Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ode to Kerrie Louise

Josette wanted to visit both Brandi and me in Central America, so we all agreed that she would fly into Managua, and I would take a bus up from Costa Rica and meet her there.  Together we went up to Leon to visit Brandi.  Kerrie, our mutual friend from Minneapolis couldn't make it, but sent a little gift for the three of us, along with a card with a photo of three ladies from the 40's in jail with their booze.  It said, "The trouble with trouble is it starts out fun".  So Cute.

Here we are, about to open the present:

I had no idea what it would be, but it ended up being the BEST. GIFT. EVER.  Leather passport holders!  Adorable functional, creamy leather passport holders!  Mine had "ALRN" sewn into it, for "A Lady Reveals Nothing".  Isn't that so so so so so so awesome!!??!!!??  And Josette and Brandi got neat-o designs on theirs too!

I gave my stupid old passport holder to Grady, who actually didn't think it was stupid or old. 

Here's a close-up:

If you're interested in purchasing an adorably awesome passport holder for yourself or the traveler in your life, send me an email at and I'll put you in contact with Kerrie!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I just reached 60,000 hits!  Remember just three months ago I was at 50,000?  That's roughly 12 million hits per day.

*Photo credit to*

In just 2.5 years, this blog has been clicked 60,000 times.  (Probably 58,497 times by yours truly.)

Seriously, thanks thanks thanks for your continued readership.  Especially in times like these, when I'm on the road all by myself and feeling super lonely, it makes me SO happy to see that people are reading.  And remember I LOVE comments.  You don't even have to have a blogger account!

It's easy!  Just click on the comments section under the post, and type something fabulous.  Next, under "Choose an identity" click on Name.  Type in your name or a funny false one and then submit!  VOILA!!

Hal Hexum, a Real Prince

After my dad had his cancerous prostate gland removed, he had to have a pee bag for a couple weeks.  It was my job as Favorite Daughter (take THAT, Kelly) to empty his pee bag a couple times a day, and also to change it to the 'day bag' in the morning and the 'night bag' at night.  It was the highlight of my Summer, 2010 let me tell you.  And for those of you who might be uber grossed out, I'll assure you that the pee bag was attached to his lower leg, near his foot and so there were pants on and everything.  Little valves and such prevented pee from getting anywhere except where it needed to be.  So the process of emptying the bag went a little like this:

Dad and I enter the bathroom.
Dad slowly, painfully, carefully puts foot up on the toilet rim.
I move the valve to 'open' position, pointing it towards and squirting all pee into toilet.
I swab valve with alcohol to clean any remaining pee drips from valve.
I wash my hands.

So one time we're walking out of the bathroom and I said, irritated:

"How come we go in the bathroom so you can take a leak, then you LEAVE, and I'm the one washing my hands?"

See?  You couldn't even see it.  Hey Kelly, where were you at pee-bag time?

(I think my dad considered this 'peeing and somebody else washing' to be the lap of luxury.  You should have seen him strutting around like some kind of prince after I said that.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quite a Shock

Josette and I used a taxi service for all of our taxi-ing needs while in Granada.  One day I stupidly took coffee into the poor guys car and of course spilled it.  He said, "no problem, there is a rag under the seat."  So I dug around and had my hand under the seat, and it felt the rag and then I pulled it out.

I screamed!  It was UNDERWEAR!  I threw them to the floor.  The driver died laughing.  He was laughing so hard that he cried.  And so did we.  He goes, "don't worry.  They're old!"  Which made me feel worse.

EW.  But don't worry.  They're old.

I'm Featured on "So...What Else?" Today!!!

Click here to read some funny crap.

Thanks Sarah!

And, totally bookmark Sarah's blog, cuz she's hilarious.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Most Dangerous Thing I Ever Did While Traveling, AKA I Wouldn't Want to Hurt His Feelings, Vol. 2

I am about to be featured on my favorite Blogger's site as an interview, and one of the questions she asked me was, "What is the most dangerous thing you ever did while traveling/not traveling?"...and I realized I hadn't blogged the story yet. 

I don't even know if I ever told my big sister Kim this story.  But it's been 11 years ago now, so hopefully she'll forgive goes:

On a trip to London, I broke from Kim and our two other friends for some alone time.  We agreed to meet back at 5pm in front of the British Museum.  I got my hair cut, bought some jewelry, and then found an Internet Cafe where I checked my email, and surfed around.  The man sitting next to me asked if I was an American.  "Why yes", I told him and then we got into a conversation about a new game that he was working on. He really wanted to break it into the American market. It was an internet based game, but he would love to show me the mocked-up literal version, and would I like to join him for some coffee?  "Why yes", I told him.  He was probably mid-fifties, from Austria, and spoke in the coolest thick Arnold-Schwarzeneggar-accented English.

I finished up on the Internet, and then followed him out onto the street. We walked a couple of blocks down the busy street past shops and then down a side street. I kept on-a-following him even into the alley off the side street. No coffee shops anywhere. No shops anywhere. Keep in mind that this was back in the days before International calling plans, and so I didn’t have a phone with me. Soon we arrived at an unmarked door, which led into a stairwell. A stairwell under construction. There were plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling, draped in the way. I kept on-a-following him right on up, contorting myself to avoid the scaffolding. It wasn’t until the second story that the self-preserving thought popped into my head: "this doesn’t feel right." Did I turn and run? NO! I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings! Just then, he opened another door, and there we were, in the coffee shop. Where he bought me a coffee and showed me his game.  Then we shook hands and parted ways and I safely met Kim at 5pm.  In front of the British Museum.  As planned.

Trip to the Pharmacy

While Josette and I were in Nicaragua visiting Brandi, we all dropped into the pharmacy to pick up Vitamin B injectables. They're only available in the States with a prescription, and in Nicaragua you can get them pretty cheap without. Don't ask me what they do, I really don't know. Brandi convinced Josette to get one for general health, so we went there for her. Then Brandi decided to get one too, and then I decided to go for it. Why not? Brandi has a friend who is a doctor and he was out with us, and he agreed to do the injections. Problem was, his grandma doesn't like him doing any doctoring around the house and so we had to find an alternate location for the injection. We decided on a dirty bathroom behind the Pupusa Shop. And then Josette decided that dirty bathroom injections aren't for her. Smart girl. 

Here's the Vitamin B injection.  Gwyneth Paltrow takes them!  (According to my source.)

The doctor.  And Brandi.  With her Band-Aid.

I'm happy. 

I mean scared.


Monkey Band-Aids make everything feel better.
I'll let you know if I notice any positive effects.  Nothing so far. 

Hey, while we're on the subject of pharmacies, check out this marketing ploy for a product we saw there:

Josette had to point this out to me.  It's a Cork.  The mascot for an anti-diarrheal medication.

Saying Goodbye to Costa Rica

All my crap and the bags it had to fit in.  STRESS. 

Veronica and I traveled together to Nicaragua by bus -- I insisted we wear the shirts and hats we happened to have had in common.  Nobody noticed.

I Didn't Die...

...I just didn't have internet for a week.  I met Josette in Nicaragua for an amazingly relaxing 7 days.  We had a ton of fun, doing stuff like this:

Jumping into Laguna de Apoyo

Swimming at Laguna Asososca

Hammocking at the "Rancho" outside Brandi and Grady's house

Parting - but only until May

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Hog's Final Days

Safety first!

Even Chileans can ride!

Trying to use hot models to sell it at the beach.  Didn't work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Human Pyramids. They're Happening.

At Ryan D.'s house

On the beach


At Laura's apartment.  All girl version.

Blowing your mind with the "Spinning Pool Pyramid"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For Sale: Death Trap

I survived owning this vehicle.  Probably because I didn't ride it very much.  But I will list it as one of the things I wish I could bring with me wherever I go.  For the rest of my life.  I would consider driving it to Brazil, if I thought it could make it up the hill to leave my current home in Huacas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Would be Me-Murderer
Rebar/Hockey tape surfboard holder
Weedwhacker engine?

Goodbye, sweet bici-moto, I hardly knew ye'.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Currently Obsessed With...

Making human pyramids!  With as little as two friends and a camera timer, you too can impress your other facebook friends and loyal blog following mom! 

Ted's face (bottom right) just cracks me up.
This one got ka-BOSH-ed when Dustin babied out and yelled "Get off.  Get off now."
Please, please try this at home.  (Beware, one of our base men suffered a broken toe. Dangerous!  I do hope your group uses more pillows and less ceramic tile than we did).  Submit your human pyramid photos to: and I'll post them to my blog!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reformed Woman

I used to have quite a messy bedroom.  Click here to read an old story from the archives that cracked me up the other day...  I'm just so glad I've changed my ways in the past year.  Turned over a new leaf, you might say:

Costa Rica, March 2011
Minneapolis, June 2010
Australia, February 2010

Ben Affleck, You're the Man of My Dreams

About a month ago, I had a dream that I was getting ready to fall asleep in my Costa Rica bedroom, like face-down.  I remember that my elbows were at my sides and I made fists by my face.  Picture that position, because it's very important to the story.  Anyway, Ben Affleck came up, got into the same exact position, and cozied up right next to me, snuggled in, resting his head by my left armpit.

I was worried that my breath stunk, because come on, it's Ben Affleck, so I turned my face away from him, but still allowed the snuggling.  But I forgot about my armpit.  Because then he went, "ahhhwwwhhhh" in horror and disgust at the smell, pulling his head away.

Sorry, Ben Affleck.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


So I have been swimming most nights at the semi-olympic lap pool at our apartment.  I am into numbers and distances and accomplishing difficult tasks and doing better today than yesterday, so I did a lot of research to find out how many meters the pool was so I could keep a log of my progress.

I went on the apartment complex website.  Nothing.  (That was pretty much all the research I did.)  I went to the pool and walked alongside it and counted the steps, thinking that one step is probably about three feet~ish, which is about a meter.  25!  Semi-olympic.

I worked up to swimming 20 laps, (40 lengths) or 1 kilometer pretty quickly and always made sure to swim at least that each time I got in the pool.  I kind of became obsessive about it in fact.  So obsessive I bought an ugly lap-swimming bathing suit and goggles and a nose pincher.

Three times I even swam a mile!  35 laps.  Boy was I proud of myself.

Well, last night there were three swimmers in the pool swimming laps and so there was no room for me.  Katie convinced me to go to the other pool (yes, posh, we have 3 pools here), and I asked a man there how many meters he thought it was from end to end so I could do my laps.  He said 10 or 15, and that the other pool is 20. 

Record player scratch.  STOP.  WHAT??!!?  20?!?  Not 25?  Then he told me he went to Google Earth and got the measurement.  I still didn't believe him and so my friend Dustin counted off with his feet 70 steps, at size 10, which is 700 inches, which is around 20 meters.  Then I made two dudes at the pool get involved, and they counted off meters and came up with 20 as well.

So, I never did swim a mile.  And all those many many many kilometers I swam were actually half-miles. 

My only consolation is how beautiful I feel.

Oh well who cares whatever. But, according to my new calculations, 40 laps is a mile. And so tonight I really did swim a mile. That made me feel better. The end.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OK, 'Cast Iron Stomach', Show me Whatcha Got.

When I was growing up in International Falls MN, we always had leftovers for Sunday lunch. Mom and dad and Kasey and I would just pull out whatever leftovers were in tupperware in the fridge and eat a weird amalgamation of the lot for lunch. But here's the gross part:  I remember pulling out the same container of leftovers week after week.  And eating them.  As a result I think I have a Cast Iron stomach.

I must admit that lately in life I kind of get grossed out after about 8 days.  I will go 7, and maybe 8, but after that...  HaHA.  Good luck finding any food in my fridge that old.  I'm good at not wasting food.


Tonight I microwaved up some leftover chicken I thought Nicole cooked while I was in San Jose.  I was eating it and she was like, "P.U.! Are you eating an egg?"  And I said, "an adult egg."  and we laughed. 

Later Katie was like, "when did you cook chicken?"  and I said, "I didn't, I just microwaved that stuff in the fridge up."

And then she told me that the leftover chicken I ate was from before we left for Nicaragua on February 28.  And that in fact, it was several days old when we left for Nicaragua.  So it was basically at least two weeks old.  EW.

I Kinda Like This Photo

And here's the link to the photos from recent Nicaragua photos and the Granada 6.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What is your Greatest Sand Wish?

Mine would be for more Power.  At a cheaper price.

How to Give Directions in Costa Rica

There are no street names in most of Costa Rica, so giving directions is complicated.  Check out this text that Katie got from somebody today.  (She's going to his place so he can repair her iPhone.)

"es:zapote, barrio cordoba de la estacion de gasolina la pista (es la gasolinera donde solo atienden muchachas) 25 mts S, 100 mts O y 15 mts S, casa 3360 color melon de 2 plantas, en la cochera hay un pickup negro y una moto negra, saludos"

Which means, roughly:

"Zapote. Cordoba neighborhood.  The gas station (it's the gas station where there are only women attendants), 25 meters South, 100 meters East and 15 meters South, House # 3360, the color melon with 2 plants.  In the driveway there is a black pickup and a black motorcycle.  Bye."

Central America: Where we Make Fast Slow!

I don't think I have vented about this before...

There is a certain measure of making a short story long here.  If I can explain it with a few examples:  Today, I went into a bakery to buy a coffee.  I spoke with the two women behind the counter about what kind of coffee I wanted and finally decided on a cappucchino.  So I ordered one.  One of the women wrote on a piece of paper "525" and handed it to me, and pointed to the cash register.  I took the piece of paper to the cash register where the other woman met me, and then I handed it to her.  She looked at it, and asked me for the 525 colones (about $1USD).  I paid her.  Then I picked up my coffee.

A while back Nicole bought a toaster.  She chose the toaster.  A man wrote some information on a piece of paper and sent her upstairs.  The woman upstairs collected the money and gave Nicole a receipt.  She sent Nicole back downstairs with the receipt, where she showed the original man, who reviewed the receipt and pointed her to another man standing by the door.  He reviewed the receipt again, and handed her the toaster.  The store was no bigger than like a typical Subway restaurant, with a loft.

Right now I am in San Jose attempting to get a Brazilian Wax.  I mean Visa.  Gotcha!  Anyways, I located the Brazilian Embassy (miraculously just a few blocks from my hostel) and walked over.  To get in the building, a man checks your bag and you go through a metal detector.  Then you stand in line and give a woman your drivers' license in exchange for a Vistor's Pass.  Then you take the elevator up to the Brazilian Embassy, where you talk to a man, he sends you to a computer where you have to fill out and print out a form, then you sign it and he sticks a photo of you on it.  Then he sends you back to the computer where you print your airline itinerary and give it to a lady.  Then she says, "have you paid?" And you say no, and then she gives you a tiny piece of paper and says you have to go to their bank and deposit the money in it.  The bank is 6 blocks away.  So you have to leave the building and go to the bank.  At the bank a man only lets one person in at a time and again they check your bag and you have to print a piece of paper to get in line (kind of like at the DMV) and then you wait your turn and pay and then wait your turn to leave the bank because only one person can leave at a time too.  Then you come back with the receipt and repeat the security to get back in the original Embassy building, where she takes all the stuff and staples it slowly together and then tells you that you can return for your passport on MONDAY. 


It's Tuesday today.  San Jose is a 6 hour bus ride one way from my house.  I gotta take another 12 hours of bus to come back and pick up the stupid thing next week.  This is not how I wanted to spend my last 2 weeks in Costa Rica.   *&^%$#@!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Only 16 Days Left in Central America

My God, how fast the last 5 months have gone!  Zip lines!  Canyons!  Dengue Fever!  Beaches!  Pools!  Movie stars! 

And yet I've overstayed my welcome here in Central America, so it's almost time once again to move on.

A brief synopsis of my itinerary for the next few months:
March 17 - take a series of buses to Granada Nicaragua to meet fabulous friend Josette from Minneapolis
March 25 - take an 8-hour bus from Granada to San Jose Costa Rica for a flight to Brazil
March 26 - bend down and kiss American soil ever so briefly on the layover in Miami
April 18 - take a bus through Uruguay to Argentina
May 7 - fly from Buenos Aires Argentina to Cuzco Peru
May 11 - hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu
May 16 - take a bus to Bolivia
May 24 - fly home to Minneapolis
May 27 - head up to the 'rents homestead in sunny Roosevelt, MN for the best. summer. ever.

So I've never been to Brazil, but I hear very good things about Florianopolis, the town where I will be staying.  I'm sure I will wax poetic about things I'll miss in Central America at some point.  For now, though, I will say that if there are no men peeing everywhere or chickens running about, it may just not feel right.

A familiar sight
p.s. they really DO cross the road to get to the other side

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Digale el Mundo mi Historia!"

("Tell the World My Story!")  My favorite catch phrase of the Granada 6.  Dustin would shout it over his shoulder anytime he was about to do something dangerous.  Like ride off on this crazy 125cc hog with nothing but an ill-fitting quasi-helmet protecting his brain.

Also he would say, "hey guys check this out, it's gonna be awesome" a lot and we'd stop what we were doing and  look and see something not awesome like this.

And my favorite inside joke of the week was the fact that poor Ted just couldn't get the currency of Nicaragua straight in his mind. They are called cordobas. Accent on the first syllable. COR-do-bas. He kept calling them cor-BAHT-ohs. So anytime the situation called for a fake-money joke, we kept offering to pay him in cor-BAHT-ohs.

Here's poor Ted after the hammock broke from three feet in the air.

Spray Soap

I've been out of the country for the better part of a year, so maybe my view on this matter is skewed.  Has this weird phenomena caught on in the United States? Are they replacing all liquid soap in public restrooms with either foam or mist spray? I'm just going to come right out and say that I hate spray soap.  Is this a new thing?  I push the button and if anything comes out it's a mist. What happened to the gelatenous soap of my childhood. The kind that makes a nice soapy lather that gives the illusion of cleanliness after a dirty bathroom experience and perhaps a day filled with dirty, germ-filled experiences?

And that leads to my next question. Mom, when did they invent liquid soap? Shortly after they invented color, perhaps? I don't remember life without it. I do remember thinking that bars of soap were disgusting in public bathrooms, and sharing that belief and a friend telling me the most poignant words I have ever heard:

"Soap is always clean."

In other words, rub it a little and get it movin', and you got yourself some perfectly good soap. I don't know the science here, but I have run with that for the last 18 years. These are just my opinions, folks. I would love to hear yours in the comments section. 

And while we're on the subject of public restrooms, for your reading pleasure, a list! My list of preferences in a public bathroom: (in order of priority)

1. Toilet Paper
2. Lockable lock
3. Water
4. Liquid Soap
5. And if not liquid soap, Bar Soap
6. And if not bar soap, Spray Mist Invisible Fake Soap
7. And if not spray mist invisible fake soap, Hand Sanitizer.  But I hate Hand Sanitizer.
8. Flush Capability
9. And if so, Foot-kick ready flush
10. Privacy from lookie-loos
11. Privacy from heary-loos
12. A way to mask scent if necessary
13. Dry floor
14. No hair anywhere
15. A nice picture on the wall
16. Seat is firmly secured to the toilet
17. Proper inner-workings of toilet, illiminating the need for frantic basic plumbing
18. Towel to dry hands on
19. Exit door that pushes outward, not pulls inward for hands-free purposes
20. Sanitary napkin dispenser, preferably at the low low rate of 10 cents
21. Garbage can in stall
22. Toilet seat liner (but you're only going to find this in California and/or the Minneapolis airport.)
23. Good lighting in mirror for zit pinching
24. Mirrors at angle for weight loss illusion
25. A planter with bamboo of some sort
26. Stones in bottom of sink
27. New age and/or relaxing music playing
28. Basket of mints
29. Hand lotion
30. Hairspray available
31. Individual non-disposable towels
32. A woman to hand you individual non-disposable towel

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Granada 6

I went to Granada with 5 friends this week (thus no blog posts and thus the name "Granada 6"), and had the best best best time.  There are way too many photos to post here, so I'll link to my facebook album later.  Here's a photo of one of my more hilarious jokes of the week, when I said,

"hey guys, pick me up 'something special'".  5 minutes later when they saw the box they laughed. 
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