesn't click with you, you can unsubscribe at any time with just a click. I'll never know, I don't follow who unsubscribes. I just figure you are nuts. Ok, kidding!

Thank you for reading what I've written so far, encouraging me on our adventures in Costa Rica. Thank you for keeping me alive while I was in the hospital. I really appreciate it. And please stay aboard with a broad at FiftyToLife. I will miss you if you go. I promise never to be boring. Or, at least, hardly ever.

Vaya con dios, mis amigos. Mas por exponer… prontitico!

Love, Saratica

“Moving To Costa Rica”

Moving to costa rica by Hal O'Boyle

Excellent book of essays on moving to Costa Rica for less than $13! Get your copy here. (Hal can be a very funny guy!!!)

What Is It With The Roads Here?

In the USA, I mean. No potholes, no gravel, no pavement dropping off the side down the mountain. No missing manhole covers. No ditches. No roads (so far) that go from pavement to gravel to rutted riverbed to pavement to riverbed to grassy knoll… well, you get the picture.

No terrified pedestrians waiting to cross the street… in fact, U.S. pedestrians are brazen. Yeah, they step right off the curb and cross anytime. Sometimes without looking!!!!

No horns. I miss horns.

And drivers here are so coddled: streets are named here AND they have signs with their names right on them at every corner, some with the street numbers included so you know about where you are all the time. It’s so cluttered looking. I mean, can’t anyone remember what road they are on for more than three blocks???

There are one way signs on all the one way streets so you don’t get to play the guessing game to see if a street is one way or not. In Costa Rica, you have to approach a corner slowly, wondering if you can turn right or left, needing to see which way the cars are driving or parked on that street, since there is no other indication. Correction: sometimes there is an arrow painted on the road. Often wrong, because city elders change the direction at some point in time but not the arrow. Waste of paint.

Drivers let you in here. That is so co-dependent. What, they need to be liked?

U.S. drivers stop for red lights and stop signs. That is interesting. They don’t stop in the middle of the road to run in a store for a minute. It’s all so… boring here.

I miss Costa Rica and I’m not even unpacked yet.

Never Again

Famous last words, but I mean it this time. There isn't a bone in my body that doesn't ache. When I lay down, omg, it is heaven of the sort you only dream about.

Our current net worthWe have nine bags and three laptops Hal and I: pretty much our net worth. To add a level of fun you can't get just anywhere, I've lost my passport. Sweet. Because, you know, I'm really in the mood for a challenge.

First thing in the am, Hal is going to the airport with 7 bags and I'm going to the U.S. Embassy with two. Supposedly, I can get an emergency passport in time to catch the flight. Ojalá, that would so so good. But, you know, I will live either way.

the second-to-last supper If I don't get it in time, it will be a good excuse to camp out at Barbara's house, one of my amigas nuevas de Costa Rica. She was at the Second-to-Last Supper: she's the one waving in the back.

Going clockwise around the table from 7pm is Ginnee, Phil, Sam, Hal, Barbara, Steve, Annie and Jorge. Good company, good soup, excellent salad, homemade bread, iced tea and wine. Perfect meal.

DSC_0029 Ginnee and Phil spent two nights with us, left this morning with two truck loads of excellent crap. They bought some beds, tables, y misc otras cosas [other things]. I gave them all the kitchen stuff and the linens, figuring I'll get to visit my crap when we return next year, at least for a day. What I didn't take into account is packing all that stuff up. Granted it was "free" but have you ever packed up a kitchen? Free, my butt. I bet they were wishing they'd paid top dollar for it all and had it packed when they got here!!!

They worked like slaves packing everything up in boxes and towels so none of it would break on the way home. (Phil does not throw things in a box: he packs meticulously.) They basically moved me out of that house in two days. I am forever grateful and hope to return the favor. Actually, no, I never want to help them move from where they are. They gotta perfect forever spot, those two.

- nye 2008 Like Lisa and Tom who just took us to the absolutely-this-is-it Last Supper at Casona de Laly. Lisa and Tom are theatre buds and another awesome option for a last minute sleepover… They have settled beautifully in a house up the hill from me. The best place on the planet to watch Costa Rica's NYE every-man-woman-child-dog-and-cow-for-himself fireworks display.

But, right now, it's 8:15: bedtime. I need to get up by 4 so I can rout through the bags of trash in the garage and see if I can find my *&@($* pasaporte.

Maybe I'll stare at the view for a minute or two first. I'm not too sad unless I'm actually hugging someone for the last time for at least a year, then I cry. Otherwise, we are both numb, too tired to feel. This is a blessing. More to be revealed when I land on my alternate universe (hopefully) mañana.

Pura vida, paz y abrazos, Saratica

UPDATE: It's 11:30am, I am at the airport, ready to board. Got to the embassy at 7am, got to the airport at 9am with my emergency passport! Checked all those bags, plenty of time for free coffee and chocolates at the Café Britt store… hasta la vista, mis amigos!

Leaving The Life

Me and raquelMoving from Costa Rica is way harder than I thought it would be. I have completely misjudged how attached I am to our lives here, to the Costa Rican people, to my new friends. In the past couple of days, in particular, I realize I have made friends here in less than five years who are as close to me as the friends I left behind in Key West after 30 years there. Just as loving, just as true.

The girlsExpats may be odd, but birds of a feather and all that. I fit right in. And I have noticed, as I've gone back to Key West to visit over the years, that I left behind few friends. Many, many acquaintances, but few real friends. Here, I had a notion that, because we didn't have a huge pool of potential friends from which to draw, that our new friends became friends out of necessity. Maybe that was true at first, but it hardly matters now. I am going to miss my friends here A LOT. Like:

Learning spanish with jorge Jorge. He taught the boys (all of 'em) Spanish, coming to our house three mornings a week for a year. And he has remained our friend. In fact, he introduced us to Marvin. Marvin, Hal's English student who brought over his friend, Dr. Mora, when I was bedridden. Dr. Mora literally saved my life. That's a good friend.

Rosario and meAnd Rosario. I met Rosario through her husband, Leo, who I met through other friends. Rosario and I fit together, a matched set. When I was in the hospital, Rosario came every single day to see me. She would rush in, all energy and smiles, squeeze my hand and tell me how much God loves me, how fabulous I am, how I was going to get better and better, and, in fact, how much better I looked since yesterday.

She had a huge prayer chain chanting my name night and day. She called her friend at the American Embassy and insisted I was a national treasure and that the staff at San Juan de Dios, the Caja hospital, had better be informed that if anything bad happened to me, it would be an International Incident. No kidding. Rosario is a force to be reckoned with.

She is also a breast cancer survivor. Since I was in the hospital, she and I have an even deeper connection. Nothing like almost dying of something to forge a bond with another person who's walked in those shoes. We talked the other day about how our lives had changed. Not that I'd wish it on someone, but I am grateful. I am immensely grateful to have Rosario in my life.

8 July lunch brujas 2 Las Brujos [BREW-hose, as in beer drinking 'ho's.] There are nine or 10 regular mujeres increíbles [incredible women] who have lunch together every Thursday, usually at Robin's but occasionally at each other's homes, or at other local restaurants, like La Casona de Laly. 8 July lunch brujas Back when I had hair.

My dinner date This is a very good friend with whom we had dinner the other night, in the very same restaurant, in fact. No, I'm not telling who, and, yes, he let me fondle his weapon. In front of Hal.

Do I know how to make friends, or what?

Last week, we had lunch with another Jorge and his wife Annie at their house. They grow their own chickens and rabbits for food and eggs, have a huge garden and a gigantic tilapia pond. Now, two tilapia ponds since we gave them ours. (Seemed fitting since they gave us our first tilapia!) As we were leaving the other day, I remembered that Annie and Jorge were the first people to invite us to their house for lunch when we arrived four years ago…

IMG_1288 Then there are the friends we met via the blog: the Badgetts who have spent every Christmas with us and a few summers. They are our family now–heck, they even have their own blog category! And to think we would never have met them except for moving to Costa Rica. Que bendición!

Hannah and malika And Robbie and family: Rick, Hannah (where's your blog, Hannah?), Bekah and her brood, Micah (buy Micah's book of poetry here). There are three more of Rick and Robbie's kids out there in the world… need their blog addresses, lol! Rick is going to acupuncture school, too. Maybe we'll share a house in Austin… the Neumanns are more new friends who will be part of my life forever. Robbie almost died a few years ago. She has helped me a lot to get over the PTSD. Good friend.

My fellow bloggers, Jen and family and Tica Teri and Dan in Buenos Aires. Good reading, good people. I like bloggers.

Ginnee and Phil, who I wish would blog more, are here now to spend the night, along with Sam. Jorge and Annie and Barbara and Steve will be here shortly to join us for the last supper (last because the fridge leaves tomorrow). Mike and Laura and Lisa and Tom might stop by. The house is pretty empty, our valuable possessions reduced to a table top. There are still about 300 books downstairs, but a bookstore owner is coming tomorrow to cart those away.

The yard selling went pretty well. I told everyone "Don't be cheap. I almost died, you know." That seemed to quiet the wheeler dealers, although I was still amazed by the gringos who tried to negotiate a better price on ten $1 items.

The car and scooters are gone, the chickens are gone, the tilapia are gone, the dog is gone, the boys are gone, the last of the furniture and appliances will be gone by tomorrow noon. Then Hal and I have to pack up what we are bringing back to the states and box up what we are storing at Jorge's house. Then we are gone.

Sunset view Isn't it funny: we arrived January 2006 with 16 bags and four laptops, and are leaving with pretty much the same. Only, we are different, changed by the life we were blessed with in Costa Rica. I'm looking out over my view, burning it into my brain. It's been an excellent four and a half years. I'm not going to say "we'll definitely be back" because my life seems to be the perfect example of how God laughs when you make plans. But wherever we land, whatever we do, we have the magic of pura vida in our souls. Que bendición.

Sunday morning walk Honestly, living outside your country of origin is an adventure everyone should get to have, even if only for a year. The fact that we got to do it in Costa Rica for almost five is proof that God loves us.

Books & Stuff For Sale (Do books multiply in the dark?)

Books 2Sooooo much stuff. Not nearly as much stuff as we had to get rid of when we moved from Key West, thank goodness. Only because we weren’t ever rich enough here to load up. But, right now, it’s looking like a lot. Here’s all the current stuff: This takes you to flickr. If you watch the slideshow (link upper right), be sure to click “Show Info” so you see details and prices.

Books 1There are at least 1,000 books for sale… good books, too. Sold 25 today to someone I just met. I love the feel, the smell of a book. Who doesn’t, right? But that’s it: I’m buying a Kindle. No more lugging around/storing books. I’m done. At least until I am in my last home and have 10+ years left to live there.

Like that’s ever going to happen.

Books 6Here’s the other thing. Winston has a new family. Yeah, let that one sink in. Why? Because our life is so freaking uncertain right now. This is a decision I left totally up to the universe because I didn’t know how to make the right choice. Moving to the states with Winston would be really hard. For starters, I recently read that shmushed-nose dogs frequently die in cargo, more than any other type of dog. We weren’t going to risk that, so my plan was to fly with him as a therapy dog. God knows I need one. But that charade would have added immeasurable stress to what will already be quite a day.

Books 3 Then, moving around the states with him would add a complication that we–I’m sorry to sound so heartless–simply can’t afford right now. It’s all complicated enough. I didn’t want to end up wishing I didn’t have a dog. Especially such a loving and gentle dog. So…

I mentioned on Costa Rica Living that if we found the perfect Costa Rican home for Winston, we would welcome that.

Books 4 Well, a guy wrote me right away who happens to be related to Lori, the boys’ first homeschool teacher in Key West! [Hear Twilight Zone theme song here.] Randy’s wife’s sister’s family just lost their bulldog and were looking for another. They have two girls, 10 and 15, a very large yard, live across the valley in Heredia in a similar climate… It sounded too perfect to be true. Which I sorta hoped it was.

“Uh oh, this might really happen,” I thought. Bene and Eugenia [a-oo-HEN-ee-ah] came over, met Winston, and it was love at first sight. Of course! He’s an awesome dog.

Books 5And, honestly, they are an awesome family. Once Winston’s new mom started petting him, he wouldn’t come to me! Three years ago, when Winston came to our house, he was scared and reluctant. Today, when his new mom opened the truck door to take him to their house, he couldn’t wait to get in! So there. Fate. A big fat sad moment in our lives, but definitely the right thing.

Randy wrote me this a few minutes ago:
“We just came from Bene’s house.
Frond artWow, Winston is loving it. What a beautiful dog. He is playing with the girls and having a great time. You must really love him. If we didn’t already have four ourselves, my daughter would have been all over him. I’m sure that was difficult giving him up, but he sure seemed to be loving the attention.”

Nice, yeah? That is really music to our ears. Sam is going to visit after we leave and send reports. And Randy said we would have pictures in the next couple of days. Look for them here!

In the meantime, would you like to buy some really nice Frond Art? Fifty bucks for both. You heard me right: both. Such a deal! More like this…

Too Good Not To Share:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover – Homeland Edition
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

“How Are You Feeling?”

I've been getting that a lot lately, combined with seriously concerned looks, both in Kentucky and here in Costa Rica. I was wondering why until I happened to catch myself in the mirror last night. You know, just regular, without the posing. It was a little scary: the hair. No wonder people look at me like I might break! Here's what they see:

20 aug 2010 Scared yet? Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! That little bald spot in front is attractive, yes? I can't dye my hair because what's left will probably dissolve. It's all dry and stiff, un-tame-able and creepy feeling. You can't really see how thin it is here, but, trust me, what you see is all there is. Hal trimmed it when I got back… imagine this mess longer? Aaaiieeee.

I feel excellent now, back to normal except for periods of low energy. Remember when I said there's a whole layer of anxiety missing from my life? I'm not sure that it's just anxiety that's missing; I think some of it is the thyroid/adrenal low energy thing keeping me veeerrrrry calm. It's not bad, I don't have to lay down and take a vapor, just an occasional power nap. It's connected to the low temperature thing, which is great in hot weather: I have at least a whole degree on everyone else, so while they are all sweaty and gross, I remain cool and calm. Sickly looking, but cool.

I've decided not to take any drastic measures like going to see a doctor about my thyroid (some people never learn), and just give my body a chance to correct itself. A doctor will put me on drugs and there is time for that. But I have two theories:

1. The low temperature/thyroid, which causes low energy and hair loss, is my body's way of slowing me down so it can repair. Like Major Slow Down. But the bald spots all have peach fuzz on them and my head itches like crazy sometimes, so either I have another disease or the hair is growing back. I'm going with new hair and body repair.

2. The other thing is that all my systems got out of whack big-time what with antibiotics, induced comas with intense drugs (excellent drugs… so good, I'm afraid to find out what they were), very little water and no food for quite some time, then no nourishment when I finally did get food. What is it with hospitals and nutrition? "No nutritious food or drink, that will retard your healing. Nurses, be mean to all the patients, it will encourage them to get better."

Plus, it really did take almost two months before I started to feel normal. So three months of extreme physical and emotional stress. That's gonna take a toll.

I trust that my body will heal itself. These are remarkable machines carrying us on the journey, I'm very impressed with mine. I'm going to give it every opportunity to rejuvenate and do my best to stay out of its way. Ok, so moving is not very high on the restorative scale. However, I'm taking it one day at a time,
eating right and napping. If I have to throw out a bunch of excellent
crap, so be it. I am not going to stress over the little stuff.

I'm eating with particular attention to nourishing and healing my disgestive system, following Weston Price guidelines, using the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. My new goal is Vibrant Health. I've been healthy all my life and, although it doesn't look like it, I'm pretty healthy now. But I want Vibrant Health: to feel my best, to look my best. Not "pretty," which I realize has been my goal in the past because I took health for granted, but vibrantly, buzzingly, robustly healthy. If one's digestive system is not in the pink, nothing else can be. Heal that, we have a fighting chance.

I just read Performance Without Pain and it is my new bible, very inspiring. $11, a quick read, a bite-sized primer for WAPF living. Honestly, you won't regret the $11. And if you buy it via my link, I'll get about $.41 of that $11. Woohoo, I'll take it.

When I get settled, I'm also going to start doing Hot Yoga, using this DVD. Robbie, my Ayurvedic guide (and incredible massage therapist and instructor), says I'm a pitta and should avoid the hot stuff. But I love hot spicy food and, especially right now when I'm so cool, the hot yoga is just too appealing. Maybe it's the low temperature thing, but I wanna be HOT. We'll see… it's just a DVD, right? I mean, how much trouble could I possibly get into?

20 aug 2010 (5) But back to something more interesting, like how I look. Maybe I'll really shave my head and my husband and I can be one of those aging twin couples. Ok, maybe not. Honestly, I like a little hair. Better some than none… I swear my hair is more silver than it woulda been if I hadn't gotten sick. But, hey, this is what I said I wanted: silver hair. I can hardly complain now.

Or can I?