Mother Nature’s Riches

It is said that Christopher Columbus named Costa Rica based on his belief that it was a “Rich Coast” from his time and experiences with the land and the people upon anchoring here back in the early 1500’s. The visual, sensual, and interpersonal stimulation that he enjoyed during his time in this amazing country had clearly left a glowing mark on the veteran explorer. Although Columbus never discovered or obtained the abundance of gold and riches that he originally expected to extract from these hills (it didn’t “pan out” as well as Christopher may have liked it to), he was certainly on to something special. According to Legend, the locations of the most abundant and profitable gold mines were never revealed to the foreigners by the Old Time Shamans. The Osa Peninsula is rumored to be loaded with gold and there is also a Gold Museum in the capital city of San Jose, so evidence points to the existence of at least a spattering of Leprechan Pots at the end of Costa Rican Rainbows. In fact, there’s even an abandoned gold mine at the heart of the rural San Ramon de Alajuela neighborhood that I live in with my family. It is still unknown whether this particular gold mine closed because all of the value had been sucked from it already, like the last delicious straw slurp of a golden pineapple smoothie, or if rather the main vein had never been found and the mission was temporarily aborted… No matter how you slice it though, Costa Rica can legitimately be called a Rich Coast for many qualities other than Gold. Let’s stick with precious metals and stones for a moment. Where I live, the Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of ChaChing. When I hike with my pack of loyal canines, especially after a very hard rainfall, I literally pluck chunks of Quartz Crystals out of the mountain side. My pockets are all usually stuffed to the point of bursting at the seams after one of our “Crystal Walks”, and I’ve got to start overlooking smaller scores to save room for the clearest, most colorful finds- like a fisherman throwing back the smallest catches. I’ve always had pretty amazing powers of observation and the ability to find valuables that are Floating Around the Universe, cross my path, and are essentially Up For Grabs. This skill set has undoubtedly passed through into my five-year old daughter’s eyes and mind through shared DNA, because she has proven to be quite the archaeological phenom. Violetta is tireless, determined, passionate, and is a natural born explorer. With Our Four Eagle Eyes On Task, very little Slips Past The Goalie. I’m ecstatic to share the “Indiana Jones” films with V when she’s old enough. I already unleashed “Jurassic Park” (filmed in Costa Rica, by the way) on her waaaaaaay too soon. She loved dinosaurs so much that I made a foolhardy, albeit well intentioned, leap from the cozy comforts and the slow roll of “Barney” and “The Land Before Time” to the intensely terrifying and convincingly REAL gore and guts splattered all of over our living-room by the likes of T-Rex and Velociraptors… Violetta was perhaps two and a half years old. Live and learn every day, folks. Now my daughter is a solid exploration companion and together we dig up droves of these precious, magical stones on an almost daily basis. From a metaphysical perspective, the quartz crystal embodies all five of nature’s elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Aether. Crystals grow deep in the ground yet allow light to pass through. Heat and liquid shape and harden these stones into brilliant crystalline constellations over the years, and many believe that these powerful gemstones are ideal for healing, the grounding and refreshment of energies and chakras, the enjoyment of lucid dreams, meditation, and the enhancement of psychic abilities and experiences associated with the Opening Of The Third Eye. My wife is a yoga instructor, so I’m privvy to the Third Eye concept, but for those of you who may not be, here’s my estimation of it: My definition of the “Third Eye” is that it’s the source of wisdom and potential energy which each person has, and the idea is that this geiser of human potential and capacity for viewing the world with maximum benevolence is centralized behind the forehead. The Third Eye can be tapped or opened through many methods, although deep meditation and a consistent flow of positive energy seem to light a blazing path to this type of enlightenment. Perhaps by the time we’re through, Violetta and I will have so many of these magical crystals that we’ll be using six eyes instead of four ūüėČ Another pricelss benefit derived from these long hikes in the hills is the vast amount of high quality fresh air we breathe in, courtesy of Mother Nature and the power of ancient trees. In Costa Rica, the protection of primary rainforests is taken very seriously. Approximatelty 25% of the country’s land has been set aside as nationally protected nature reserves, national parks, and designated safe zones. The rich oxygen produced by these rainforests and ancient trees is passed on and paid forward to all inhabitants of Costa Rica. Another gift from Mother n ature to Costa Rica is the steaming, bubbly embrace of thermal springs and the detoxifying qualities derived from volcanic mud baths. My family and I are fortunate enough to live a short hour and a half drive away from a few of these amazing Hot Spots. The thermal springs are all natural, mineral rich, and infintely relaxing. Calgon couldn’t take me away into bliss nearly as deeply as these clear liquid lava pools do. Truly remarkable the affect a soak has on the human body. They steam stress and tension out and up towards the heavens. Bathing in volcanic mud is a messier endeavor, but volcanic clay is known to suck impurities out of human skin and to tighten pores over time, which makes it more difficult for toxins to enter. Volcanoes are fairly abundant here in paradise, so your au natural spa treatment is right around any one of several winding mountain roads. Last but certainly not least, the riches bestowed on us from The Ocean, The Sand, and The Sun are of paramount importance. Beach sand is warm and walking on it barefoot drains the positve ions out of your body through the feet, while absorbing beneficial negative ions into the body. This phenomenon is called “Earthing”. A person is truly “grounding out” the electrical charges that have built up their body when they “Earth”. The ocean needs no introduction, but the salt water cleanses and heals the body while swimming away and leaving your worries behind. The Sun provides human beings with a daily cache of Vitamin D, which is essential for the enjoyment of optimal moods and overall happiness. Seasonal Affective Disorder is REAL, you better believe that. Gray skies and a lack of sunshine have been associated with higher rates of depression, and that should come as no surprise. I lived in Buffalo, N.Y. for over fourteen years before moving down to Costa Rica, and I can testify to the difference I felt from the moment we stepped off the airplane at SJO. Don’t get me wrong- I Love New York and Buffalo Is A Home For Me, but being encased in gray skies for most of the year is a recipe for tough sledding for some of us… Sledding leads me to snow, and now I’m sliding away from my point in an avalanche of memories formed from ice and winter madness… The Sun is Our Friend. In Costa Rica, we have the Good Fortune of being able to spend a lot of time with our Blazing Buddy. In Buffalo, he was the equivalent of that cousin you love but only get to see during Summer Vacation. Vitamin D is on tap here like an IV Drip Of Golden Rays Into Your Soul. Columbus was correct in identifying Costa Rica as a rich coast. Riches are determined by the quality of one’s life, not by the dollars piled up in one’s bank account.

Paradise Found?

“Why has this property been on the market for so damn long?” One of the most frequently fielded questions if you’re a Realtor here in Costa Rica. Generally followed up by, “I mean, two years is quite awhile for something good to be sitting there without selling. What’s wrong with it?”. The real estate agent has not yet had an opportunity to reply. He carefully maneuvers the uphill blind curve that’s in front of him, mentally cursing the fact that he loves standard transmissions and had refused to buy an automatic, despite some strong suggestions to do so. The twisting, semi-civilized road we are bumping and churning along leads to our next property viewing. Number four in what will certainly become a long day. The winding, green hills are treacherous and laden with millions upon millions of vertical, angular coffee plantations and a general smattering of fruit trees. The pure power and pulsating vibration of the lush, wild nature surrounding the jostling vehicle and it’s passengers is enough to jolt a person into an exciting sense of alertness and aliveness. The adventurism in the air has a sweet magnetism to it, and it draws most of us ever closer until we finally come to terms with the fact that we are meant to live this way. To breathe the fresh oxygen. To hike the heights of the imposing mountains. To eat fresh, local, organic foods. To be in the cool, misty mountains enjoying a breezy ocean-view one moment, and soaking in steaming, bubbling, healing, natural volcanic hot springs the next moment. To dare to zipline through the rain in an enchanting cloud forest and then drive a couple of hours to get your Vitamin D fix on while swimming in the salty Pacific. To have loud, disgruntled discussuions with the howler monkeys before sunrise. To live Pura Vida. Not to spend a vast majority of your existence boxed into a dry, uninspiring cubicle like most folks are forced to. Phones ringing off the hook, a seemingly endless stream of bullshit meetings and emails to CC your boss on. TPS reports. Flow charts, power point presentations, punch in, punch out, shiny black shoes, pressed pants, shirt buttoned UP TO HERE, and a creamed corn yellow necktie to choke the rest of the life out of your hopes and dreams. Let’s not even talk about the commute to and from this corporate cage. For many poor souls, it’s two plus hours additionally on either end to accomplish transport to this floursecent lighted yet bleak bunker of employment. We are taught that climbing the ladder demonstrates dedication and that wrangling up the slippery rungs is necessary. Of course, it must be noted that not everyone who is reading this can relate to the horror scene and drudgery that I just splattered across the page. There are others, both more and less fortunte in their circumstances, who have only witnessed that type of scenario in a sitcom or a movie they’ve seen. However, the middle class (the backbone of our oft crooked society) is the largest and most Down to Earth group in the workforce of the world population, so I would wager that every single literate person on the planet knows what I’m talking about.

In theory, these types of monotonous lifestyles are an easy thing to trade in for a simpler, more natural way of living. Those who are retired or are approaching The Great Period of Rest (AKA The Era of Me) already have a leg up (or perhaps two, propped on their comfy recliner)on the folks who are trying to earn a living down here in the tropics. They only need to make a final decision to proceed, determine what specific neighborhood of the wide world they want to chill in, and make preparations to enact the transition. Under the best of conditions, the fortunate few will have a short HIT LIST of tasks: purchase a property in Costa Rica, check off what you want/need to bring (Hoarders Beware: It Will Cost You Big to Continue Your Habit), then sell, donate, and store whatever is left. Perhaps a property up North will need to be sold or rented during this process as well. There is residency to consider and potentially a brand spanking new language to learn. Ah yes, and you must explain the concrete, infallible reasoning of your move to a “Third World Country” to your family & friends. (*Important side note- The term “third” world was created as a sort of political designation, originally. The first world is Capitalist, the second world is Communist, and the third world is comprised of all of those countries which are insane and disconnected enough to choose not to operate under either of these Two Solid Pillars of Example For Societal Functionalism…) At any rate, odds are that only a small handful of people from your immediate social circle will comprehend why in The Nine Hells you would want to leave all that you have behind so you can move far away and into the unknown. Away from all the tempting comforts of home that you enjoy. Away from them. Even less will agree with your choice and there will be a few blowhards who will even attempt to gather evidence and build up a case against you taking this drastic action. You are making each and every one of them question their own lives by taking such a courageous step yourself, are you not? It’s only human nature for some people to try and ruin a good thing for someone else. Sad but true.

“To answer your question, two years is a fairly standard amount of time for a Gringo resale property to be on the market. Gringo properties are sold to other Gringos, for the most part. As such, these Gringos have several stages to work through in order to complete a purchase, close out their old life, and affect a move to a foreign country. Selling to Expats in Costa Rica is a far different experience than when I sold real estate in Buffalo, New York, for example. Folks would contact me and say: “Hey, Frank- I’m looking for a 2 bedroom/ 2 bathroom house with hardwood floors and a fenced in yard. Maybe a small garage or shop for me to putter in. I want to be close to the city, but I don’t want it on my front steps. Been there, done that. Maybe North Buffalo or Kenmore. Whaddya got for me? I don’t want to go over $160,000 all said and done.” These buyers would already have a pre-qualification letter from a bank, or would at least have an appointment to get it done. The buyer pool was vast and diverse. A high percentage of people across all age groups were mortgageable and there were government incentives for certain CITIZENS to help them to own their own home on American Soil. I would punch the specs into my nifty computer and a list of options would pop of for me. I now appreciate the true beauty of an bonafide MLS system. I’d drive around my new customer and show him or her anywhere from three to twenty houses over the course of our search for The Promised Land. When we declare A Winner, I produce a purchase offer. If that offer is accepted, we march through the trials & tribulations on the Trail To Closing together. It’s straightforward. In Costa Rica, the buyer pool for Gringo properties is thin because people are not simply sliding into a new building down the road. They’re creating a new life in a foreign country. Adapting to Latin culture. Convincing friends, relatives, and co-wokers that Costa Rica is right for them, while trying to keep it all in perspective themselves. “John, you don’t speak a lick of Spanish, do you???” Now, John Doe doesn’t need to learn Spanish to move to Kenmore, NY. On The West Side, it might be a benefit to learn to roll your r’s, but not in the Suburbs. If he’s planning a move to a Spanish Speaking Country though, he should be open to transforming himself into Juan Doe and should work slowly towards learning the language. The locals appreciate effort, and will always help you if your sentences are incomplete or you’re suffering from Communication Breakdown. Embracing a virgin culture 100% is a lot for buyer to digest. Plus, Gringo transactions are almost always cash deals. Not just a 3% deposit check (which is refundable in many cases) and then thirty years of mortgage payments. All cash to officially close the transaction. Americans, Canadians, Europeans, etc. are not exactly accustomed to that style of property purchase. It takes time to walk the necessary path which leads to certainty in decision making. Two years is not necessarily a long for a property to be on the market in Costa Rica, and I’ve personally seen amazing properties sit for over three years and then have three offers come in during the very same week. True story. These amazing properties are just waiting for equally amazing people to show up and say, Where Do I Sign?”

Golden Sombrero

It was said to be the infamous Christopher Columbus who originally dubbed the visually impressive chunk of land which I am now fortunate enough to call my home, Costa Rica, when he strode off of King Ferdinand’s battered royal boat back on September 18, 1502. Confident, despite having endured an intense storm at sea which decimated approximately half of his crew, Columbus’s eyes lit up when he stepped onto the warm sands of the Eastern coast of Costa Rica. He immediately began to communicate with the welcoming locals, and was astonished at the wealth of gold, food, and natural beauty that they appeared to enjoy. Supposedly, an entry in Columbus’s journal read: “I saw more signs of gold here in the first two days than I saw in Espanola during four years.” Gold and jewels were given to Columbus and his men freely, while the excited indigenous folks cooked local fare for these strange, white beings. Smiling pink people which they had never before seen the likes of. Having developed a taste for conquest, ¬†Christopher (may I call you that, Sir?) named this beautiful country Costa Rica (translated simply to “Rich Coast”) and organized his crew into search parties. He planned on mapping out the lay of the land for himself and collecting anything valuable which crossed his path. As it turned out for Columbus, overwhelming riches were not spilling obscenely out of the hillside or spewing up out of Golden Geysers. The conquering and exploitation was going much more slowly than Christopher was comfortable with, and so he eventually closed camp and set sail back to Spain. The sea punished his ships once again, and Columbus even suffered being shipwrecked in Jamaica for an entire year, but he finally made it back to Europe. Fate barred Columbus from setting foot on Costa Rican soil ever again, yet the moniker he assigned it remains. Costa Rica is not especially known now for being a heavyweight in the gold industry, but some would argue that “There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills!” The existence of the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in the capital city of San Jose is proof that the precious metal can be found at least in some parts of the country. The Osa Peninsula is reputed to be rich in gold, and there are explorers who search and pan in our gurgling rivers, hunting for a miracle hunk of Atomic Number 79. A gilded lottery ticket to stick in their pocket. According to Legend, the local indigenous people never revealed the whereabouts of the fabled “Mines of Varagua” to any invaders , so it may be that The Mother Lode is still undiscovered and playing a high stakes game of Hide and Seek with us…In fact, I’m tempted to delete this entire blog post in fear of a frothing drove of 49ers booking airfare to Costa Rica to the point of crashing Expedia’s website and possibly the entire Internet. It’s all mine. Can’t you see that?!?… Consequently, there is an actual gold mine located in the depths of my neighborhood. True story. Rumor has it that trespassers are not welcome on the property and that they may even be shot on sight. That prospect (see what I just did there?) kinda kills any adventure buzz that has been building in a person’s soul. ¬†I’ll just keep walking past it every day, keep photographing it from different angles, keep casing any activity or personnel who go in and out of the entry gate in an effort to derive a pattern or a schedule to it all, and take it from there. One can’t get over-ambitious with these types of endeavors.




Be the Light

The sun rises strong and warm in Costa Rica this morning. Opportunity brims and spills from a steaming cup of dark roast coffee. Invigoration is eminent and the day is chock full of promise. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Do you like what you see? Does the mirror reflect back fulfillment and satisfaction when you risk a glimpse? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and yet we often find ourselves stalling dreams and deep seeded desires in the hopes of a paradigm shift at some unforeseen moment in the future. We attempt to schedule our maximum happiness, as if we are in complete control of the course of our lives. “I will finally make a change and do what I’ve been wanting to do for all these years- after my kids have grown up.” After my mother is settled into the new nursing home and is more comfortable with her surroundings. When I have fewer pets, when I can achieve my full pension, when I have less responsibility…These are all very real and extremely reasonable ideologies and thought patterns. Heartfelt and grounded, the road to your future reality is paved with the best of intentions. What if I told you that tomorrow would never come? What if by the time you have deemed your personal situation to be ideal and perfect enough for you to take action, you’re too old or too sick or too weak or too broke to launch the boat? It is a potential phenomenon which must he considered for an individual to honor their sense of truth. Out of respect for The Self. The author of this blog does not at all suggest that folks should simply shirk their responsibilities or make any rash, reckless rushes to judgment. That would undercut and cripple the point. It’s just that there will always be a reason (a more practical way to say that one is making an excuse…) which pops up and rears it’s ugly head, laughing at you in ironic mockery as you are “forced” to postpone the realization of your dreams. Perhaps the world doesn’t need to be picture perfect all of the time. Put your life under a microscope and scrutinize it to exhaustion. Examine your purpose and cut through all the static which stuns and disorients the soul until all that remains is what is most important to you. That is what all of your time, effort, energy, love, and vital life force should be directed towards. No matter what walk of life you come from, it’s unlikely that you can “have it all”. What you CAN do is pick and choose (within the limitations and constraints which your own life contains, of course) what exactly you want to strive for and work towards. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if the Romans didn’t commit to construction and creation every single day, the great city would not exist. Complacency and procrastination are the enemies of progress and evolution. Ride the wave of today’s sunrise and harness that strength to search inward and take what might be the first step of many which lead towards your Utopia. Your best version of you. A situation and daily life that beams and radiates happiness, peace, and an unshakable level of satisfaction. It will require a ton of work, but it is worth it. Instead of looking for the light, be the light. I hope to see you around the cosmic campfire soon. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” ~Neil Young. Pura Vida!

Rocky Roads

Choppy, sloppy, “That’s quite a drop…See?”. Beat up, winding, grinding, bumpy, lumpy, dusty, dirty. “Third World”, uncivilized, raw, uncomfortable. Unbelievable, imperceivable, 4-wheel drive recommended, unmarked cul de sac dead ended. Unlit patches of gravel, unfit roads for travel. Unsafe, unpaved, half-baked, dozer scathed. Old world, lastrie swirled, pebble strewn, paths of doom. I have heard all of theses words and expressions from potential buyers as they attempt to describe their perspective on the road conditions, particularly in Costa Rica’s rural neighborhoods. It sticks to the walls of their mind like a dense booger. One of the Sharpest Thorns stabbing forth from The Pura Vida Rose of Purchasing A Piece of Property In Paradise, is this strange fear we sometimes associate with the apparent condition of the streets. What’s the big deal? If you’re searching for a really special, secluded spot which is located “off the beaten path”… Then you will have to Take The Roads Less Traveled. This is the nature of the beast if you crave a country home teeming with nature and gorgeous views. Heck, you might even be pretty close to town in the bargain. You’re still going to have to deal with these potentially frustrating roads, more often than not. I say “potentially frustrating” because it all truly depends on each individual’s perspective and how the information is processed. A person can choose to accept Road Reality in Greater Costa Rica as a trade-off for living in such a gorgeous, old school hideaway. Typical farming neighborhoods which originally only used tractors and bulldozers to go up and down these rugged roads. More often than not, these rural pathways lead to magical worlds which elicit awe and amazement in the Eyes Of The Beholder. Gem-laden hillsides glimmering in rays of all-important sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder dissipates under the golden sun and is whisked away on a fresh breeze. Native birds sing a song of victory and freedom, a return to times of old when Nature Dictates Action rather than the man-made time parameters and virtual calendars which we as human beings are forever inflicting and imposing on ourselves. Somewhere in the jungle, a baby sloth yawns awake in his mama’s furry, gray arms. The Proud Mother Slowly Smiles a Grateful Grin which Radiates Pura Vida into the warm sphere of pulsating life which surrounds her. A wind gust whips by, prompting a powerful reed concierto. Leaves ruffle and palms flap on Mother Nature’s Breath, carrying Anecdotes of Old on Spirit Wind. Dreams drift from forest to valley, touching all along the wide spiraling path to peace. Clockwise is the Direction of The Earth’s Rotation, And We All Spin Right Along With It. Get In Sync. Adjust Your Pulse to Make Rhythym & Harmony With The Vibration Of The Earth. Two hearts beat as One. Breathe In Purity, Breathe Out Gratitude. Have you found the Pot O’ Gold at End Of The Rainbow? Let’s Take A Walk On The Wild Side. Ramble down the Rocky Road To Paradise with me and Sing The Song of Aquarius. Let The Sun Shine In.

La Sele’s Remarkable World Cup Performance: “The Little Country that Could”…Gone But Not Forgotten


It’s been 10 days since Costa Rica lost to the Netherlands and had their dreams of winning the World Cup dashed on Brazilian soil. Ten long days since these gritty young men held a Dutch powerhouse of a team scoreless through regulation and overtime, only to lose to “Clockwork Orange” on penalty kicks. One fateful kick away from the Semi-Finals and a berth in the final four. They did not pull off a miraculous upset victory over “The Flying Dutchmen”, but La Sele did earn the respect of the entire soccer world by emerging victorious from the “Group of Death” and making it further in this World Cup than they ever had before in their history. Our smiling Tico underdogs showed that they can play with any team out there, and the people of Costa Rica are so very proud of them and what they accomplished in Brazil this year. It’s taken me 10 days to write this blog because I’ve been heartbroken since the loss and the topic was too sensitive for me to address. What an amazing ride to have been fortunate enough to be a part of!!! This paradise of a country that I have made my home was vibrating with enthusiasm and pride every moment that their beloved team was on the field, and the energy of the people was undeniable.¬†

When it all came to an end against the Netherlands, Ticos & Ticas everywhere flooded the streets and applauded the impressive performance of the their team. Many tens of thousands of fans began requesting off from work and making plans so they could be at SJO airport to greet the team when they landed last Tuesday afternoon. I stayed away from the chaos that day, but I’ve been told that the streets were flooded around the airport and that La Sabana Park was mobbed with grateful, smiling faces. Some drove and others walked, but everyone wore team colors and waved Costa Rican flags with a great sense of pride and joy. La Sele had represented CR in the 2014 World Cup tournament hard core, and the people will never forget the guts and skill that the players left on the field. There’s plenty to look forward to in 2018 for “the little country that could”…¬†





WORLD CUP FEVER 2014!!!!!! VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!!!!


Every four years, people from all over the world crowd around the television to watch some of their finest athletes perform on the grandest stage of them all. No, I’m not referring to the Olympics… I’m talking about the World Cup, baby!!!!!!! Personally, I don’t watch a single soccer game during the “regular season” and I don’t pay any mind to the results of the leagues, whether they are local or international. I only begin to warm up to the sport with the little ball made of hexagons and pentagons when the World Cup qualifiers are being played. By the time the first games of the actual tournament have begun, I’m burning up with f√ļtbol fever and I’m dizzy with excitement. Glued to the screen wondering who will scrape and score their way to the final game… Cheering for underdogs and witnessing some amazing choreography and teamwork on the field. There’s the occasional “dud” of a game, but generally all the teams that make the cut are top caliber and bring their “A game” with them. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†This year in Brazil, our favorite underdog has a realistic chance to make some serious noise in this Cup tourney. That’s right, folks!!! Costa Rica is walking tall and playing very well so far, despite being in Group D, which the locals have been heard to refer to as “The Death Group”. Going up against Uruguay (ranked #7), Italy (ranked #9), and the Brits (ranked #10) right out of the gates is no easy task. Los Ticos are only ranked #28 in the world… Yet they came out strong, organized, and aggressive vs. an Uruguay team that no doubt figured they would dominate the Tico underdogs. The photo above is of me on game day right after Costa Rica went down 1-0 to Uruguay. My daughter, Violetta, who was born here in Costa Rica and is nearly three years old, was very sick and therefore unable (and unwilling) to put on her classic Costa Rican dress that is meant to honor the local farmers here (campesinos). My wife and I felt that it would have been a very strong show of support for her countrymen and a potential source of positive MOJO… ¬†Since V was under the weather, I took it upon myself to fashion a “rally cap” out of her dress and proudly wrapped it around my head. The result was three unanswered goals by the Costa Rican national team!!! You can be certain that I’ll have that precious relic with me when we play Italy tomorrow ūüėČ ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

Los Ticos 2014

¬† ¬† ¬†When my friends and family from New York ask me who I want to win the Cup, I tell them Costa Rica without hesitation. They’re generally quite baffled that I would want CR to win over USA, Italy, Ireland (did NOT qualify this year-BOO!!!), or any other teams that hail from countries that are significant to myself and my family. I have to remind everyone that Violetta was born on this fertile soil, and she is a Tica. How could I ever cheer against a country that has given me so much over the years? Costa Ricans have such huge hearts and it would be priceless to see them dancing in the streets celebrating victory with tears in their eyes and wide smiles on their faces¬†(which many folks in San Ramon already did, by the way, after only winning one game in the first round!!! LOL). No one expects them to win, and that makes the prospect that they MIGHT all that much sweeter. These wonderful people deserve to have something special to hang their sombreros on… Costa Rica has only qualified to play in the World Cup four times (including this year) and has advanced to the Round of 16 just once, in 1990. That year was the best personal finish in the history of the World Cup for Los Ticos, when they finished 13th out of 32 teams. Why can’t 2014 be the year that these sweet souls find a way to bring the Cup home to Costa RIca? It can be… Spain has already inexplicably been bounced out of the tournament, and we all know that anything can happen once the whistle blows and the games begin. All Los Ticos have to do is take it one game at a time… The next challenge is Italy. I’ll have my rally cap MOJO rockin’ tomorrow.¬†

 VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!! VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!!! VAMOS LOS TICOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!




I Like a Gershwin Tune… How About You?!?!?

A Real Brass Act


Last Sunday I took Anna & Violetta to the music hall @ SINEM in San Ramon to catch a¬†FREE¬†afternoon concert. The musicians were anchored by our close friend and neighbor, John Buford, and they were all playing low brass instruments. We¬†were pleasantly surprised by the set list and the music put smiles on all of our faces ūüôā :


“The Washington Post March” – John Phillips Sousa (1889)

“New World Symphony” -Antonin Dvorak (1893)

“Summertime” – George Gershwin (1935)

“Louie, Louie”-¬†The Kingsmen¬†(1955)

“Somewhere Out There”- Horner, Mann & Weil (1986)

The OcTUBAfest Theme Song

The Hawaii 5-0 Theme Song

“Barbara Ann” -made famous by The Beach Boys (1965)

The James Bond Theme

“Under the Double Eagle” – J.F. Wagner (1902)

“Gonna Fly Now” (Theme Song from “Rocky”)-¬†Bill Conti (1977)

“Eye of the Tiger” –¬†“Survivor” (1982)

“La Bamba” – Ritchie Valens (1958)

“Colonel Bogey March”- F.J. Ricketts (1914)

“In the Midnight Hour” – made famous by Wilson Pickett (1965)

“China Grove” – “The Doobie Brothers” (1973)

“Jeepers Creepers” – Johnny Mercer (1938)

The Peter Gunn Theme…




John, along with many of the other musicians who entertained us at SINEM, will also be performing free music for “OcTUBAfest” in October and “Tuba Christmas” in December. It’s really nice to have special concerts that you can count on throughout the year. Tuba Christmas has become a holiday tradition for us in San Ramon and we appreciate the efforts of these fine musicians!

I like a Gershwin tune…. How about you?!?!?!?

Pura Vida!

June Bloom at Our Magical Property Listing in La Paz…

The caretaker of our rustic property listing in Bajo La Paz has done a¬†phenomenal¬†job with the gardens, flowers,¬†and nature paths on the land. George has poured his passion and energy into developing this lush and magical¬†landscape for the property. Now that some rain has begun to fall, you can really¬†witness how¬†nature is thriving. This is a direct result of George’s dedication and I’d like to share these photos of the¬†“June Bloom”:



June Bloom QM 2013 01




June Bloom QM 2013 02




June Bloom QM 2013 04




June Bloom QM 2013 05




June Bloom QM 2013 07




June Bloom QM 2013 08




June Bloom QM 2013 09




June Bloom QM 2013 10


… It blows my mind that this¬†gem hasn’t sold yet because it’s a gorgeous and peaceful property for an¬†outstanding price. My belief is that the land is waiting for the right person to show up and that then the property will in fact choose the buyer… Check out the listing and schedule a viewing with us if you have interest:

The Wordless Blog: San Ramon’s Urban Artscape

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