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

image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle free to share images

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 public domain image

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

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

Posted by: marisundays | April 8, 2018

Old and Loved!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a somewhat overcast Sunday. Although the April rains have
softly appeared and surprised us, it is still early and there is plenty of time
left to get out and enjoy a lovely walk in Nature. Stretch, breathe in and
partake in the gift of life by appreciating all the gifts around you and by
doing something that makes it a perfect day for you.

Every once in a while our 2000 Hyundai Galloper cries out for attention.
This last time the problem was easily fixed by purchasing a new battery.
These days, I don’t drive it very much, usually just short distances around
town. My (somewhat emotional) attachment to it, though, comes from the
many years and the many miles we have spent together. It has its quirks,
and needs a paint job, but it remains my prized possession.

While I realize that it is an inanimate object, it gave our family tremendous
freedom and flexibility. It was the perfect vehicle when our children were
young (and participated in extra-curricular activities) because we could get
to and from places without relying on bus schedules or friends. Our family
spent a great deal of time bonding and listening to Classic Rock when we
waited in traffic jams on weekday afternoons. Treasured, spontaneous con-
versations ensued while trying to decipher a song’s lyrics meaning.

I do not love driving. I get nervous thinking about getting a flat tire; I don’t
really know why except that it is an older car and I am an older gal! But
driving makes life easier and I am all for that. My mother, who never did
anything halfway, had to take her driver’s test six or seven times before she
finally passed it. I admired her resilience and I was ready to try again after
my third attempt wasn’t going well…fortunately, I did pass that time in 1983!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

image galloper my own

Posted by: marisundays | April 1, 2018

Happy Easter and Getting out to vote!

Dear Friends,

I begin my message by wishing us all a day filled with peace, tranquility
and lots of wisdom. It is a beautiful, sunny, already-too-windy morning
here in Atenas. It is Easter Sunday, and it is also the day that we Ticos
head to the polls to elect our president for the next four years. I am not
alone in wanting these elections to be over so we can move on.

The last couple of months have shed some light on just how disheartened
people are about what has been going on in our country for the last four
years. Many people chose to stay home in the first round. I was frankly
surprised at just how inaccurate the polls were in predicting the outcome
and never guessed that the candidates today would be who they are!

I am proud of Costa Rica’s long-standing democracy and admire the youth
because they have organized themselves and have been visible and vocal
in the last several weeks. Many people have cut their beach vacation short
so that they can vote today and hundreds of others have travelled great
distances to their voting places abroad. In addition, some citizens have
come home for a day or two just to vote. It is really that important.

To me, any place worth living in is a place worth improving. I have been
disappointed with our politicians too, but I do not take the right to vote for
granted. The world is observing us today. I am watching the little birds
energetically flying before my eyes. I am suddenly energized and eager to
go cast my vote in a few minutes. After my duty has been taken care of, I
will have the rest of the day to spend as I like.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta free to share image

Posted by: marisundays | March 25, 2018

Unexpected appearance of trees!

Dear Friends,

My warmest greetings to all on this gorgeous Sunday. If you haven’t already
done so, get out early today to enjoy gentle movement as you breathe in the
goodness of Nature. Today is Palm Sunday, the day that marks the beginning
of Holy week, a time devoted to reflection. In Costa Rica, we have much to
reflect upon in the days before we vote for our next president on April 1st.

The promise of spring’s arrival in the U.S. has many people wondering when
it will become a reality. My friends share pictures of their driveways and cars
under a blanket of snow that bring back memories of cold winters past. As I
stepped outside this morning, with the sun warming my shoulders and the
gentle breeze brushing past me, I felt deep gratitude to find myself alive here.

I took my time contemplating our property. It is quite brown in some areas
because of the dry season, and we are still some weeks away from the rainy
season. Despite this, there are two papaya trees laden with fruit. Master
gardeners recommend soil preparation, fertilizer and frequent watering for
optimum results. These trees resulted from my husband’s regular tossing of
eaten fruit seeds into the field. They are not watered regularly and they have
never been fertilized!

Those papaya trees, by striving to survive and thrive, have injected me with
hope and enthusiasm. It is apparent that however impossible it should have
been for them to stay alive under those conditions, they found a way to draw
out things from their environment that allowed them to self-perpetuate and
get to this point. It is gratifying to behold their growth daily. I am eager to
taste the fruit which I will describe to you when the times comes!

Have a wonderful Sunday and an excellent week, Marietta

Pictures my own

Posted by: marisundays | March 18, 2018

A unexpected and fortuitous meeting

Dear Friends,

It is a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. Although the dry season has made our
country look more like a desert than a jungle, the magnificent yellow flowers of
the cortez amarillo currently in bloom provide a (short) feast for our eyes. I am
grateful for all the goodness in my life, not the least of which is my husband’s
body-and-soul-nurturing omelette and hot coffee (from Atenas, of course!!). Get
out early today and enjoy all of Nature’s delights.

Most Saturdays find me taking a short drive around town. I enjoy going through
the center on this day because traffic is light, parking is plentiful and friendly
faces greet me as I walk by. If I am not in a big hurry, I take note of the way the
scenery has changed with the seasons and of any new businesses that have
made their way into our small town. Something always reminds me of why I
love this place. I am an insider permanently enjoying what tourists have to
leave behind.

After my walk around town, I proceeded to La Coope to purchase items that
we needed for our dinner. Saturdays at La Coope are very busy and I normally
avoid going but the errand could not be put off. I saw a friend I hadn’t talked to
in a very long time and we caught up on each other’s lives. Our conversation
touched briefly on the upcoming election, the confusing panorama and the sad
lack of interest in our citizens. We also talked about our respective on-going
personal projects.

After this unexpected “visit”, I returned home with renewed motivation to tackle
just one item on my list of things to do this month. I began by clearing the top of
my desk that had become a catch-all I avoided looking at. It’s amazing how
quickly energy-sapping physical clutter accumulates and how necessary it is to
stay on top of it. I am eager to work at my desk in the upcoming week now that
I have made a more welcoming atmosphere for my creative writing goals.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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