Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Shannon and fam
Monday, December 10, 2007
There is a great little sport crag right on the edge of town. There are about 20 routes from 5.9-5.12b. They are short but steep; a bit reminiscent of the moderates in Rifle, without the posers, Front Ranger egomaniacs, and polish. They are well bolted basalt and the climbs either ascend the broken ends of columns (like this picture) or cross horizontal columns (desperate slopers) or climb columns vertically with stemming and friction. The approach is about 30 seconds from the road. The locals have done an incredible job cleaning and the routes are well done. There are a handful of climbers here but this crag demands power so they are strong. If we had a crag like this in Carbondale, 2 miles from town with a 30 second approach, we would all climb a lot harder. They are working on a new cliff nearby that climbs out of a huge cave. They are finishing a new 4 pitch sport route that they think will go at 12b and it looks like there is lots more potential. Eduardo and Marcol also guide here and those passing through can get out cragging without bringing their gear. I recommend the guides- they are strong climbers, low-key, and willing to tolerate my Spanish even though they speak good English. Amazing to find high quality rock here and to learn that the word "pumped" is exactly the same in Spanish.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Our typical weekday is like this - awaken around 7 (roosters wake up at 5 but we all go back to sleep thankfully!). A quick breakfast and some cajoling to get the kids dressed and out the door and a call to our friendly taxista for a 5 minute ride downhill into town (too early for the half hour to hour walk depending on the size of the walker!). Class is from 8 to 12 with one 20 minute break during which we buy one of the only 3 donuts in Boquete for the kids to split! After class we usually have lunch at the little cafeteria close to the school where all our teachers eat. Lunch and drinks for all 4 of us - big, hot and delicious - is around $6 or $7 and is our big splurge for the day! If it is raining we usually take a taxi up to home and entertain ourselves there. If it is sunny we stay in town, go to the park or garden, do food shopping (usually every day) as it usually is in a foreign country we can occupy a good hour or more taking care of basic shopping tasks going one place for bread, one place for fruit and another for everything else. Ice cream cones are 30 cents and are a nice post shopping treat! Walking home with the kids takes an hour but there is lots to see on the way, beautiful gardens, colorful houses, dogs (!!) behind gates :), horses in back yards etc. In the afternoon the kids entertain themselves at home while we do homework and then we cook a basic dinner at home. Night falls dramatically at 6:15 every night so it is pretty easy to get the kids to sleep by 8!!
Two other cabanas out of the 4 by us are occupied by retired americans. Our kids are sort of their surrogate grandkids and they are very nice to us.
Next weekend we leave Boquete and head over Bocas on Sunday/ Monday where we stay until Dec. 26th and then head to Panama City to see the canal and rainforest.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Boquete is a nice town, definitely cenral america but you randomly see gringos wandering the streets all the time. In the hills we were live it is mixed between luxury houses and shacks for coffee plantation workers. Just beyond our house is a big plantation and most of the workers seem to be natives - Ngobe people. It is one big cinderblock dorm with outdoor bathrooms and no windows. The kids smile and wave at us and I think how completely different their lives our from ours. Its hard for our kids to even fathom their life and they are practically across the street.
I am hiking up the Quetzal trail with my class today and hopefully with the kids this weekend.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
I arrive in Florida Friday, we head to Miami Saturday and Sunday morning we're on a plane to San Jose Costa Rica. We spend one night there and then fly on Monday to David Panama. From there we head up to Boquete in the Chiriqui Highlands for 4 weeks of spanish school. We have rented a small apartment right in town and all four of us will take classes in the morning and then have the afternoons free to explore. There is an internet cafe downstairs from our school so I imagine we will be online several times a day. We will be anxious to hear from folks while we are traveling and the kids in particular would love emails from friends if parents are able to get there kids to dicate a few messages!
Dec 17th we head to the islands to meet up with Dave's dad for Christmas. We have rented a house on Bocas del Toro right on the beach and Toby has high hopes of learning to surf from his grandpa!! The day after Christmas we head to Costa Rica overland through Puerta Viejo and eventually end up in Monteverde for the month of January. We are renting a small house there and volunteering with the Cloud Forest School (http://www.cloudforestschool.org/ ), a bi-lingual preK-12 environmental education school. After Monteverde we stop through Florida again for 5 days before heading to Chile and Argentina on Feb 7th and finally return to the states June 2, spend a few more weeks in New England then drive back to Colorado by July 1. So that is the overview of our next whirlwind 7 months. Wish us luck!! We will miss you all!!
Contacting us: Email is going to be the best way to reach us the whole time. Mail to Panama supposedly takes forever so I wont bother giving you an address there. We can get mail c/o the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde and it should take only 10-15 days (dont send boxes, only envelope packages and letters). That address is: c/o Andrea Paltzer, Program Coordinator Centro de Educacion Creativa Apartado 23-5655 Monteverde, Puntarenas, COSTA RICA
The extra special treat for us all for Halloween was that Heather L (Cassidy's godmother) was able to join us for the night as a side visit on a recruiting trip for CRMS. She was very impressed by the quintessential vermontness of the whole scene and we all had a blast. No one even threw up from all the candy they collected!!
(PHOTOS TO FOLLOW)
Friday, November 2, 2007
Dave’s sister Susannah and her kids Allison (4) and Timmer (2) (Martz) came for the first week of October from Florida. We were a bit worried about that many kids in Penny’s small house particularly because the girls (9 weeks apart) had a serious love hate thing going last year when they were three and Toby struggled with his boy cousin in his toddler years but turns our all our worries were for naught. The kids got along amazingly! Cassidy and Allison were inseparable from the start and were so happy hanging out with each other. They were even roomies for a few nights. Timmer absolutely adored his big boy cousin and his uncle Dave and Toby put up very well with being followed around by an admirer. He learned to tell Timmer that he wasn’t ready to talk yet in the morning (since he normally wakes up 2 hours after T and T would be pretty wound up by the time he came downstairs for breakfast). Then Timmer learned to turn that language around on us when HE woke up from his nap and would say “I not ready for talkin’, I gouchy (=grouchy)”. We had two visits with the Middlebury cousins while the Florida crew was here which was fun. Unfortunately I had to work that week so Suz and Dave did major kid duty and Suz in particular had the littles for a lot of the time. Toby and Dave had boys night out and saw the opening of the new Chris Sharma climbing movie in Hanover – Toby loved it!
Living in Vermont has shown all of us how amazing it can be to live in a verdant land. There are about 8 apple trees on the property (including one “Papple” tree which is a pear tree that cross pollinated with its neighboring apple tree) so we have apples coming out our ears! We have been making apple cider every weekend and drink nothing but that, water and milk. We have apples for snacks, apple sauce is a fun kid project and there have been many apple pies, apple crisps and apple cobblers! (We will welcome the change to mangos and bananas when we head south!). The garden has been producing all fall thanks to the unusually warm weather we’ve had here (global warming anyone?!). Aside from a splurge on broccoli now and then we have been making salads solely from the backyard – the kids love the process of harvesting the food and then revisiting it at the dinner table. We buy eggs from a neighbor down the hill who usually throws in a few purple potatoes because it thrills the kids so much. Since there are actually still working dairies in Vermont you can buy local milk and cheese at most stores and the local store sells beef from our neighboring farmers whose kids Dave went to school with. The kids usually make bread with their Meme once a week. There is a diner outside of Woodstock about 15 miles away which was mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver’s new book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” called the Farmers Diner which is typical diner fare but primarily with local ingredients – and its not any more expensive than the Red Rock Diner in Cdale!! . It is really inspiring how seriously Vermonters take the idea of eating locally and how truly easy it is here. Inspires me to plant a better garden next year in Carbondale but unfortunately we will be getting a very late start!!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday morning we headed to Rochester NY to see the Korfmacher cousins and do all the fun city stuff they told us about. Given that the drive was 6 hours the kids did amazingly well. We left early planning on a couple long stops but they were so excited to see their cousins they only let us stop once at a playground we passed en route. We arrived just as Ty and Stefan were done with school so we had lots of play time at their big beautiful house. They have an awesome rope swing and a zip line and great sidewalk loops for bike riding so there was lots to do. The big draw as far as Toby was concerned was Rochester’s National Museum of Play (Strong Museum). It is huge and by far the best kids museum I’ve ever been to. In addition to great exhibits of every variety they have historical exhibits of toys from the last two centuries. The big hits were – the butterfly garden (indoors with 30 varieties that land on you), adventures in storyland, making wizard hats, crowns, design your own bugs, miniature pirates, treasure chests etc, dance dance revolution (toby loved but never really figured out!) and a kid sized grocery store. The next day we hit up the Rochester zoo and then back to the Strong museum with my kids who would have moved in there if they could. Saturday got chilly but we went to watch Katrina play soccer (I almost got enlisted to play but a sub showed up and saved me from playing in my Capri pants and running shoes that didn’t fit!) and the kids rode bikes around. We decided to drive at night rather than deal with our recalcitrant travelers so we left after an early dinner, watched one video in the car, stopped for a potty break and put pj’s on the kids and crossed our fingers. Cassidy through a big but short fit until Dave squeezed into the backseat between them and they both fell asleep on his shoulders (very cute). So much for actually talking to each other in the car while they slept!! The next day was the perfect cool Vermont day and we went to the Tunbridge World’s Fair – a huge country fair about a half hour away with everything from antique motorcycle racing to historic reenactments, prize oxen raised by Penny’s old students, a 700 pound pumpkin raised by a class of pre-schoolers, pig racing, ferris wheel (kids and I rode), cotton candy, fried dough (with maple butter!!) and everything in between. We actually saw the only two families around our age that we knew at that point at the fair (among easily several thousand fair goers!) And the next day Shannon started work at Lyme Timber in Hanover!! Phew … more to follow when I can download some photos.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
After a night in Lincoln Nebraska we were on the road again, this time stopping just before Des Moines Iowa to ride on the Raccoon River Trail. from Redfield. This trail was a little oasis of shade and habitat surrounded by the ubiquitous corn fields of the midwest. We finished up with a dip in the river then a great lunch at the "Dairy Shoppe" - $3 hamburgers anyone?! We highly recommend the rest areas on I-70 in Iowa and Nebraska, shade, playgrounds and Wi-Fi- access, great spot for a picnic dinner that night then on past Chicago to spend the night in Howe Indiana. Our goal the next night was dinner at my sister's house in Rochester NY so we were out again early, this time stopping in Ashtabula, Ohio for another rail trail ride (hot and HUMID and unfortunately no river to dip in but very pretty trail that was mostly shady). The highway was no longer fun with tolls to pay and traffic to contend with so we were happy to arrive in Rochester and see the Korfmachers and their new house. We didn't have nearly enough time to hang with Katrina and family but the mom sensor was kicking in hard and I needed to see my kids!!! We took off the next morning at 10 and were in Andover by 4:30 - where we were greated by the clamourous chords of the "Wild Beavers" a new eclectic band featuring Pop on the accordian, Nana on cello, Cassidy on piano and Toby on the guitar!!! The kids had been on their absolute best behavior for the plane flight with Meme and the following three days with my parents. They had been to the beach, the aquarium, the swan boats, the library and local trails -slept well, ate well, said their pleases and thank yous and generally charmed everyone. So of course, they immediately fell apart when we came on the scene :)! After a visit with my aunt and uncle the next morning we finally headed out as the four of us to my parents lake house in Bethel Maine - the first real leg togethe as the "meyer family travelers" (or perhaps now to be renamed the "Wild Beavers"??. Next post I will update on our time so far in Maine.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Hi all - this is my first ever blogging attempt so let's hope it works! I know we aren't leaving Colorado for a month but we wanted to have a site set up before we left so we could direct all of our Cdale friends to it before we say goodbye. I'm hoping that we can use this to keep in touch with everyone and give the kids an easy outlet to communicate with their friends. Maybe their classes will be able to use it for some geography lessons too! That's all for now as this is really just a test.
You can email us while we are traveling at firstname.lastname@example.org