Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stop The Presses!!! This Just In!!!


I just heard from Erin. Seems she TOOK Bearlish in college, and though she is a bit rusty (her words, not mine) she thinks this is a fairly accurate translation or Borris' message:

"We are so glad it's spring!
What a long winter. Is anyone else famished?"

I'm going to remember that Erin has this gift and will consult with her for all my future Bearlish translation needs.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wherein Brunhilda and Borris Come Out of Hibernation to "Greet Their Peeps"


Brunhilda and Borris Bearsaltandpepper here, but you may call us Brunhilda and Borris Bearsaltandpepper!

Today we decided to come out of our cozy hibernation on the kitchen table when Miss Keetha told us our adoring public had been talking about us in blogland and wondering when, or if, we might return.

OK - - - so it was only ONE "peep" who mentioned us, here. To us ONE makes an adoring public.

We hibernated in the FIRST place because we had some public that wasn't so adoring - - - and we just couldn't BEAR to face the music, so to speak. We, especially Brunhilda, may SOUND tough, we may even have a hard shell on the outside, but down deep we are just Teddy Bears after all.

Our first post-hibernation issue was HOW do we communicate with our peeps???

Brunhilda, ever the adventurous one, thought she could master lappy. She began hopping from key to key - - - and was heard growling, "Miss Keetha does it, how DIFFICULT can it be?????"

But after hours and hours, she had NADA to show for her efforts.

Her esitimation of Miss Keetha went up a notch or two, 'cause that woman BLOGS all the time - - - how does she DO that?

Borris (notice - - - 2 "R's" in his name - - - the only "flair" he has, Brunhilda got all the rest) went all retro and took pen in paw to scribble out this message to you.

Too bad you don't speak Bearlish. Perhaps we could "paws" for a translation.

Nope - - - sorry - - - Miss Keetha doesn't speak Bearlish either - - -

Oh well, I'm sure you get the idea. We are FINE and dandy, still living on Miss Keetha's Kitchen Table, scratching our hides, and beginning to contemplate what adventure we might have next.

Perhaps a BATH would be in order after all these months.

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I'm linking this post to Vintage Thingie Thursday
(This is NOT the Bearsaltandpeppers first dance,
Which makes them vintage)

And to Thrifty Thursday
(Brunhilda MAKES Borris be thrifty - - -
They're so frugal they've never even spent a dime!)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Costa Rican Eclectic Bits


More of what this blog is KNOWN for - - - eclecticity. This time my eclectic gene was working overtime in CR.

Do we still have these in the US????? Well, they are no longer here in the midwest, anyway.

Fisherhubby and I USED to use this gas exclusively. It was our FIRST gas credit card.

Do you remember the TV commercials from the 60's???? Then SING with me:

"You can trust your car
To the man who wears the star,
The Big Red Texaco Star!!!"

And while we're on the subject - - - whatever HAPPENED to those men in red stars???? You know the ones I mean. The ones who came RUNNING out to pump your gas, check your oil & air, AND wash all your windows - - - all for twenty-five cents a gallon.

Where did THOSE men in red stars go???

These signs were EVERYWHERE.

I'm just SURE there has to be a "pun" in them SOMEWHERE. Even me, my hugely Spanish-challenged self, knew the "es" was "is". So, what in the world is "jiron is jiron"?

I asked someone who had some Spanish skills - - - he said it wasn't a pun, that it was just a mattress company, and he didn't think "jiron" had any English translation.

Well, that did NOT satisfy an eclectic like moi, so I put it in a Spanish translator. Result? "Shred is shred."

OK - - - either this ISN'T a mattress company at all, or they stuff them with shredded things, or shred means sleep, or WHAT?!? Some of you unchallenged linguists HELP me with this one.

I took this picture so I would remember to tell y'all one VERY crucial geometric fact I learned in Costa Rica, and which I had to come back and CORRECT to my 6th Grade Math students. Wink wink

It is DEFINITELY not true EVERYWHERE that the distance between point A and point B is a straight line.

I'm just sayin' - - - -

Last evening Fisherhubby and I were returning home and I dozed off. When he turned from one highway onto another, I jerked awake and for a split second, I SWEAR I thought I was back in CR riding on a bus.

Would I kid you about an important thing like that?

Typical colorful view from the front window of the "bus," which this time appears to be a van - - - but trust me, it was nearly ALWAYS a bus.

Do you see, on the right side of this photo, on the curb, a metal box up on a thin pole? That was where they put their garbage bags! How smart is that? Keep them up off the street and away from pesty dogs and other varmints.

Obviously the folks on the LEFT side of the street didn't get the memo - - -

I just gotta tell ya, I fell in L-O-V-E with these. So many tiny homes - - - I believe we'd call them "cottages" here. Each with a fenced in postage stamp front yard. Most of those were planted as gardens - - - and if they were tiled, then there were pots of gorgeous tropical flowers everywhere.

Aren't they the cutest? And I just gotta tell ya. I realized something VERY important.

Fisherhubby and I could EASILY live in one of these. (Of course Fisherhubby would have to "do" the garden thing as I have a brown thumb.)

I'm pretty sure we do NOT really need our four bedroom, three bath, three car garage MANSION for just the two of us.

No - - - it isn't a mansion by American Standards, but our standards are warped.

Way warped.

Again, I'm just sayin' - - -

Just to let you know, I DID dip my toes for the FIRST TIME EVER in the Pacific. Been to the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico plenty 'o times - - - first time for the Pacific.

I did NOT realize at the time that these flip flops weren't plastic. Oh well - - - so they are a bit warped outof shape now. They still wear.

This is a Costa Rican mall.

They told us it is one of the nicest ones - - - and trust me, it was REAL NICE. I had on capris and flip flops and I was WAY underdressed for the occasion.

I believe this will be my last Costa Rica post, but that is NOT to be misunderstood as a promise that I will never mention it again.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday Favorites - All in The Family

B I R T H D A Y ! ! !

To our beloved Sunday Favorites.

It's Sunday again, and you know what THAT means!?! It's time for Sunday reruns!!! Thanks so much to Chari over at Happy to Design for hosting this meme, "Sunday Favorites".

"Out With The Old - - -"
(First posted on 1/13/08)

But NOT in with the new!

Now that we are empty-nested, we are DOWNSIZING when it comes to the number of vehicles parked in our driveway. I'm more than happy to lessen our monthly car insurance bill!!!

Greg ordered this Camaro in the fall of 1994 to allay his midlife crisis. He drove it exclusively for years. Then when Kyle began to drive, it was his car. Now Kyle has moved on to bigger and better things (interpretation: unicycle) and left the Camaro behind.

So, after almost 14 years, nearly flawless performance (I believe it's only had one or two brake changes and precious little other work besides routine maintenance - - - no lemon she), and 220,000+ miles we are telling her "good-bye."

And our first-born son is telling her "hello!"

Kelly was 14 when we got the Camaro and just itching at the bit to be at the wheel. It was NOT the Camaro which he was allowed to drive - - - rather my minivan. However, he WANTED to drive it, and truth be told, he had some excursions in it when mom and dad weren't home. Just look at the GRIN on his face as he picked her up yesterday.

And this, Kelly's Taurus, is going to his sister, Keri. Kelly's girlfriend, Cathy, is driving it away. However, that isn't really a grin on her face - - - it's a grimace. She did NOT want to drive that thing at all!!!

It's "All in the Family."

(Editor's Note: Sorry about the picture quality - - - sun was at the wrong angle - AND, now the Taurus has been passed down from oldest daughter to youngest son!!! We're STILL keeping it all in the family!)


In This Case, No News is - - - No News


Occasionally when life deals me a hand full of busyness, some of you, my most loyal bloggy fans, start sending me e-mails to make sure I'm OK.

You don't KNOW how that warms my heart.

This time, let me just assure you, before all those e-mails - - - all three or four of them- - - start rolling in that I'm FINE.

I'm still here in blogland, and don't plan to leave anytime soon.

I'm just not my total blogging self at the moment - - - so I haven't generated any new posts in a couple of days.

Just to give you something to come here to see, let me share these darling photos of my "water babies."

This is MY first baby, Keri, holding her baby baby, Piper Renae. Aren't they cute? Can you believe the little scrunched up face on Piper girl????

And this handsome young man is Mackinley. He has been "starring" on my blog ever since its, the blog's, inception.

His personality is WAY bigger than he is.

And this is my BIGGEST baby, Fisherhubby. He started the whole love-of-water thing.

He used to swim.

He used to surf.

He used to snorkel and scuba dive.

Now he specializes in pulling scaly things OUT of the water - - - and just look how HAPPY he is to do it.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Science Brain Did NOT Go to Sleep in Costa Rica


Here are some of the sciency things I observed around me while I was in Costa Rica:

This is a photo of two hibiscus flowers. Aren't they beautiful???

Ah, yes - - - but did you know they contain the reproductive organs of the hibiscus plant? Well of COURSE you knew that - - - just like you knew that EVERY flower is all about "Sex in the Garden." And if you FORGOT - - - you may go read my post about it here.

But back to these lovely hibiscus blossoms. Their reproductive organ arrangement is a bit unusual. Do you see all those yellow fuzzy things? Well - - - those are the anthers which produce the male gametes. (sperm if you need me to spell it all out) But unlike in a typical flower, these little anthers are at the end of filaments which are growing out of a staminal column.

Then look closely at the end of the staminal column and you will see five tiny red discs - - - they remind me of alien suction feet. These are the stigmas, the sticky ends of the female reproductive organ, which in this case is extending out from the hollow staminal column.

The stigmas are there just WAITING to collect the pollen. Once the pollen has collected on them, it will begin to grow pollen tubes down through the long slender neck (style) of the female organ (pistil) all the way to the ovary where the eggs are waiting to be fertilized and form seeds.

Aren't you glad you asked?????

I thought it was extremely fascinating, and I'm SO glad my little digi cam captured the whole exciting process. I guess I'm just a voyeur that way.

I DO hope you will be able to enjoy your flower bouquets after this.

And here we have another "unusual" blossom. Let me rephrase. A blossom that is not seen in the temperate midwest, though I saw TONS of them in the tropics.

They do NOT however develop into the bananas you see here. These are two different plants growing side by side. The bananas ARE the ripend ovary of the banana plant, however - - - containing the seeds.

Please, don't hesitate to enjoy your next banana - - - even though you WILL be eating the offspring of some poor banana mom and dad.

Oh - - - and what have we here? Why, it's a lovely walking stick. Notice the three pairs of legs, making it an insect. I won't go into its reproductive habits here - - - maybe we'll save that for another biological post.

But while we're at it, don't you just HATE it when folks refer to spiders as insects? Yah, me too - - - we ALL know they have 4 pairs of legs, just like scorpions, ticks, and mites so are therefore arachnids and not insects at all.

I took this photo at Fossil Land , which explains WHY it's called Fossil Land, don't'cha think? Just LOOK at all those shell fossils.

Here's a close up of a smaller fossil filled piece of limestone. Makes it pretty clear that this part of the world was once under water.

And what have we here? You might think it's JUST an old stone wall, and that it is - - - but not JUST an old stone wall. Look at it closely and you will see a splendid example of primary succession.

Do you see all the lichen and moss growing on the rocks and in the cracks between the rocks? Those are what we call "pioneer species." Their little root-like structures are busy at work, breaking the rock down into small pieces of sediment.

The cracks between the rock trap these pieces of sediment, and others. Soil begins to form and soon (well - - - relatively speaking) there is enough soil to support the roots of larger more organized forms of plant life.

And where plants move in - - - animals soon follow.

Here's a close-up of Ms. Lichen. Isn't she beautiful? And you can see the new soil in the crevices and even the tip of one small plant.

Maybe when I return in a couple thousand years, the wall will be gone and in its place will be a mound of plant covered soil.


Or maybe it will take ten thousand years or more.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Not Turning Cartwheels Anymore - - -


I really should have more pride than to show this post to all of cyber space. But, evidently I don't.

While in Costa Rica, we walked through a creek gorge on our way to the zip line. It was rocky, muddy, slick, and uneven.

I started out navigating it on my own with just verbal instructions.

The "gazelles" (our students) were already far ahead of me, out of sight.

Andy, whom I called California, took my hand to help me over a rough place - - -

And he never let go.

Mostly because he had to haul me up and over those rocks like a hydraulic lift!!!

Did I mention it was rocky, muddy, slick, and uneven???? Well - - - it WAS rocky, muddy, slick, and VERY uneven.

I thought I might lie down and die right in there.

Exactly when did this happen????? When did I become a fragile senior citizen?????

Good grief! I USED to turn cartwheels through gullies.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday Reruns - When My "Love" Was New

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Since you asked: YES!!! This is still my baby-love lappy. I still use it, and it has NEVER had even ONE virus - - - one advantage of having a computer that is soley yours.

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It's Sunday again, and you know what THAT means!?! It's time for Sunday reruns!!! Thanks so much to Chari over at Happy to Design for hosting this meme, "Sunday Favorites".

"Isn't She Lovely?"
(First posted 12/27/2007)

Isn't she WONDERFUL!?!

My new baby!! Specially chosen in WISCONSIN BADGER RED!!!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Now I won't need to CHOOSE between blogging and football!!!

I can blog AND IM from right in front of the TV screen WHILE I watch football!!! Isn't technology grand?!?

This is Fisherhubby pointing out that while I got a laptop for Christmas, he got a $12.50 bucket of fake leeches for fishing. (Let's not even GO to how much OTHER equipment that boy has bought for all his hobbies, NOR to what all that "stuff" cost him!!)

And before you feel TOO sorry for him, just look who's the FIRST to use my new lappy!!!


"Friends Are Friends Forever, If The Lord's the Lord of Them - - - "


Some people collect stamps, or china, or key chains.

I collect people.

Key chains are easier to keep track of than people. But people find their way into my heart and then they live there forever.

The hardest thing I was asked to do on the Costa Rica trip, was to leave my new friends behind, knowing full well I may never see them again in this world.

Let me introduce you.

This is Mihai. Mihai was our SCORE guide - - - which means he was our lifeline. We stayed in his home and he took us everywhere, kept us "in line," and protected us.

Mihai is a Romanian who is living in Costa Rica, working with SCORE, and being trained by SCORE. His goal is to return to Romania and host SCORE groups there.

We all loved Mihai. I don't remember what I did just before THIS picture was snapped to make Mihai laugh like that - - - but whatever it was, I'm sure I richly deserved the laughter.

I almost gave him my lappy.

Mihai, since leaving I have wondered many times if I really SHOULD have given you my beloved lappy, because you are worth a laptop and oh so much more. It brings me nearly to tears to think I might never see you or even hear from you again.

This is Yajaira. Yajaira came into Mihai's house every day to clean up after us and do laundry. (Towels and bed linens, not our personal clothing) She couldn't speak English, and I do not speak Spanish - - - yet somehow we were able to understand each other quite well. I found out that she is a mama to three little girls.

Yajaira, I miss you and wish so much I could continue to see you every day.

This is Jeremy. He is Yajaira's "esposo" and was our bus driver most days. Since we rode hours each day in a bus, we got to think of Jeremy as being one of "us."

He could speak a few English words. I don't know HOW he could drive that bus so well around so many curves, navigate such tight corners, and stay out of the way of so many cars coming right at us - - - but he did an AMAZING job of all those things. AND, he gave us great little Costa Rican hard candies too!

Jeremy, you made our stay so enjoyable. I miss you too - - - A LOT.

This is Jose. Jose is the Costa Rican SCORE director. He planned our schedule while we were there and was our "go-to" guy in a pinch.

Thank you for all you did for us, Jose AND for all you do for SCORE and the people of Costa Rica who still need Jesus.

All my southern bloggy friends - - - you're gonna LOVE this!!!

These are Jason and Wesley, two Georgia Boys!!!! They came to Costa Rica to use their expert carpentry skills to build cabinets for the new SCORE house at Coronado, the same place where we were painting the fence blue. They only had a couple of days to work, but they churned out gorgeous cabinets in record time.

And this is Jason. I only got to BEGIN to know Jason. He went with us into the barrio. I think he was a combination guide/guard. Don't you just love his smile?

Thank you Jason, for giving your time to assist in our barrio grocery deliveries.

And so - - - I had to leave my new friends, and a large chunk of my heart - - - in Costa Rica.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Must Share


Most of my blogging about my recent trip to Costa Rica was done over at the Costa Rican Diary. That however, is a blog I set up as a record of our trip for the students to be able to share with their parents and friends. By its very nature it cannot be personal.

There are, however, some very personal things that I'd like to share here. By personal I mean things that directly affected me in very real ways. Those things I want to post here.

The first of those personal things happened in the barrio pictured above.

Before I "go there," I have a confession to make. This was not my first time to leave our country and face abject poverty and hunger right in the face. This was not my first time to have my heart strings strummed. I've been to Africa, Haiti, and Mexico. I've seen conditions like these there. My heart has been stirred to action before.

But after each trip, I return home. Even with the best of intentions, it is so easy to get swept up in all that my American life entails. The longer the time and the farther the distance between my every day life and the lives of these dear Barrio People, the more their hunger and needs get placed on the back burner of my life.

I am not proud to admit this.

I think I have told myself that I HAVE been giving. I teach in a Christian school where my wage is small. I tithe. I support several missionaries. I even support one child in Zambia through World Hope.

And then I walked into the Barrio.

Over rough ground, and this is the main way in - - - not a back alley. The ground was much rougher than what shows in this photo. It was also muddy with the water refuse of the morning.

These are people's homes. Their HOMES. This is all they own.

In each of these homes there is a little grandma who is sheltering her daughter(s) and grandchildren. There are no men anywhere, they have long since gone on to other unhealthy things, and so there is little or no income. (The two men in the picture below are a missionary and the pastor of this little community.)

We took those little grandmothers a small bag of essential groceries - - - coffee, rice, sugar, noodles, and cookies.

We prayed with them.

They invited us in and thanked us.

Then we walked away. Back to our comfortable bus. Back to our lives of ease.

I remembered Jesus' words - - - "In as much as ye have done it unto one of these the least of my children, ye have done it unto me." I think of my house. My possessions. My cars. My blessings. And I realize I have done precious little for any of "the least of these." Precious little.

I realize I cannot make everything better.

I realize I am but one blessed American gal.

But I think I MUST do more.

I do not yet know what that will look like - - - but I am willing to be shown.