Sunday, February 23, 2014

THE 2014 ATENAS CHARITY CHILI COOK-OFF

February 9, 2014


WHAT A SUCCESS!!!

Last year, the event had over 1,700 attendees and raised a total of $20,000 for the kids at Hogar de Vida - This was an outstanding accomplishment thanks to the many people involved and the outpouring of generosity from many, many people. However, it is difficult to imagine what happened this year:

MANY GREAT SPONSORS  ALONG WITH OVER 2,000 ATTENDEES, AND A FANTASTIC COMMITTEE WHO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER WITH THE SUPPORT OF MANY WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS - THE END RESULT....

$34,000 

YES, THAT IS CORRECT - A WHOPPING 
$34,000 US DOLLARS!!!

This was an outstanding accomplishment. Stef worked really hard on this as Chairperson for the second year in a row. However, due to an unexpected medical situation at the last minute, she had to turn her responsibilities over to Judy Timson. Judy took the reins and made it happen. Congratulations to Stef, Judy and the entire team for an outstanding piece of work because:

IT'S FOR THE KIDS!!!

And, your efforts are sincerely appreciated.

Now, we have just been informed that - the pole has officially been raised for next year!!


This is a link to some pictures we just received:


More pictures and details to follow:

Monday, February 3, 2014

What a Great Hospital!!!

Costa Rica was recently chosen for being
 #4 in the World for Excellent Health Care

And, I can give you a perfect example of why........

It was time for Stef to take her annual physical. For some reason, she wanted to do this at Hospital Catolica on the north side of San Jose.                       

In the process, some concerns came up from the results of her mammogram, and more tests had to be performed. They also suggested that she see a specialist at the hospital. His name was Dr, Medina who spoke English and had all kinds of diplomas from US medical schools on his wall. I got very concerned about the urgency they put on the subject and got my friend Dr. Roy Mora involved  to help with consulting.so we would have a better grasp on what was happening. (remember Dr Roy? selected as the top medical scientist in Costa Rica by the President?) 

Dr Roy receiving the award from President Laura Chinchilla 

After the additional testing had been completed, Drs Medina and Roy explained to Stef that she had breast cancer and that one would have to be removed immediately. Two days later, she was in the operating room having the surgery done. Two days after that, she was released from the hospital.

All I can say is that these doctors saw an immediate need and acted quickly. This was a good decision on their part because a year earlier, there was no cancer and it spread very fast. 

Dr Madina and the entire hospital staff were absolutely outstanding. I don't think that she could have received better care anywhere else. In the US, this operation would have cost in excess of $50,000. The complete cost here was less than $10,000, and this included everything right up to a two day stay in a fantastic private room.

The results of the surgery were that Stef would not require radiation and would need 6 chemo treatments. Now, another price comparison - I heard that in the US, this would cost at least $10,000 per session. She is getting it done for less than $2,000 - And, in another first class facility.

Based on what I have seen of the doctors and medical facilities in this situation, I have only one thing to say:

AM I GLAD THAT THIS HAPPENED IN COSTA RICA!!

The medical professionals here make it obvious that -- THEY CARE


Will keep you updated on Stef's progress














Saturday, December 21, 2013

Another Holiday Wish

Well, Stef got this idea in her head that we should go International this year with Christmas. She took me to  some movie studio here in Costa Rica where we did this video - I really hope you enjoy it. Again - Please have a very Merry Christmas!!


Click here: ? JibJab Christmas 2013 Movie - YouTube


Pete & Stef

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

November 28, 2013

A few years ago, we started a tradition of inviting friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving and to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. As more and more people from the US decide to settle down in Atenas, the guest list gets bigger every year - That is a good thing as both Stef and I love to see people meet others and enjoy their time here. The more the merrier!!

This year, we enjoyed the company of about 80 friends to join us at our humble abode. I really sincerely feel that they had a good time and enjoyed an abundance of fine food that everyone brought to share. These are only a few of the pictures.





Your's truly and the hostess with the most-est






                                                                             


The group is starting to gather - seeing old friends and meeting new ones.










Ana Cecilia's "world famous shuttle service" is back in action







Mmmmmmmmmm 
Looking Wonderful











We had so much food that we had to get another table to hold it all.









What a crowd -Think we had some hungry folks here











And then, the dessert table that had plenty to go around










A great couple & good friends from Nashville, who have made Atenas their home
We also had people here from France, Italy and Switzerland - Atenas is becoming very diversified









Hey - can you pass me some more food?










More new-comers to Atenas and enjoying it










Some great friends from Germany




Yep, the ol'e house was pretty well rocking










And, then we have some of the kids!!


I think you can agree that we had a pretty good time,
 and finding great food was absolutely no problem 

Until Next Time


Sunday, November 3, 2013

2014 Atenas Chili Cook Off

Don't forget to mark your calendars for February 9, 2014 for the 7th Annual Chili Cook Off - Stef and the crew are already in the planning stages for what I think is going to be the
 biggest and best yet!!



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hoping That You Have a Fun, Fun Halloween!!

This is a little video that I wrote, produced, and directed staring some local and international stars. - Please Enjoy :-)


video




Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Birthday Girl

Friday - August 9, 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen - Another beautiful sunny day in Costa Rica and the celebration of the birth of my lovely wife. Here's to you Sweetheart


With the help of several of our friends, we were able to put together a pretty nice party for her at one of our favorite restaurants - EL GUANACASTE. By the time everyone was seated, we had about 25 good friends who attended and a good time was had by all. Take a look...




As you can easily see, things started out in a nice subdued friendly way typical of people our age :-)



Good friends and neighbors having a nice conversation









Stef walking around and greeting everyone















Then I gave a little dedication to the love I have for my wife, which may have embarrassed her a little bit, but this girl is the love of my life and I couldn't help it.








Now, this is our very dear friend Mercedes whom I consider to be like a daughter to me. She was instrumental in helping put the party together and baked what people often refer to - as the best cake they ever put into their mouth -  Do you see that grin on her face? Kind of looks like she has something on her mind  - Well, guess what? I am a pretty good judge and was completely correct - SHE DID - But first, let me show you the cake she made.





Now, Does that not look delicious?



Well, Mercedes started to get things rock'n a bit, but she started off slow & easy with Stef and our good friend Bek. Are those Tequila shots they are having? Oh Boy








Then Mercedes gets a few of the girls up to the bar for more. Then, there were more girls, and they were obviously having a good time.












As you can see here, the men are having a nice quiet conversation






But, they got going too and... - It was decided to give Stef another 
Happy Birthday Toast 
 Hope you all had a wonderful night - I know that Stef did


This is Dina Duffy with Marco who is the owner of El Guanacaste - He kinda looks worn out and relieved that we are leaving for the night. Now, you can see what he puts up with when Stef has a Birthday :-) 
Thank you Marco and also to all your great staff.


 I guess that you can see that all of us Seniors know how to celebrate a Birthday here in Costa Rica

Until the next one...








Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stef's Art Ability - Progressing

As many of you know, that Stef got into painting with water colors a couple of years ago. During this year, she started into painting with oil, and her work is getting rather impressive. This is her first completed piece of work:


I am impressed - she has a new instructor who she thinks the world of. His name is Larry Felder who is another Expat who moved to Atenas with his wife Linda about a year ago. Stef really enjoys doing this, and I am not about to stand in her way because I see a real talent here. - You Go Girl!!!



Friday, May 31, 2013

A Great Pair of Girls

May 31, 2013
Today marks the time when two of our renters headed back to their homes in the US. These are a couple of great ladies who stayed at Casita de Bell for a couple of months and then moved over to our place at Casita Mango, where they stayed for the entire month of May.

Martha & Marcelly

They were born in El Salvador and now reside in the Carolina's where they are in the Electrical Contracting business, and I have been told that they excel in what they do.

These girls were an absolute pleasure to have stay with us, and did a lot to help us out wherever they could. I wanted to let you know about them through this post because they left a very strong and lasting impression with Stef and me about how great people can be.

You girls are welcome back any time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

FIRE - This is Not an April Fool's Joke

April 1, 2013

We have had one heck of a Dry "Dry Season" as it has not rained in at least 3-4 months. Every year, I understand more and more why the people like the "Rainy Season" much better. During the rainy season, things are green. During the dry season, things are brown, and that spells danger in some cases. This danger came true in Hacienda Atenas yesterday.

During the past 10 days, our fire department has been extremely busy fighting brush fires. Lately, it seems like that anytime day or night you drive by there the truck in gone. In addition, they had a tragedy last week and lost one the firefighters - You can get the details on that from a post I put up a couple of days ago. Stef found out the other day that the Costa Rica Fire Department has 400 paid firefighters throughout the country and 1,400 volunteers. In Atenas, there is one paid person and everyone else are volunteers. Well, it seemed that April 1st was no joke for them either....

It started around mid morning while I was in a meeting on the terraza with a couple of marketing people. Our gardener Noel came around the corner saying "Fuego, Fuego" and pointing to the hill above our house. Sure as we were standing there, something was burning and it wasn't anything small either. I called Ana Cecilia to call the fire department, but she found out the Atenas Fire Department was fighting 3 other fires in the Atenas Area. - After about 45 Minutes, a fire truck pulled in from the Alajuela department. Alajuela is a very large town about 10 miles east of Atenas. Here are a few pictures of what they had to put up with





I guess you can say it got pretty close to our property. In fact, we did lose some Green Bamboo trees up along the road, but my friend Vincent says they will grow back. The firemen got just about everything watered out, but there were some concerns about two very large trees up on the lot above us. The fire got to both of them and they started burning on the inside of the trunks. Things were pretty well over with around 3:30 PM. And, would you believe it? It started raining like crazy for the first time in over 4 months!!!! This helped to extinguish much more of the potential dangers. - Kind of think that someone was looking down on us.

Now, these fires can really throw a scare into some people, and Stef is one of them. She did not care for those two trees smoldering inside. She ended up keeping an eye on them for a few hours from a lounger by the pool and then slept on the chair in the living room the rest of the night.

Gerald, who also watches over our house at night was keeping a keen eye on making sure we were safe. Just as a precaution, about 9:00 PM I called him and asked him to keep a special eye on those trees. He called me back about 15 minutes later and said in Spanish "Bombaro's are on the way" - to me, that meant there was a problem. I met him back at the top of the hill overlooking my house. Here, we had two very large trees. Both burning pretty good. One that could easily fall down onto my house and the other, which could take out the electrical and telephone wires when it went down. The firemen got there and slowed down the fires, but said that both tree's must be cut down for safety reasons. Here they are the next morning just before they started to cut them down. You can tell the size by comparing them to the truck in the picture.


Never a dull day in Costa Rica - At least we are all safe, thanks to our friends, the firemen and the rain.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our Humble Abode is On The Market

Well, we went and did it. Yours Truly got a bug to build another house so we put our house on the market to get the cash to do this.

One thing that I really enjoy doing is to work on the design and over-see the construction of a new home built in Costa Rica. By being involved  in several of these projects since moving here I have learned alot about how they are built. And, it is nothing like someone coming from the US would imagine. 

I guess that I am starting to get a little bored and want to work on a major project before I get too old to do it. What we have now is great, a wonderful home in a nice gated community, a very attractive large lot that has won awards for it's landscaping, and a guest house that has given us some additional income when our friends aren't visiting. But, I gotta do what my mind tells me to do - KEEP BUSY.

We have it listed through 3 selected Realtor's that we trust and respect. Yep, that can be done here in Costa Rica.  If you know of someone who may be looking - the contact information for them and the listing link is (in alphabetical order with ladies first):

Go Dutch Realty - Isabelle Jones
http://www.american-european.net/listing-spoil-yourself-with-luxury-and-captivating-beauty-in-atenas-5827.html


Pure Life Development - Dennis Easters


Bridging Worlds - Loek van Mook



We will see what happens - wish us luck

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Tragic Loss

Thursday - March 28, 2013


There are two organizations that Stef and I really care for. One is the local Red Cross who we have seen does an outstanding job when needed. And, then there is the Atenas Fire Department - With the exception of the chief, we understand that these people are all volunteers - They don't go out to a fire because of money - they do it because they care, and that is so very important. When called to Hacienda Atenas to put out a fire, they have always responded. We have done some small things to help them out and are also friends with several of them. 

Late yesterday afternoon we were informed that one of them had been killed while fighting a fire. Andres was only 31 years old. He was a music teacher who leaves a wife and two small children. His funeral will be held today at 3:00 PM - May He Rest in Peace.

One thing that really hit me hard is that when I was in town the other day, the fire department had been called out to a fire. While I was walking down the street and the fire truck past me with it's lights and sirens going - I looked up and saw Andres in the back seat ready for action. I really don't think that I will ever forget that. 

Photo: Mi hermano y amigo de toda la vida. Hoy Dios decidio llevarte a su lado con planes para ti que no podias cumplir en vida. Lamento mucho la perdida tan grande que tengo en este momento y no solamente yo. Tus amigos tambien. 
Mi pesame va para su familia quienes se han conservado amigos tambien desde hace muchos años y niñez. Edelma Mario Fiorela José Pablo Cruz Castro Mile Cruz Karol Chaves Loría De lo mas interno de mi corazon Lo siento demasiado de verdad. es algo fuerte de aceptar y duro de superar. Hoy se nos fue una persona que muchos estimabamos y queriamos con el corazon y mis condolencias van hacia todos usts quienes hoy lloran junto con todos nosotros la partida de Andres. Aunque se nos fue haciendo lo que le gustaba, aun no deja de doler el saber que hoy no estara con nosotros en vida si no mas que nada en espiritu. Pido a Dios la fortaleza para todos ustedes en familia sea apoyen mutuamente y aqui nos tienen a todos nosotros para ayudarles a salir poco a poco. Me disculpo no estar con ustedes en este momento. Semana Santa semana de pedir por El para que su camino al lado de Dios sea un bendicion y liberacion. 

Taty Chacon José Pablo Cruz Castro Oscar Mario Víquez Lilliana Víquez Murillo Pri Vega Edwin Vega Freddie Monge Karla Mariela Guzmán Mora Christopher Barrientos B Y todos los demas .. Ayudenmos en Oracion a la familia Cruz Castro a superar este momento que no se nos es facil a nosotros mucho menos a ellos.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Finally Had One in Our Yard

We have lived here for over 4 years and never saw a Toucan in the yard. Finally, one afternoon Stef calls me to come out with the camera. Well, here it finally is in all of it's beautiful splendor.




Now, all I have to do next is to get one of the 6 monkeys people tell me are in the neighborhood. - Some day....



Monday, February 25, 2013

Friends, Friends, and More Friends Here

February 2013

This is the time when our great friends find their way out of the US and down to our little piece of paradise south, south of the boarder. It started out with Bob & Carol several years ago and then Charlie - Soon the word got out and more came this year. Stef and I loved every minute of it and were happy to see some people we haven't seen in years. At one point, we had a BBQ for about 20 of our friends and it was great.

Just Hang'n Out and Relaxing






Bob & Carol from last year's Boat Trip celebrating Bob's Birthday












Charlie & Victoria with a beautiful Costa Rica night time background










Ed & Johanna getting ready to party 












New This Year - Our great friends from Nashville, Billy & Vanesa










More New Visitors from Nashville - (clockwise)
Myles Sloan, his wife Leslie Sloan
Kevin Pugh, Carol (you know her already), and then Kevin's wife Annie Pugh





Camera shy - was our good friend from Boston - Kathleen Reardon who brought a couple of her friends 





I can tell you right now - that this is one hell of a party crew!!!
You owe it to yourself to read on to the next couple of postings
(I set them at an earlier date to keep them in order)


Sunday, February 10, 2013

ATENAS CHILI COOK-OFF 2013

February 10, 2013 - The Day!!

WOW!!!!
That is all any one can say about this year's event. It was unbelievable!!! 

When Stef and I moved here, we attended the 2008 Chili Cook-Off - there were about 30 of us in attendance, 5 chili teams and they made $300 - Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and everyone had a great time. I just want to use that as a comparison as to how things can grow in a short period of time. 

Last year, at the 2012 event, there were over 1,000 attendees and they were able to raise $5000 to give to the Hogar de Vida.

This year - Check it out

1,700+ ATTENDEES
$20,000 RAISED FOR THE KIDS!!!!

Absolutely Unbelievable...

The CCO committee worked many months to put this event together, and got a lot more sponsors involved this year who were instrumental in helping to make it a success. I can probably state that this is probably the largest annual event in Atenas, and is getting close to being the largest expat event in Costa Rica. It was started by Kay & Tom Costello of "Kay's Gringo Postres" and is for a very worthy cause.


This is a home for abandoned, abused, or orphaned children located here in Atenas. They are supported to a certain extent by the Government, but no where near enough needed to make it work. So Kay & Tom decided to help, and the tradition has been carried on. The theme of the entire event has become to be known as "It is for the Kids"

To see a Great Video on this Wonderful Event, please click the link below:

Their newly revised website contains a lot of information and more pictures of the event - Please check it out by clicking the link below:


Now, one more thing that I need to very proudly mention is - that the chairperson of the 2013 committee just happened to be my lovely wife Stef who has now been asked to be the chairperson for the 2014 Event. After what she and her fellow committee members did this year, it is going to be a big one to beat. However, I have all the confidence in the world with this team.  

Just to give you some advance notice, the 

2014 Atenas Chili Cook Off 
is Scheduled for
February 9, 2014