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A Nasty Little Parasite – Parents Take Care!

February 1st, 2009

slugI did a fair amount of work a couple of years ago when researching the various illnesses and  health issues common to Costa Rica.  I thought I had a pretty good handle on it… then some nice lady sent me an email about Chagas Disease… so I checked that out and added it.  Well I guess Chagas was not the end because today, I will introduce you to Angiostrongylus costaricensis, a nasty little parasite that has made sick and sadly killed some very young children. Of the 42 cases treated since 2003, 16 were girls and 26 were boys under the age of 14 years. At serious risk are the youngest… under nine years old.

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Hooked into Costa Rica

November 26th, 2007

The end of the school year in Costa Rica is the beginning of December. Thus cometh November, we parents bringeth thy children all over the place. We’ve got to be everyplace at once….end of the year ballet receiptal;several theater productions; gymanstic’s holiday show; tests; grades; first communions, graduations, and on and on it goes.

I pack snacks; drive; wait; drive; empty snack packs and repeat.

My kids are exhausted, and so am I. I wonder if all this running around amounts to anything other than bags under our eyes. The problem is the hook. What’s the hook?

I laugh at the plays. I cry at the ballet performance. I’m a sucker for anyone, or anything, giving it “their all.” My eyes well up the moment I see the effort; the moment performers – ballerina, thespians, dolphins, volleyball players – take to the stage, field, or course.

It’s like that great shot in golf. The entire game may suck, but then on that one hole, you step up and whack….it’s a perfect shot…and you’re hooked. You return to play again despite it all.

When anybody gives it their best shot, reel me in because I’m hooked.

Trade-Offs

November 16th, 2007

Up until two months ago, my family and I were living in a contemporary three-story house on a beach in Southern California. We had every convenience available. We were only limited by our imaginations. Now, here we are in the jungle with electricity that goes out from time to time, severely pot-holed roads and surrounded by people whose lives and backgrounds could not be more different than our own.

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We have a new Contributor!

November 6th, 2007

Nora StraightPlease welcome Nora Straight who moved here from California with her husband and two sons aged 18 and 14. Half Chilean and half Mexican, it is no surprise she is Spanish fluent. She and her family live in Rio Seco which is about 15 minutes inland from Parrita, approximately 25 minutes north of Quepos.

Her bio indicates she likes Books, politics, cookbooks, travel, and knitting. It also indicates she likes chocolate. Having visited her Blog and seen her picture, it is clear that this is just nonsense. No serious chocolate lover could look like that. She probably doesn’t even sweat on the stairmaster either.

Welcome Nora! Now write something!

It takes so little to makes kids happy – even in Costa Rica.

October 17th, 2007

Addison loves the car. He’s the complete opposite of my daughter who usually threw up or threw a fit when she got strapped in. If Addison just gets a glimpse of our car, he starts scooting across the floor in delight. He stops occassionally to slap his hand on his knee and giggle in delight.

If I am running a little late or need just a second to gather keys, phone, money, bottle, diapers before we leave (for even the smallest of trips), I can safely put Addison in the car and he happily chats away while kicking his feet up and down and anticipating whatever journey we are going to take. If I am not taking Addison in the car, we have to sneak out the side door or he starts to cry when he sees the car pull away, which breaks everybody’s heart.

My daughter now loves the car, but once and awhile will throw up, just for old time’s sake. I’ve found one of the easiest ways to entertain the kids on a Saturday night is to load them up in the car, throw on the rain coats, and slurp down some Italian Ice at the cafe down the street (Costa Rica is growing up in gourmet!).

It just takes so little to please a kid, and me for that matter, most of all it is about feeling safe and knowing exploration is welcome; discovery is paramount; and raspberry ice a must.

Susan’s Got a New Name

October 10th, 2007

Did you remember Cheers? The bar where “everybody knew your name?”

I loved that show. No, I’d say it was almost religion. (I’m being satirical here.) I didn’t miss an episode. And, I felt like a regular when I placed myself on the couch to watch it every week. I was so sad to see it go, but I forged on.

When I arrived here nine years ago, Costa Rica was my Cheers. I worked for years to develop a neighborhood, “regulars,” a system, and a routine where I felt at home. Many began to know my name.

My show was cancelled. Like Frasier, Ted, and Carla, I found myself written out of the script I had written. In other words, in a matter of very short time, I became a single mother in a foreign country, and of course as many of you know, my son has Down Syndrome.

How did all this happen so fast? This is not as important of the new
life ahead of me.

So, I’ve developed a “spin-off.” There are a few new characters in my play, and a few old familiar faces. My name has changed, but really, I’m still the same. With a few changes to the script, the stories will continue. I’m staying in Costa Rica, and “belly-ing” up to the bar for the new and exciting episodes.

By the way, instead of Susan Carmichael, you can now call me Susan Lutz.

Thanks for tuning in.

We Rock in the Jungle

April 16th, 2007

Addison has discovered rock and roll. Coco got a CD from a birthday party of some oldies. Addison does not like to eat food with me, he prefers the good stuff, the mother’s milk. But, he’s also started a nasty habit of biting down. And, as one would imagine, this hurts.

To divert his attention from me, we turn on the rock and roll. Addison sits in front of the CD player and wiggles his hands in the air, claps, and scoots. Today, he figured how to turn up the volume.

So, Elvis and the Beach Boys live on – right on into the jungle.

Like Caterpillars?

April 4th, 2007

Occasionally, I get submissions from folks and if I think they would be of interest to my readers, I blog them.

This was submitted to me complete with a great photo by Ronna von Knorring, a transplant from Kansas who blogs here.

As a fair number of my readers seem to be very curious about the creepie crawlies who live here (no, I am NOT talking about those guys hanging around the bars in Jaco), I thought I’d publish her submission! Enjoy!

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Sand Dollars Bring in Gold

March 31st, 2007

The beach was calm; the waves subdued. It was easy to walk up to our ankles and knees in the water. More shells than usual were on shore and Coco was stuffing her bag with shiny finds. Then we came along a sand dollar. It was white and had a perfect imprint of the animal, which looked like a flower, in the middle. I only remember seeing a sandollar once in my life, and it was dipped in gold and I wore it as a necklace.

When we got back to our house, Coco told the nanny about our find. The nanny couldn’t believe our luck.

You are so lucky Coco! She said. My mother told me Continue reading »

You Want to Put a Chair on My Back?

February 13th, 2007

As I lay on the bed, careful not to move so I wouldn’t disrupt the eight needles sticking in my chest and legs, my acupuncturist played his flute for the crowd in the waiting room. It had been awhile since I’d been pinned, but with my immune system a wreck and cysts growing on the back of my neck, I decided I better get re-adjusted.

The doctor’s flute playing has improved. The first time he played for me, I was visiting him Continue reading »

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