Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We got our furniture today! That is, we got a couch and loveseat :)

We have been "looking" for furniture almost since the day we moved in, in September - that's of 2009 :(. There were soooo many hurdles!

First, you have to find furniture stores - but how? The "yellow pages" in Costa Rica are not really very useful - there are not very many entries, and not many people use them. It's a vicious cycle. So, you ask around, and you keep your eyes open.

Then, you have to get to the stores - this is a bit difficult without a car. You have to have more exact directions, since you don't want to walk for miles in fruitless search of that "recommended" store that is "somewhere near the National Theatre" (hah!). I think our record was getting to 3 different stores in one day. The "other" record was walking for 15 blocks without finding that recommended store :-(.

Next, you have to separate out the wheat from the chaff (as always). We started out with one idea of what we wanted, and marched right through the spectrum of choices, clear to the other side! We knew comfort was important, but it turned out it was the single most important element for us - who knew? Everything else took a back seat. Fortunately, our apartment has large enough rooms that it can accommodate the big, fluffy stuff that have parts that stick out. I'm talking about overstuffed recliners...

Normally (that should probably be in quotes), this wouldn't take months and months, right? Well, lucky us (especially Rick), Rick twisted his ankle pretty badly in October, and so he was housebound for several months. We learned a looooong time ago not to make major household purchases without *both* of us being very involved. So, we put the whole furniture-shopping experience on hold. We did decide that we needed some rocking chairs, and knew that the leather and wood folding kind would work for us, so I went to Sarchi one day and got a couple. We were able to get back out looking for the serious furniture this past month. It took several more forays, but then - yesterday - we (yay!) found what we needed!

And they delivered it **TODAY!**

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tropical Chicken Lasagna

I enjoyed the Flor de Itabo omelet, so I decided to see what the flowers would be like in other things! I put some raw in a salad - good too! So, ambition struck :-)...

Tropical Chicken Lasagna

- 1/2 kg chicken breast
- sauce (see below)
- packet lasagna noodles
- 2 zucchini
- 2 cups raw Flor de Itabo (flowers only), rinsed
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 package ricotta cheese (if unavailable, mix 2 eggs w/ queso en polvo)
- 1/4 kg maduro cheese
- 1/4 kg palmito and/or tierno cheese
- cheese en polvo

1) Cook chicken in a little water, then tear into small bite-sized pieces
2) In a 9x13 inch pan:
- coat w/ a little oil (optional)
- add a thin layer of sauce
3) Layer w/ the following (I can usually only get in 2 layers):
- raw lasagna noodles
- sauce
- Flor de Itabo
- basil
- sliced zucchini
- cheese: ricotta, maduro, palmito, tierno
4) Cover w/ aluminum foil (I like to stick a toothpick in at either end to keep the foil from sticking to the lasagna)
5) Bake at 350F for 45 - 55 minutes
6) Remove foil, bake another 5-10 minutes to brown the top
7) Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then cut to serve

Serve w/ cheese en polvo, and any remaining sauce

Sauce - Cook and stir to thicken, about 5 minutes:
- 2 packets "Pollo de la Reina" white sauce mix
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp oil (optional)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Symphony at the National Theater

I am *definitely* going back! This morning, I went to the National Theater to see the symphony - when those first phrases of cello drifted up, I cried. I am trying to remember the last time I went to *any* symphony, and can't - but it has been at least 10 years.

On the program today: Schubert Symphony #8, Haydn Concerto for trumpet and orchestra, Proto A Carmen Fantasy for Trumpet and Orchestra, Mendelssohn Symphony Italiana.

Giuseppe Mega was the guest conductor, and he was very dynamic! He moved all over his dais, and I think I even heard a little stomp or two from his feet :).

The guest trumpeter was Jens Lindemann, a Canadian living in California. What a character! He came out for the Haydn wearing a sparkly electric-blue blazer, and preened (what else to call it?) for the audience. That was just a hint of what was to come. After the intermission, he wore bright red! What else should he have worn for Carmen? Fantastic trumpeting, preening, and - on top of all that - he got the orchestra to shout OLÉ on cue! THEN, he got the *audience* to do it! He mugged, walked around the stage while playing, and blew a "trumpet kiss" during the piece. And after that, he played an encore! He got his new friend Carlos, a bass fiddler, to come out from the orchestra, and together they played the jazz tune "Sugar Blues." What a treat :-D

Logistics: I caught the Escalante bus a bit after 9:35, got to the National Theater shortly after, bought my "cheap-seat" ticket for c3,000 (about $6), and was sitting in my place by 10:00. By about 10:20, the place was nearly full - just a few seats on the edges were unfilled. The symphony started a bit after 10:30, and was over at about 12:30. I know you can call or stop by for reservations (I didn't do this, but may in the future).

Next symphony: Friday, April 30 @ 8:00pm and Sunday, May 2 @ 10:30am - Berlioz Condemnation of Faust, Kodaly Harry Jones Suite, Faurè Requiem.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Flor de Itabo

Went to the Feria today, and finally decided to try the Flor de Itabo! I asked my usual "what is it, and how do you cook it?" and the fab lady said in soup or in an omelet - and only the flower parts, not the stems. Got home and googled for more; found this: Tico Food - Flor de Itaba Omelet

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sabana-Cementerio buses

It's kind of funny how complacent you can get about bus routes after a while. I was recently reminded of how anxious I was about getting from one side of San Jose to the other - we didn't do it except by taxi for the longest time! So, I posted the below information on a forum, and realized that it should be available for future use - thus, a blog post...

The Sabana-Cementerio buses go between La Sabana and the Caja (basically).

Ruta 1: starting on Paseo Colon, goes East to the West end of the pedestrian mall, then jags right then left to parallel it. Passes Parque Merced and the Alajuela bus terminal, goes all the way past the National Theatre to the CCSS (caja). Then it turns South, then back West along the South side of Clínica Bíblica. It turns slightly North to a small park by the Banco National by the CB, then continues West again towards ARCR, then back to Paseo Colon.

Ruta 2: starting at La Sabana park Gymnasium (SE corner), it goes East along Ave 10 (North of CB), then turns North to pass along the West side of the CCSS (caja). Then it jags right (to Ave 2, and the front of the caja), then left to go North, past the East end of the pedestrian mall (passing the San Pedro bus terminal - not a building, BTW). It then zig-zags back West, paralleling the pedestrian mall, passing *many* bus stops for destinations North and East of SJ, passing the tall Banco National and SJ Correo, Coca-Cola, Grecia and Puriscal bus terminals, then parallels Paseo Colon for a few blocks West of Hospital San Juan de Dios. Then it turns South, crossing PC, turns right, and passes ARCR, and back to La Sabana park.

Ruta 7 (estadio) is a much different route, with some overlaps - I have yet to ride it, but I understand it goes to the USA Embassy.


7 months, 1 week, and 2 days ago, Rick and I applied for permanent residency in Costa Rica. Today (!!!), Rick was notified that his was approved! He has actually been a "permanent resident" now for about a month :-) but the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly.

Our very first question after absorbing the good news was "ummm, what about Julie?" Well, it turns out that even though we applied "together," they are really two separate residency requests. So, the packets go to different immigration employees - one might be faster than the other, or have a smaller pile, or one might have taken a longer vacation... Bottom line, Rick could legally work here now, but I still can't (sob).

I believe (I am telling myself this, anyway) that since Rick's has been ok'd for a month, that mine is probably approved too - we just haven't been notified about it yet.

Next step - get an appointment for Rick's new cédula, libre de condición!