Happy New Year!

So long 2008! Come on in, 2009! This was one of the best years of my life – I started out in Costa Rica and ended up – after trying to move here for almost 20 years – in France! May all your dreams come true, too.

Here’s some reading material and ideas for New Year’s Resolutions:

Update (Grant a wish: Send a card)

I’m very sorry to report that Kyle Roger passed away on 7 February 2009. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Original post: A 7-year-old boy from Bellingham, WA named Kyle Roger has an inoperable brain tumor. His wish is to receive cards from all over the world, so no matter where you are, please take a few minutes to jot a note and mail it to the address below. Kyle’s blog


OK, I’m going to do a little free publicity for something that I couldn’t live without – my mailbox. When I moved to Costa Rica last year, I realized that I needed a permanent solution to the mail problem. While I pay all of my bills and check my bank accounts online, and I got rid of all the junk mail, there’s still always a bunch of stuff coming. The post office will only forward it to an address in the US, and I didn’t really want to ask a friend to take care of that for me, so instead I researched mailing services. The one I chose was USABox, and I couldn’t be happier. Continue reading


I went to an acupuncturist last year, and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. My lower back was spasming (due to a bizarre sort of injury I’d apparently sustained on a zip line) and I was in agony. (I was also in Maine visiting my mother-in-law, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it.) I decided to try acupuncture, but the “recommended” guy was unavailable, so I had to pick a name out of a phone book. This person practiced out of his home, which in theory I have no problem with. However, his kids were there too, and no one was there to take care of them. So he cracked my back (which was fantastic – I wish I could have that done every day) and then stuck me with a bunch of needles, hooked me up to this electrical impulse that pounded through my body, put a heat lamp over the whole shebang, and left me to “heal.” Nothing hurt, exactly, but it was so strange that I felt uncomfortable. (The crying baby a few rooms away didn’t help a lot either.) He came back 10 minutes later with his daughter, aged 7, who asked if she could take the needles out and actually started reaching toward one. This startled me, to say the least, and my subsequent jump probably undid the good (if any) that the treatment had done, because the next day my back spasms were worse than ever. This time, though, I ended up just loading up on painkillers and moving as little as possible.

I know that this wasn’t a normal acupuncture session, but I’m still a little hesitant to try again. If my allergies don’t improve soon, I’ll reconsider.

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