28 May 2008

La Fortuna and Volcán Arenal

we made the family-run Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge our home for five days in La Fortuna. we had our own little cabin in the middle of what looked like the Garden of Eden, minus the tree of knowledge (well, i guess it could have been in there somewhere but we never found it). what we did find was the red-eyed tree frog, the poison dart frog, the chestnut billed toucan and lots more leaf-cutter ants. we also spent time watching and listening to school-bus sized lava rocks go bouldering down the side of Volcán Arenal, and viewing the rain forest canopy from a suspension bridges.

at one point it rained for about 48 hours straight. of course we were totally bummed out thinking the Costa Rican winter had arrived. but it turned out to be a huge storm that affected the whole country and parts of Nicaragua. we were fortunate to be in the central highlands where little to no damage was done. when the clouds finally cleared we could see the volcano in all it's glory. it was awesome! we also decided to make a simple change in the itinerary so we'd have a chance to see the lava at night. more on that later.

25 May 2008

Karen Mogensen Reserve

what do you get when you combine a light, steady sprinkle with a steep 3 km hike and lush green everywhere? the way to Cerro Escondito in the Karen Mogensen Reserve. we spent three days in the middle of the rain forest with some of the most spectacular views i've taken in. from the hidden lodge our guide, Rigo and his wife, Angela - both in their late fifties - lead us on an impressive hike up and down muddy mountain trails (and she was in a skirt to boot) up to a two story tower on the top of a near by mountain. we could see out to the Gulf of Nicoya and the 360 panorama left me speechless. absolutely beautiful!

white faced monkeys, red-lored parrots, and armies of leaf-cutter ants were great for watching. on one of our hikes i found a Tarzan-worthy vine and thought i'd take a little swing. English advised me to test it first. i was so confident that it would hold me that i jumped up and stuck my feet out in front of me and well, i guess i did take a little swing... right on to my back! the funny this is, in that split second of free fall i thought i really was swinging. until i hit the ground and the wind was knocked out of me. smooth one Fonz. but i made it through the rest of the hike up to another picturesque mirador - that's 'lookout' in español.

after several meals of beans, rice and strawberry kool aid we waved good-bye and hiked down to take the ferry across the gulf and continue on to the central highlands.

20 May 2008

Playa Sámara

this morning we woke up around 5-ish to the the low grumble of some howler monkeys. there's a family of them hanging out in the trees above our little apartment... even a little baby one on mom's back. and coincidentally there was a baby Ash sleeping in our bed. :)

the beach is about 35 yards from where we are staying and it's been a fun adventure. Ash loves the beach and ocean. she's especially enjoyed the night time walks when the tide is low and the cooler wind is blowing. this is probably the first time she's been out in a onesie in the dark. it gets dark here around 6:30 so we've got two hours of night before she goes to bed. oh, and she also enjoys giving herself a 'facial' every now and then with the sand.

last night we saw lots and lots of hermit crabs, some in shells the size of push pins and some the size of golf balls. a few of the bigger ones were climbing up the palm trees. it was awsome crazy. we've also seen a few different types of iguanas, several birds, and geckos.

it's hot as hell here, hence the time pleasantly passing away in this air conditioned internet café. but when the sun is going down we go out on the beach and that's the best time of the day. there is plenty of good food, fresh fruit (the pineapple is the best) and lots to see.

13 May 2008

passport Polaroids

all individuals traveling outside of the country, regardless of age, must have their own passport. i discovered this just in time to apply for Ash's passport. the man at the post office waived the washed-out photo fee because she was so mellow and sweet. that's my pie.

surprisingly it only took ten days to get her passport. that's unheard of! we figure the background check went rather quick. so we're set. tomorrow we leave for Costa Rica. if blogging is practical i'll keep you updated. otherwise i'll post photos and tell stories when we're back.

08 May 2008

major accomplishment

this is big.

way to go, Ash!

art is good for you

there's a lot of really good art in Utah especially in Sanpete County. i've really enjoyed living in this artistic community and i know i am a better artist and person because of it. recently i've had the opportunity to contribute to 15 Bytes, the Artists of Utah ezine. the May issue features a few photographs i took of Kathy Peterson's studio in Spring City. the 'studio space' spot is a regular piece in the ezine and this time they wanted to highlight a Sanpete County artist to promote Heritage Days later this month.

02 May 2008

get yourself an education

the marquee at Ephraim Elementary reads:

i remember the Iowa Basics. poor kids.

my basic drawing class had their final critique yesterday and i'm pleased to say they rocked! these were all students who came into the class thinking they couldn't really draw let alone draw something from life, in charcoal. it was very satisfying to see final self-portraits and final still life drawings lined up in a row, one butt-kicker after another. these kids did their best for sure.

and Ash is doing her best rockin' it at several new things:
  • crawling off the couch the safe way
  • practicing blowing her nose (see photo below)
  • reaching and playing with most of the stuff on surfaces that were once too tall
  • cutting another tooth - that makes two
  • turning on her 'juke box' - the white noise machine attached to her crib - before and after naps
  • cruising around the house and sometimes balancing standing up on her own
  • saying 'hot' and 'bye-bye' rather clearly, to name a few.
oh, and she continues to excel at all around cuteness.