Posted by: marisundays | October 15, 2017

Viva Bingo!


Dear Friends,

The morning sun is a welcome treat on this day in the middle of October.
The rainy season is winding down and I look forward to seeing the sugar
cane flowers in the horizon next month. The gentle breezes have begun to
make some leaves fall on the ground and the scent of seasonal blossoms
fill the air as I stretch my body in gratitude. Don’t forget to get out today
to enjoy the gifts of Nature all around you if you are able to.

The annual fundraising events are going on at the San Rafael parish in the
center of our county. Today’s big event is Bingo beginning at around noon.
I love to play Bingo, I even own a magnetic wand with chips that I bring to
events when I know I will actually stay for the many hours devoted to it. In
recent years, I have had to leave my paraphernalia at home because I have
committed to help with events, making it impossible to manage playing!

In many people’s minds, the stereotypical bingo player is an elderly woman
with nothing “better” to do but gamble away her limited income. Nothing
could be further from the truth, specially in small towns like Atenas that
have as diverse player profiles as there are residents. Whether I’m playing
or helping, it is entertaining to be part of the harmless fun that the informal
(almost carnival-like) atmosphere encourages.

I have seen the young and old, the moms and dads, the shy and outgoing;
even the occasional solo strong (“macho”) male who sits off in a corner
hoping not to be targeted good-naturedly by the goofy and proficient Bingo
caller who might remind him not to take himself so seriously! Bingo to me
is an opportunity to watch people play and reap the healthy benefits that
the social interaction and sense of community brings them time after time.
Viva Bingo and all its participants!

Have an amazing day and a terrific week, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | October 8, 2017

Do what you can, when you can.

Dear Friends,

The air is very quiet this morning. I step onto the terrace expecting the usual
scent of fresh rain in the ether, but instead the pungent odor of decaying grass
from too much rain reaches my nostrils. I search for the birds, listen for their
song but they are missing from the scene and a powerful sadness engulfs my
heart as I look at the horizon and know that relief efforts are still in progress
in our town. I breathe in slowly as I contemplate the many options I have to
lessen another person’s burden and I am grateful that I can at least do that.

On October 10, 2007, I found myself riding the bus to Atenas from San José
in the early afternoon. I don’t remember why I was on the bus instead of in
my car listening to the radio that day. The young man sitting next to me was
on the phone telling someone that he was coming to Atenas to help in the
rescue efforts in Bajo Cacao. I was until that moment unaware of the mud-
slide that the relentless October rain had provoked early that morning.

I arrived home to learn that more than 10 people were missing, 7 houses
destroyed, 3 cars buried and hundreds of people involved in rescuing and
setting up shelters and collecting donations. It was a devastating event in
our town but I was able to see for myself concrete evidence of solidarity
in times of crises. We are presently working through a similar event caused
by Tropical Storm Nate. The generous spirit of collaboration is once again
in action in Atenas and elsewhere since Nate did not confine its force to us.

Yesterday Costa Rica qualified for a spot in the 2018 World Cup in the
dramatic final minutes of extra time. Despite the storms we have weathered
recently and the ones that are still to come, we ticos love our fútbol and
celebrating with joy (in my opinion) does not lessen our commitment to be
there for those suffering. It makes it a little easier to bear the burden. We
need to do what we can, when we can, where we can because we don’t know
for how long we can. Give your loved ones an extra hug today.

Have a good day and a productive, peaceful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | October 1, 2017

Senior Citizen Month 2017

Dear Friends,

Last night’s rain lulled me to an excellent sleep. Protected indoors, everything
felt peaceful and comforting. I woke up joyfully to the familiar sounds of nature
and the gorgeous, lush landscape that embraces my home. I am aware that we
are in times of upheaval worldwide and as I breathe and stretch in gratitude, I
consider the ways in which I might contribute to reduce someone’s burden.
Take a few minutes today to get out and appreciate all the goodness in your life.

Today marks the beginning of Senior Citizens month. Our local government
and many of our organized groups are planning activities all month long to
honor and entertain our residents so that they know their importance in our
community. The United Nations has proposed the theme for this year as
“Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participa-
tion of Older Persons in Society.”

The UN is focusing on ways to support the older persons’ basic rights, needs
and preferences in an effort to achieve the implementation of the 2030
Agenda and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing which is
being reviewed and appraised. I am now a “senior citizen” and my curiosity
about ageing is as all-absorbing as it was for childhood when my children
were small! As I often say, every age has its charms, benefits and challenges.

Living with a sense of shared community has always been a huge contributor
to my well-being, physically and psychologically. Being socially committed
and spending my time productively are vital components in my daily agenda.
I remain optimistic about living independently for a long time to come. I do
take steps to stay connected to family, friends and my local community. These
days, though, I guard my time more jealously because I have reached the age
when I can make that choice with complete freedom. It’s a great feeling!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | September 24, 2017

Working towards a common goal

Dear Friends,

The day I greet is warm and the sun is not as bright as other days have been.
In the distance I can hear the usual sounds of a Sunday morning: various birds
singing, a neighbor’s dog barking and the choir intoning its Sunday hymns. I
observe the tall bamboo and teak trees swaying in the breeze. As I breathe in
deep gratitude, I am inspired by their flexibility, encouraged to stretch and move
my body. Get out early today, if it is safe, to partake of Nature’s goodness.

On Friday morning, I was alarmed when I saw three aerial wasp nests firmly
attached to eaves in a heavily-transited (by me!) area of our home. Two of the
nests were of recent construction but the third one was quite large and its hori-
zontal orientation was so unique, it took me a while to realize that it was not
part of the structure it was attached to. Although I usually ignore these nests
when they are on trees far from the house, these three were too close for comfort.

I enlisted the help of our intrepid gardener; relieved that he was able to knock
them down without the use of fire or chemicals. I was also grateful that he
received no stings for his efforts. Once the nests were safely removed, I
returned to my office,walking an alternate path to avoid any synoeca
septentrionalis (warrior/paper wasps) that might be loitering nearby. A few
hours later, I was surprised to find a dozen or so of them rebuilding in the
same location; it must be providing shelter and food.

Researching these insects has been a fascinating endeavor. While I am
pondering ways to eliminate their nests and discourage future rebuilding, I
am also engrossed in watching their teams working together to attain their
common goal. Current world realities (earthquakes, devastating hurricanes,
fires, and politicians) are challenging the optimism in us. This is an opportunity,
though, to tackle problems with renewed energy; in teams, perhaps adjusting to
a new reality for a while, but never, ever giving up.

Have a safe day and a wonderful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | September 17, 2017

Maintaining Mental Agility

 

 

Dear Friends,

As I step out on the terrace, I can feel the sun’s heat on my shoulders. I hear
the song of a bird I can’t quite identify but the bouncy joy is contagious and
beguiles me to join in the celebration of being alive another day. Get out as
soon as you can today and lose yourself in the balm that is Nature right now.
The green landscape will be ours in Atenas for a few more weeks and I am
grateful and happy to live here.

The week that just ended offered many opportunities for celebration in Costa
Rica. It was wonderful to see the yearly display of patriotism engaging young
and old alike as we continue to honor the traditions that make our tiny country
a source of admiration. Most schools and communities held their yearly parades.
It has been rewarding to witness the participation from the foreign residents who
have chosen to live in this small town and who are embraced by the locals who
reciprocate the generosity and warmth received in whatever way they can.

The last six months have kept me busy with important milestones that included
travel and celebrations. I have relished being with family and friends. I am now
equally content to spend the rest of this year at home, taking care of the many
large and small details that have been neglected for a while and which bring me
much fulfillment. I look forward to catching up with local news and to taking
walks in the neighborhood to see what’s new in town.

As I get older, I try to make it my goal to make the most of each day in the trip
that is life. I strive to learn something new every day (we all should), whether it
be creative, practical or intellectual so that I can retain as much of my mental
agility as I can to allow me to navigate aging with ease and independence. I
have curtailed my participation in some community activities, but I have not
retired to the rocking chair permanently and have no plans to do so quite yet!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | September 10, 2017

Irma’s Trajectory

Dear Friends,

As Irma bears down on Florida, I am more conscious than ever of the blessing
it is to live in Costa Rica, a tiny paradise about 10 degrees north of the equator,
below the path of most hurricanes. I am grateful and at the same time, very
concerned for my friends and family who live in areas that are affected. If you
live in a place where it is safe to do so, I invite you to go out in loving gratitude
and movement and enjoy the day before it gets away from you.

I returned home on Thursday. It was a long day filled with the travel-related
incidents that have become “normal” in recent times. Since I never know what
challenge will confront me when I travel these days, I try to maintain a sense of
humor and composure so that I can respond in a positive manner. Our aircraft
was full of passengers and Irma’s trajectory at that point had already caused
delays that forced us to wait for an hour before we were able to take off. Our
pilot was communicative and experienced; even so the spontaneous clapping
from all of us on landing confirmed the presence of our collective anxiety.

Spending the last few weeks in the company of diverse groups and contrasting
cultures has been eye-opening to me. I have learned a lot about myself. My
expectations of what constitutes acceptable behavior in some situations were
tested often during the cruise. I watched truly inattentive parents allow their
little ones to hog the hot tub, run up and down the halls, make noise everywhere
while depending on the crew to babysit as they had fun. I try not to be too harsh,
remembering that I was a perfect mother until I had my own kids!

The community of cruisers!

One incident that stands out, however, was one morning when a small family
was having breakfast at a nearby table. The young daughter, about 12, loudly
complained to her parents that the buffet table was out of the only yogurt she
liked. Her dad calmly suggested she walk around to other buffet tables to see
if she had better luck. She scorned the idea as improbable but did follow his
advice and was successful and elated when she returned. A less mature father
might have gloated over his triumph, instead he just smiled and continued to eat.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | September 3, 2017

A Cruise Vacation


Dear Friends,

The morning is wet and cloudy here in New York where the Labor Day weekend
is in full swing. I can’t see any or hear any of the small birds outside; they are no
doubt taking shelter from the rain under the leaves of some tree. I won’t let the
rain deter me though and will step outdoors later in joyful gratitude that I have so
much to be thankful for. I invite you all to do likewise before the day gets away.

It is just after 6 a.m. and I am writing my Sunday chronicle while listening to
soft acoustic gems on Spotify. My daughter and I returned from our marvelous
cruise on Thursday and we are both striving to get over the jet lag and resume
our normal routine. I was able to celebrate Labor Day with all of my children
yesterday. It was a wonderful, laughter-filled experience that reminded me of
how blessed we are to still have these opportunities to connect.

I have many impressions to share of our cruise adventure that began and ended
in Barcelona. Our time went quickly and was exhausting because we partook
of many sightseeing tours and almost everything that the cruise ship offered
to the passengers. Our cabin had an ocean view and I confess that after many
hours at sea, it was always delightful to see the Mediterranean buildings
stuccoed in the summer colors of melon pinks, yellows and pale greens awaiting
to be explored.

One day, we spent a morning walking the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets
of Nice. Later, we rested at a comfortable bench under the shade of large palm
trees at the beautiful park called Square Verdun just off Boulevard de la
Croisette. The park was full of colorful flowers and rosebushes and had a unique
sprinkler that sprayed a fine, cool refreshing mist. We enjoyed relaxing for a few
minutes away from the crowds as we waited for our bus to take us back to the
ship.

For an avid people watcher and extrovert (like me), taking this cruise offered a
chance to visit different ports and be exposed to many cultures in one trip. While
I did very little writing on the cruise, I took lots of notes on both the amusing
and the disturbing behaviors I observed in myself and fellow passengers during
the week. I am grateful that I have somewhat successfully developed the habits
of patience and tolerance and that they mostly came along on the ship with me!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Picture of Verdun Park my own

Posted by: marisundays | August 20, 2017

An opportunity for personal growth!


Dear Friends,

I am comforted by my daily rituals: eating my morning fruit, appreciating
the sun shining through the window, listening to the song of birds filling
the air and saying a verse of gratitude as I begin my day. This week has
been a little different since part of it has found me in New York where
the ambience is somewhat somber and colored by this week’s world
events. My Sunday ritual, though, calls for us to motivate and go out
and I encourage you to do so wherever the day finds you, as I will.

My flight on Wednesday was very delayed. A change in wind direction
just as the pilot was about to begin takeoff made it necessary to change
the flight pattern for which the airplane was carrying too much weight.
Initially, the pilot asked for “volunteers”, then offered $500 for a few
others to exit the plane and finally had standby passengers politely
escorted off. 75 pieces of luggage were then removed from the plane
before the pilot was satisfied that the new weight was within legal limits
for flight.

Thankfully I arrived safely, but my suitcase was one of the 75 removed!
I had to wait another day for it to make its way to me. Everything
worked out eventually. Nothing was missing from my suitcase although
it was evident that airport officials did look through it. Years of travel
have taught me not to pack banned items and I was delighted to find
my coffee (from Atenas, of course!) undisturbed.

The long delay on the airplane gave me an opportunity to observe fellow
passengers and the airline crew as well as monitor my own reactions as
the length of our delay increased to more than 3 hours. I am not a nervous
flyer and had no connecting flights to be anxious about missing. It was
easier for me than for other passengers to sit calmly and accept that get-
ting upset over a situation truly beyond anyone’s control was futile. The
pilot, crew and passengers were mostly gracious despite the tribulation.

This evening my daughter and I will fly to Barcelona where we will spend
a couple of nights before we board a ship for a long-awaited cruise. I am
certain we will be safe but since I am not sure how much internet I will
have on the ship, I may not be able to write you again next Sunday. Let’s
try to live each minute with gratitude, to see challenges as opportunities
for personal growth and to let our loved ones know what they mean to us.

Have a great day and a wonderful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | August 13, 2017

Compassion and Respect

Dear Friends,

A somber morning greeted me. I stood on my terrace and let the cool
morning air gently bring me to full wakefulness. The serenity of the
almost invisible green rolling hills grounded me. I could feel my heart
fill with gratitude to be alive, even during this time of uncertainty in
our world. At least in that moment, everything in my world is good.
Go out early today and breathe in Nature’s wonderful gifts.

I had a busy week which ended as quickly as it began. The days seem
shorter so I try to get as much out of them as I can. The problem with
that system is that I often forget to take in the beauty of a new blossom
or the joy of sitting long enough to appreciate the colors of the sunset.
My “to do” list gets longer but I try not to focus on trying to do every
item, especially menial chores that can wait another day (or week!).

Last week I visited the main branch of the INS (National Insurance
Institute) in Barrio Aranjuez in San José. Although my errand was not
exciting, I really enjoyed being in the neighborhood because it gave
me an opportunity to revisit the colonial architecture of charming,
restored small hotels as I made my way from the parking lot to the
offices. I observed tourists with their guide books and wished I had
time to stop and ask their impressions of our “cosmopolitan” city.

When I was in the INS office, I was impressed by the efficiency of the
personnel. I was also witness to the patience and compassion shown by
a son towards his frail and elderly mother who was probably not more
than 15 years his senior. They were walking slowly ahead of me in the
building and he kindly escorted her out of the way so I could reach the
stairs as they took small steps towards the ramp.

I was so moved by this act that when I reached my destination, I turned
so I could see their progress. They had not gotten very far but the son
was still holding his mom’s hand and talking to her softly. I could see
her nodding and smiling, and I got the sense that mutual respect was
part of their bond. Two complete strangers made my day!

Have a wonderful day celebrating life and a great week, Marietta

Picture my own

Posted by: marisundays | August 6, 2017

Ciudad Colon’s Organic Farmers Market


Dear Friends,

The songs of the birds and the refreshing, pure cool air greets me on this
gorgeous Sunday. It’s as if I had placed an order for a perfect day to spend
outdoors, breathing deeply and moving my body in gratitude. I encourage
you to do the same. Let nothing disturb you as you concentrate on soaking
up the sounds and sights of Nature around you, even for just a few minutes.

As I write this message, I am listening to Andres Segovia’s compilation of
J.S. Bach Recordings. The magic of the internet makes these gems available
for our listening pleasure. I can’t remember the sequence of ‘searches’ that
led me to these recordings; I was not as sure as I am other Sundays what
kind of music I wanted today. I now feel energized and motivated by his
interpretation of the difficult pieces that he began to play a hundred years
ago!

I have been sharing parts of my life with you all for many years. Knowing
that I will be recounting some aspect of my daily existence urges me to
pay attention to events as they unfold before me. When I focus on people
doing good deeds, I become aware of how many of them lead by example;
quietly devoting time to essential, mundane tasks every single day, with-
out pay or recognition. Today is a good day to recognize these people, I
am sure that like me, you all know someone who qualifies.

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit the Feria Verde (an organic
Farmers Market) in Ciudad Colón. I was eager to see this market since
I have heard a lot about it in recent years. I was not disappointed. It was
a magical, festive experience that allowed me to meet and ask questions
of the people who grow or make the products they sell. I could see that
the challenges of entrepreneurship are welcomed by these vendors who
see them as part of the path they have chosen. I returned home with new
appreciation for people who view hard work as a gift worth embracing.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Picture of Feria Verde from their FB page

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