Posted by: marisundays | June 11, 2017

An exceptional dinner

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a gray Sunday morning. I believe there is a chance it will
become a sunny day before long and urge us all to get out there with
enthusiasm and enjoy Nature’s gifts and our ability to welcome them.

One of the serendipitous outcomes of living in Atenas has been the
opportunity to befriend people from many other countries. I feel very
fortunate that our little town has attracted interesting people who are
outgoing and willing to live here. Atenas appears to satisfy their desire
to live a richer experience than the one-dimensional exposure provided
by the modern housing subdivisions that are cropping up everywhere,
including our little town.

We enjoyed a lovely evening with several of these good friends who we
had not seen in a long time. Our hosts were wonderful. The menu was
unique. The background music was discernible but not loud. The
seating arrangements and topics at dinner were conducive to lively
conversation. We used cloth napkins and our dessert was plated nicely
and eaten with tiny spoons that were over one hundred years old! Who
says proper manners don’t exist anymore?

At points during dinner, English, Spanish, German and French were
being spoken! Rather than feeling like I was in the wrong story, I
experienced the connection of being part of a group enjoying the
informal atmosphere of eating at home with friends. I sat back and
tried to absorb all the nuances of our get together. I was along for
a ride that brought me unexpected adventure and surprise and lots
of memories which will stay with me for some time to come. I hope
you have similar experiences in your life.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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Posted by: marisundays | June 4, 2017

Grace and Strength despite Pain

Dear Friends,

I hope the sun is shining wherever you greet this new day. Get out
early and move around with gratitude and joy because you have been
given another opportunity to live a good day. Make the best of it by
spending time with loved ones, expressing with words and actions
how much they mean to you, pets included!

I have been back in Atenas for a full week. It has been wonderful to
reconnect with friends to update each other on major life events that
have taken place in the first half of 2017. As I get older, I find I pay
more attention to little details I often missed in the past as I peruse the
pictures of birthday parties, vacations, cruises, and weddings that my
friends share on social networks or personally when we are together.

June is the month I have chosen to spend time scrutinizing the
elements of my daily life. I will be making some alterations in my
daily routine with renewed purpose. Corrections and revisions at all
times should be accompanied by wonder and mindfulness, important
ingredients that make this adventure exciting. It is time to examine my
priorities so that they are realistic and achievable.

The past week has been difficult for three of my friends who have
lost a beloved family member after lengthy illnesses. In all three cases,
the families were examples of what it means to really accept what is
coming with grace and strength. They have shown courage despite
grief and have honored their loved one by celebrating their life, with
genuine love, respect and kindness. Hold your loved ones close.

May you have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

image Bing.com Public domain image

Posted by: marisundays | May 28, 2017

Better safe than sorry


Dear Friends,

The morning greets me with the sounds of Nature and a bright sun.
From my seat, I take in the panoramic vista and I find myself filled
with gratitude for the sense of security and peace it brings to me.
Get out early, devoting some time to stretching and rejuvenating the
body that supports you as you mindfully go through your activities.

After 5 weeks of living in an area of endless buildings, roads and
bridges, it is a bit disorienting to come home to Atenas with its lush,
green beauty. My eyes can’t get enough of this paradise and I am
enjoying the simple act of walking and noticing all the changes that
have taken place in the county in the short time I was away. Many
part-time residents have gone back to the places where they will
enjoy summer and re-connect with the loved ones they left behind.

My Sunday mornings are usually more relaxed than the rest of my
busy week. I enjoy the quiet of the outside world and use it to review
the week’s activities to pick something that I can share with you. I
enjoy this exercise because it allows me to re-live an experience in a
different time and place and that reflection is often very therapeutic.

My flight home from New York was filled with adventure! Our pilot
informed us of near-constant turbulence, requesting us to remain in
our seats with our seat belts fastened for most of the flight. When we
were close to Juan Santamaria airport , he was unable to land due to
poor visibility and we were diverted to Managua where we spent an
hour awaiting improvement in the weather and also refueling.

When the pilot emerged from the cockpit in Managua, I was shocked
to see that he was a very young man. I was silently grateful that he
risked our ire rather than our lives when he made the decision to land
or divert until he felt confident he could do so. When we finally got
to Costa Rica, his landing was smoother than many seasoned pilots.
I applaud his wisdom in knowing his limits and keeping us safe.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | May 21, 2017

The luxury of a day on one’s own!

Dear Friends,

The chill in the air woke me up very early this morning. The first sound
I heard was a small house finch singing his heart out. It’s amazing to me
that my casual approach to birdwatching over the years has refined my
ability to identify several species. I don’t ever feel lonely when there are
birds singing nearby; I experience the world as a friendly place. Get out
early today and try to spot a bird or two during your time outside.

Today is the last Sunday of my current visit to New York. The last five
weeks have been a constant stream of joyous activity. Our son’s wedding,
followed two weeks later by our daughter’s college graduation, with lots
of celebrations in between, have kept me busier than I can remember in
recent times. I had time to visit with friends and to enjoy going to places
that did not exist when we lived here. I look forward to slowing down
this week in Atenas so that I can ruminate on new memories properly.

I have said in the past that graduations are the punctuation marks of
education without qualifying what punctuation mark I meant. While
I was originally thinking about a “period” because that is an end, I see
now that I had not given it enough thought. The appropriate mark is
actually a colon, an indication that there is a host of items to come. We
all continue (or should continue) our education long after the ceremony
has ended.

I have the opportunity and luxury to spend an entire day on my own
today. Everyone has something to do; even Otis the cat, is elsewhere!
When presented with days like this, I often fill them with items on my
extensive “to do” list, in other words “chores”. Today, I will indulge
in one of my absolutely favorite activities: reading thick, glossy
magazines from cover to cover, including the advertising! If I can
just encourage the birds to keep me company with their singing,
my day will be a complete success!

Have a terrific day doing something you enjoy, Marietta

Image Bing.com public domain

Posted by: marisundays | May 14, 2017

Mother’s Day in Queens!

Good Morning Friends,

I woke up to a bright and sunny (if chilly!) day here in Queens. The little,
hardy warblers have been flying and singing outside my windows. I stretch
and move my body in silent gratitude for all of my blessings, including the
ability to enjoy this Mother’s Day weekend with my children nearby. We
enjoyed a lovely brunch yesterday because “real life” has put work on the
schedules of both our sons today. Get out early today and enjoy the day.

Relationships, especially between parents and children, have been on my
mind a great deal these last few weeks. Since I am here in New York and
walk quite a bit more than I do in my tiny Atenas, I get to see interactions
between people that are not as visible from the driver’s seat. I observe as
mothers push strollers while chatting on the phone with friends or work;
their young children holding electronic toys that entertain them during
the walk.

I am fascinated by parenting in the digital age, relieved that I don’t have
to worry about it. As an “older” mother, I had the advantage of having had
lots of “me” time before giving birth, a circumstance that allowed me to
engage in fulfilling, creative activity with my kids without worrying about
working a double shift or the possible negative outcomes of childcare. My
heart goes out to parents who are not as fortunate and I applaud evaluating
the effect of technology on everyone in the modern family not just turning
the gadgets into babysitters.

My parents are extraordinary people whose longevity has allowed me to
reflect on their parenting styles and unique personalities. The last few years
have gone by very quickly and our family has undergone many changes as
a result of our children growing up and moving on in their respective lives.
I am constantly being reminded of the effect that the ties to family and
friends have on my overall health and happiness. I rejoice in and honor
our network and the part that technology plays in our communication.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | May 7, 2017

Looking towards the future!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on this cloudy, chilly May morning in Queens. I stretch and
look around me, aware my coffee is not coming unless I make it! My
feet touch the carpet and I make my way to the kitchen to begin the
process. While I wait for the water to come to a boil, I look out the
window and gaze at the red brick wall of the house next door. I marvel
at the perfectly spaced rows, evidence of the care taken decades ago
to place the bricks snugly and evenly, ensuring permanence and beauty.

I have had an amazing week. Last Sunday we celebrated the love of
two happy people (our son and our now daughter-in-law) as they joined
in marriage in a gathering that united family and friends on both sides.
Their ceremony and subsequent party was unique in many ways and
traditional in others. I feel that I have really gained a daughter, some-
one who loves our son as we do. My heart is filled with happiness.

I left my camera in the care of my cousin during the wedding, but I
don’t need pictures to recall what it was like to see our son walk down
the aisle with his wife for the first time. I don’t need a picture to
guarantee tears will spill from my eyes when I recall the live, beautiful
a cappella singing of a traditional Irish folk song that was offered as a
gift by a treasured bridesmaid. I don’t need a picture to evoke the hope
of everlasting happiness floating all around the newlyweds.

What were the odds of us being gathered here for this celebration? We
moved to Costa Rica in 1999. Our son came back for college in New
Jersey and met his future wife who was a classmate of his brother’s
in New York! I feel blessed by all the paths we and our children have
taken and I am eager to see where they lead to next. Words really fail
me to express how content I am right now.

Get out there early today and enjoy everything life offers, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | April 30, 2017

A day for Joy!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the last Sunday of April 2017! Get out early today so
you can make the best of this day, grateful that you can move your
body and breathe in the smells, the sounds and the sights of Nature.
If you have a pet, devote a few extra minutes of attention to let
them know how you feel about them. Sometimes, our pets leave us
unexpectedly, as happened with us in our family this week as our
beloved Canela was laid to rest.

You all know how special Sunday mornings are to me. I love waking
up on Sundays and thinking about the events of the week so that I can
share a nice moment with all of you. I love reading your feedback; I
feel our connection and, as a lifelong communicator, it makes me feel
that my vocation to try find common ground is worthwhile.

Today is a very special day in our family. One of our sons is getting
married later this morning which means I need to keep my message
short so I can get ready for this wonderful occasion. This event comes
after many months of preparation. I am looking forward to all of the
future celebrations that will come as a result of two families combining.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | April 23, 2017

A time for Celebrations!

Dear Friends,

The sounds of traffic outside my parents’ Queens home roused me from
a deep sleep this morning. As I opened my eyes, I caught a glimpse of a
tiny bird jumping about on this Spring morning in New York. On my
walk yesterday, I could see evidence of daffodils and tulips as they push
through the ground and provide an amazing color feast for the eyes. I
know myself to be blessed by being able to appreciate Nature’s gifts here
and in Atenas all year long. Get outside early today to stretch and nurture
the body that takes you from place to place.

I traveled from Costa Rica to New York on a United Airlines flight. After
all the recent public relations incidents that have plagued United, I was
on guard for any situation that might turn negative but I am happy to say
everything on the flight was excellent. The crew was competent and our
pilot, while not chatty, did make the occasional comment regarding the
weather and any upcoming turbulence. The landing was smooth and I
was happy that we were safely on the ground.

It is always an adventure to be at Newark airport after spending many
hours on an airplane. The first impact (for me) comes as soon as I step
off the plane and see the ground crew that awaits customers who need
wheelchairs. There is no smile, eye contact or happy chatter: a reminder
that I am no longer in Atenas! I don’t take it personally, reminding my-
self of the unwritten code of conduct in a massive city where time is
precious and people are used to a certain (fast) pace.

I quickly fall in line and walk as fast as my short legs will allow, moving
out of the way often so as not to disrupt the flow of those who are in a
great hurry to wait a while at the carousel for their luggage! I am finally
reunited with my suitcases and make my way out of the busy airport to
meet our son who has taken the day off from work to pick me up. Once
together, I know I can relax and take my time walking from the terminal
to the car, he doesn’t rush me and helps me with my luggage.

The days since my arrival have gone quickly; they do whether I am here
or in Atenas. I find myself happy to be with our children and proud of
the way they are facing the responsibilities of adulthood. Next Sunday
will find us celebrating a major life event (one of our sons’ wedding) and
two weeks later, our baby (daughter) will be graduating from college! It
is an amazing time for us; an opportunity to rejoice in life, family, the
wonderful friendships we have made and new memories going forward!

Have a great Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | April 16, 2017

Ancient but working!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on Easter Sunday and on the sixth day of Passover (Pesach).
Today is a day of renewal, a day for celebrating with family by cooking
and sharing food that is not traditionally eaten often during the year. I
have just finished a delicious breakfast thanks to my husband’s brilliance
in the kitchen and his utmost indulgence of me on Sundays. Get out
early today, making a special effort to be good to the body that is home
to you and that you might be taking for granted!

As I write you this morning I can hear a plane flying overhead, almost
drowning out the song of the plain wren warblers (Cantorchilus modestus)
outside my office. These little birds have no striking plumage but their
whistled song always makes my ears perk up and my eyes seek them in
the shrubs as they wing their way through. I think they are calling for
the rains to start, eager as I am to see the lush, green paradise that is our
“winter”. I am (again!) planning a modest garden, a little goes a long
way and is that much easier to control and enjoy. I will keep you posted
on this project.

This past week was a quiet one in Costa Rica due to the serious Holy
Week events that take place. Government offices closed all week, public
transportation schedules were revised and a throng of beach lovers sat
for hours in traffic while headed to the coasts. Here at home, I discovered
on Thursday that my office phone and internet services were down. I
made the report without any real expectation of having them repaired
until next week so I was very surprised to receive a phone call less than
half an hour later from a technician (Gabriel) who was on his way!

Gabriel arrived in record time (no traffic!). His expert (young) eyes took
a look at the utility pole that housed the ancient wiring now dried out and
crumbling under the hot Atenas sun. He got to work and said that the
wiring had outlived its service life and should be replaced as soon as
possible. He managed to extend its life for now by gently coaxing the
wires out a little bit at a time. His innocent words made me think about
the labor pool and how often people are forced to retire even when they
want to prolong their employment.

Back in my office, Gabriel tested the phone and noticed that my modem
was also “ancient”. I said I had no urgency to replace it as it would
require setting up an appointment. Yes, it was slow but still working!
He smiled, went back to his car and returned with a new modem to
replace the old one. As he was filling out the necessary forms for the
exchange, I thought of this young man’s initiative versus other repair
technicians who might have gone this one extra step but never did. I
admire people like Gabriel and I am glad I called on a “slow” day!

Have a terrific day of rebirth and a wonderful week, Marietta

Picture of Queens Wreath my own

Posted by: marisundays | April 9, 2017

Minimizing the trace

Dear Friends,

I am greeted by a lovely day. After a very busy Saturday that held
lots of activity for me, I feel refreshed from a good night’s rest and I
am ready to spend the day in loving, focused gratitude for the many
blessings in my life, including all of you. Get out early today and
engage in movement and appreciation. Don’t let the day get away.

It often happens to the many of us who spend a lot of time writing
that it feels that our muse is taking a break and that every sentence
is trite and uninspiring and has been written before. Nevertheless, I
know you are all counting on me to write you on Sundays and I am
not going to start today to let you down!

As a general rule I resist other people’s pessimism when focused on
life’s daily obstacles. I know that it is my choice of attitude that will
often determine my mood. When I am tempted to forget to look for
the good in a momentary (potentially) negative circumstance, I take
a deep breath and count to ten. This trick works so marvelously that
I encourage us all to employ as it often as necessary, especially when
we are stuck in traffic or on a long line at the bank or post office.

Last night was the nighttime horse parade in Atenas after an absence
of three or four years. Most of us long-time residents can remember the
sea of debris, trash and remnant aromas filling the air that were left by
attendees the last time, prompting outrage. It was an event we believed
would never be allowed again in our small town. I bravely ventured out
early this morning to assess the condition of the event area. Although
the organizers cannot claim the event “left no trace”, I can say that the
clean-up was acceptable and parishioners have no reason to complain
this Palm Sunday. Part of the funds raised will benefit the Cruz Roja.

Have a great day and a wonderful week, Marietta

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