Posted by: marisundays | June 17, 2018

A Father’s Day Message

Dear Friends,

Greetings on this early Sunday morning for celebration and rejuvenation!
The birds are silent, the sun is rising and the air is still crisp and perfect for
a brisk morning walk. Get out there early and enjoy the benefits of being
alive with the ability to move your body. If you are watching the soccer
game in Costa Rica, it will be over before the morning gets away from you!

As I do at least once a week, I ran many errands around town on Thursday.
I parked my car and walked to the different shops I needed to visit. I find that
it is a great idea because I can really notice all the changes in our little county,
which make the walk interesting and more enjoyable. I try hard to remember
what shops existed when we first moved here 16 years ago, but the changes
have been so frequent, it is an impossible challenge.

I am happy that we are still a very rural place! The countryside everywhere
has always struck a chord with me. I grew up in Brooklyn, close to Prospect
Park, that haven of astounding beauty that was often visited by us. My father
took us with our bikes in summers and our sleds in winters on hills that made
me feel a deep connection to Nature. My father was (and remains) a city boy
but he never seemed to resent making the frequent trips with his children.

Today Costa Rica and about 90 other countries are celebrating Father’s Day. In
addition to Father’s Day, Costa Ricans are united in the frenzy that accompanies
our participation in World Cup 2018; a win today will be a treasured gift to all
fathers! I would like to recognize all fathers today; in particular, my own Dad,
my husband and my brother who often go uncelebrated and unnoticed while
they quietly contribute their much-needed presence. Thank you for being in
my life.

Whether your father is living or not; whether you have a terrific relationship or
a strained one, your father is partly responsible for your very existence. Spend
some time today sending gratitude, feeling compassion and, if necessary,
bestowing forgiveness on him for mistakes in the past. It will be good for you.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | June 10, 2018

Treasures In Our Own Backyard!

Dear Friends,

I woke up earlier than usual this morning. The sun wasn’t shining, the air
was crisp and silence surrounded me. Knowing that I have a full day of
activity planned (which includes bathing our dog), I decided to get up and
begin my day without delay. Stretching my body usually triggers my daily
habit of being grateful for my blessings and today was no exception. I urge
you to get out early and move with thankfulness for the ability to do so.

It is now almost four hours later and I am aware of the many subtle, yet
distinctive sounds that are in the atmosphere. I hear the parrots’ noisy song
as they fly to the almendro that is planted on our property. The low hum of
the refrigerator’s motor is no match for the racket the ride-on lawnmower
makes as our neighbor passes in front of our gate on the way to his field. It
is a busy Sunday for many of us since the rains bring rapid grass growth.

Last week I met a friend for coffee. Although we had not seen each other
in a very long time, we picked up the threads of our ongoing conversations
with the ease of our strong friendship. These encounters reaffirm how vital
personal interactions are to me and how necessary it is to schedule visits to
nurture the high quality relationships I am fortunate to have. We will not go
so long before we meet again.

While walking with our dog on our lawn last night, I enjoyed the spectacular
show the fireflies put on every June. I recalled our niece’s sudden, impulsive
joy years ago when she first saw the flashes of light and her efforts the next
night to catch a few of them in a jar temporarily so she could examine them
closely. It was impossible for me not to smile at the memory. I felt anew the
wonder and magic her reaction awoke in a part of me that had been napping.
It’s amazing what treasures often can be found in our own backyard!

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 3, 2018

The Correct Wall

Dear Friends,

My greeting to you this morning is brimming with deep appreciation for the
beauty that surrounds me. In the distance, I catch a glimpse of the green
mountains that provide the backdrop for the different species of birds that
make their way across the sky. We are in the rainy season for sure, making it
wise to get out as early as possible to engage in movement with gratitude.

I’ve had a very interesting week filled with activities and people that remind
me of how important it is for my mental health and well-being to maintain a
connection to the community. Sometimes in the busy-ness of our household
duties, I curtail my interactions outside our home, communicating by email
or phone rather than in person. When I do venture outside, however, I return
home with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

June is a lovely month in Costa Rica, especially after the early rains that
revive the grass. Luminous mornings with their eye-popping shades of green
can transition quickly into ones filled with rainfall that lasts for a few minutes
or for several hours. I have gotten in the habit of using June as the month to
evaluate what the first half of the year has been for me personally so I can
correct what I need to in order to accomplish some of my year’s goals. It is
a good exercise.

I live in hope that things in the world can change for the better. I prefer to
spend my time with people who look at challenges as opportunities rather
than problems and who do address them. Tangible private triumphs (like
curtailing my social media use as time-management) have become a source
of deep satisfaction for me. Introspective moments this week have allowed
me to confirm that at present my ladder is leaning against the right wall. My
hope is that yours is also.

Have a wonderful day and an even better week, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | May 27, 2018

The Circle of Nature

Dear Friends,

I began my Sunday morning leisurely. I stepped onto the terrace to let my eyes
absorb the spectacular beauty of the green landscape on the horizon. My gaze
eventually turned to the lantana shrub that has taken hold of a particular part of
our lawn. After a few minutes I noticed two graceful butterflies skipping from
bloom to bloom. Although I didn’t stay long enough to see the hummingbirds, I
know they are not far behind. Get out early today and enjoy Nature’s delights.

My musical choice to inspire the muse this morning is Antonio Vivaldi’s The
Four Seasons, specifically, “Spring” which always stirs so much emotion in me.
The recently-begun rainy season responsible for the rich greens present in the
area always make me feel alive. While I love both seasons in my beloved Costa
Rica, it is the lush greens that most inspire me. I try to get all my “chores” done
in the morning so I can be home to enjoy the heady smell of an oncoming rain.

During a recent Skype conversation with one of our sons, I spotted a basil plant
on a table in the background. I was reminded of his love of caprese salads and
of how we grew basil and other herbs and vegetables in our small garden when
the children were young and lived at home. I counted on those efforts to serve
as pathways for our kids to become acquainted with and interested in scientific
concepts in a more natural manner. I look back at those days with nostalgia,
happy that they turned into meaningful family time in my memory.

I see many young couples with children making their way to Atenas from the
U.S., Canada and Europe. Although some of them come with the idea of living
here just long enough for their children to learn the language and experience a
different culture at a young age, others are coming with the goal of immersing
their children and themselves in a place that fosters patience as everything is
at a slower pace. I believe gardening makes a huge contribution and each rainy
season is a welcome beginning to the circle of nature.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | May 20, 2018

The buoyancy of happiness

Dear Friends,

In contrast to last week’s sun-drenched morning, I am greeted today by a gray,
overcast, tranquil day. The birds are silent right now but Nature still surrounds
me and rather than feeling gloomy, I am quiet and calm. I invite you to get out
early today to reconnect with your surroundings and your loved ones. In this
fast-paced time we are living in, it is more important than ever before to make
time to acknowledge our loved ones and make sure they know they are.

I love my Sunday mornings. As they are more relaxed than the rest of my busy
week, they allow me to contemplate the outside world while I mentally review
the week’s events to share something meaningful with you. I usually spend a
few minutes listening to music and letting my mind wander before I actually
start to write. Sometimes this exercise feels like procrastination but it is really
an opportunity to discipline myself to be more flexible and to try not to manage
my every thought.

It seems the whole world was watching yesterday’s Royal Wedding. I did too.
Although I hadn’t actually planned it that way, I woke up early after having had
an excellent, refreshing sleep. Everything was lovely, the feeling of buoyancy
(it really is the only word that fits!) on the faces of the happy couple made me
join them in a smile across the miles. I wish them every happiness as they walk
together in this serious commitment to each other. The world is watching.

Another month is coming to an end. In recent conversations with my kids, I
have been made aware that “Memorial Day” weekend is coming up in the U.S.
Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who have died in military
service. It is traditionally also the beginning of summer in the U.S. That means
ballparks, campfires, festivities and barbecues. Good food and relaxation pair
with the endless sunshine for a few months. It ends too soon but provides great
opportunities for memory-making, a worthwhile endeavor for all seasons.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | May 13, 2018

Celebrating Life and Mother’s Day!

Dear Friends,

I woke up today to the sun shining brightly through our windows. The energetic
screeching of the red-crowned parrots could be heard nearby and I rejoiced to
be waking up in such an optimistic atmosphere. I silently bless everything
around me as I begin my day. It is another opportunity to make new memories
and I invite you all to join me in getting out early to make the most of the day.

Mother’s Day is being celebrated in the U.S. and in over 90 more countries
around the world today. A few years ago, I requested that my children spend the
whole day with me on my visit to New York, which they did. Their company was
worth more than any other gift I could have received. I recall listening to their
good-natured banter and being so proud of the young adults they had become. I
am satisfied that their bond remains strong to this day.

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother’s physical presence. Although
she had been bedridden for years as a result of Alzheimer’s disease, it was
comforting to look in her eyes and perceive some recognition when she smiled
or pulled my ears! Her passing earlier this year is surreal some days, but I can
still sense her presence in my life every single day. I am blessed because I can
count on my father to offer his wisdom when I need it!

Family, friends and community are my incentives for wanting to live a long life.
The last week has brought mourning to Atenas as we suffered the loss of
several prominent community members. I knew some personally; others by
reputation because they had contributed significantly to the lives of those
around them. These sad events led me to think about the important people in
my past with whom I have lost touch on account of daily living. I will make an
effort to connect with those I haven’t seen in a while. In our modern age, with
so many ways to stay in touch, there is really no excuse for not doing so.

Have a wonderful day celebrating life and Mother’s day, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | May 6, 2018

Conserving the attractiveness

Dear Friends,

As I stepped outside the door this morning, I felt bathed in a sea of bliss. The
sun warmed my shoulders and my eyes feasted on the first signs of the rainy
season. The grass awakens and adorns our lawn. In the distance, I could hear
the faint sounds of a weed whacker, a sign that someone in my neighborhood
enjoys the beauty of a neat hedge as much as I do! Get out early today and
appreciate some of the blossoms of the season wherever you are.

Every Saturday, I try to take a leisurely drive around the town. This serves the
very practical purpose of keeping my “old” car’s new battery from having
problems starting but, more importantly, it allows me to assess whether or not
all the parts of the vehicle are behaving as they should. After all these years
years together, I’ve learned all its peculiar quirks. I once stated that I would
stop driving when I turned 60, but it was not a realistic expectation given my
proclivity for visiting new destinations in our country that require driving!

Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run in a few different sections of the center.
I chose to park the car on a side street and I walked to the different stops in an
effort to move my body and pay more attention to my surroundings. The view
is a little different when you are walking and the objects and people you meet
are also unique. At one point, I stopped in front of a recently-cleared large lot
that until two weeks held a wooden house that connected us to Atenas’ pioneer
roots. People were sad to see it go but it was apparently a derelict structure in
need of too much repair.

Old House Atenas 2018

 

Going, Going…

A sentimental view on my part with regards to place is not surprising. I grew up
in Brooklyn, NY, in a predominantly Irish and Italian neighborhood on a block
of brownstones with small yards and no driveway. I was too young to realize
that as immigrants we were pioneers at integration as we assimilated into our
new culture. Our small backyard provided some connection to Nature but soon
it was paved with cement. I really missed the “jungles” of Costa Rica and we
were luckily just a short distance from Prospect Park.

I am very biased in favor of small town life. While I welcome many of the
modern changes and new additions to commerce in our county, I hope we do
what we can to preserve the very characteristics of Atenas that make it
attractive.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

photographs courtesy of Patricia Salazar, Atenas 2018

Posted by: marisundays | April 29, 2018

A new firehouse for Atenas!


Dear Friends,

Today is the last Sunday of April 2018! The sun is shining and there
is a slight breeze in the air. I am beginning my day a little slowly,
inhaling the goodness of everything around me before the day gets
away. I invite you to get outside early and move your body gently;
gratefully accepting another chance to make treasured memories.

A year ago, our family was in New York celebrating one of our sons’
wedding. The year has gone very quickly. It has been filled with both
celebrations and mournings, as all years are. I have experienced
extreme joy and overwhelming sadness. I have had the opportunity
to connect with people from many different walks of life, enriching
my life.

Sunday mornings are a special time of reflection for me. Last week,
several events forced me to acknowledge the importance of showing
up mindfully and bravely when it is required. Usually the discomfort
leads to an honest appraisal of my thoughts. Although it is tempting
to remain in a comfort zone, allowing no intrusions and focusing only
on my aspirations, the reality is that I have never chosen the path of
least resistance. I do enjoy engaging, so deep thinking is a given!

Plaque in bay of Atenas Firehouse

Andres Cruz Castro

Yesterday, our little town of Atenas celebrated the grand opening of
a new Firehouse during a well-attended event. The firehouse’s bay
area was dedicated to Andrés Cruz Castro, the young volunteer who
lost his life five years ago while fighting a forest fire in Turrubares.
It was impossible for me not to shed a tear when the plaque with his
name on it was unveiled by his widow and their children. Suddenly,
I recalled his love for his family, his music and his absolute passion
about being a firefighter and helping others and I felt peaceful.

Have a wonderful day and an extraordinary week, Marietta

 

images courtesy Patricia Salazar

Posted by: marisundays | April 22, 2018

Work with the rhythm, not against it


Dear Friends,

It is a beautiful and sunny Sunday! I was out very early this morning and
experienced the joy of seeing the cheerful scenery that yesterday’s spring
rain has already encouraged to appear. The plumeria tree outside our front
door is in full bloom; its wonderful, jasmine-like scent perfuming the air.
As I deeply breathe in, I am aware of the birds and their energetic flight.

Today is Earth Day. It is also the day that the Oxcart Parade takes place in
our marvelous little town. I am always impressed by the spirit of the oxcart
families that travel great distances in all kinds of weather to remind us of
their permanence and the contribution that their labor-intensive tradition
has had on Costa Rica’s progress. Thousands of tourists enjoy watching the
parades throughout the year.

I love the first days of the rainy season. Nature changes its palette of earth
tones to the contrasting shades of greens, oranges and reds that are a feast
for our eyes. We are busy now preparing different areas that will be planted
with ornamentals and of course, corn and beans, that we hope to enjoy later
in the year. Optimism is tangible as we look forward to respite from the
long, dry season. Many residents are returning North for summer vacation.

The rhythm of the seasons alerts me to the importance of living in harmony
with Nature all year long. The repetitive processes encourage learning about
the changes and working towards balance in my life as a result of awareness.
I noticed some additions to our town’s culinary options as I made my way
home from errands yesterday afternoon. My hope is that the owners of these
modern eateries will work with the town’s rhythm so they can flourish with
it for a long time.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | April 15, 2018

Birds and Auctioneers

Dear Friends,

My alarm clock early this morning was the energetic song of the yigüirro
(turdus grayi/clay colored thrush) communicating loudly right outside my
window. The air was quite chilly and I really wanted to go back to the deep
sleep I was enjoying but I have a busy day ahead and responsibly got up!
As I looked at the landscape in the early morning sky, I felt gratitude to
find myself in this beautiful place. Get out early to enjoy all the day’s gifts.

I was raised in a family that took an active role in the places where we
lived. Community participation has always been a very important part of
my life. Every year at this time, I find myself immersed in one activity or
other that seeks to raise funds for the local Senior Residence of which I
am an active board member. A few days ago, I volunteered to help with
the food preparation for the dishes that will be served at today’s event.

My “job” last year had been to peel and dice cooked potatoes for hash,
a task that was very repetitive and tiring! By the time I had finished I
had little desire to see another potato in my life! This time, I was given
a more entertaining assignment: making little “trees” from several heads
of cauliflower and broccoli, matchsticks from carrots, bite-sized pieces
of green beans and strips of peppers and onions! The end result was very
colorful and I was amazed at how quickly the hours passed.

I will be back at the Senior Residence later this morning. My duties today
include taking pictures of the event, socializing with the invitees and
recording the final bids for the livestock and other auction items. I am
eager to hear the auctioneer’s chant – a different rhythm and sound from
today’s early morning birds – but just as enchanting to me. Being part of
this event has become a personal tradition that has significantly enriched
my life.

Have a wonderful Sunday and an excellent week, Marietta

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