Laura Ingalls hits Los Angeles Sur/Early Week Ruminations

Published: June 14th 2005
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It’s almost 11pm now on Monday night. Beth has gone to bed—early for her but we did have a busy day. The two guests we have tonight through Wednesday night are asleep now too. Beth cooked a great dinner of bok choy (sp?), something akin to filet mignon, but we’re not quite sure, topped with a refreshing salsa mix. I must say she has been a real trooper so far. For someone who wanted to stop cooking for a while, she’s cooked numerous breakfasts for guests—even just for me on occasion—and several dinners. All of them have been terrific, particularly given the “frontier” environment she has been living in.

And it is a frontier environment. She moved from a big city with all its conveniences (and headaches too) to a small farm with horses and chickens and humidity and bugs and composts and dead horses buried somewhere on the farm. She’s definitely “Laura Ingalls meets the country.” It’s not easy at all, particularly for a woman I believe, but one cannot beat the clean air, lack of traffic congestion—you park basically anywhere you want in downtown San Ramon with no meter maids, no parking in front of entrances, diplomatic parking, street sweeping, and so on! I think in the end she’ll have a fuller life and be glad she made the move, even if you she doesn’t right now. I know I will. I couldn’t have made this move without here!

Ray (stunningly handsome according to Beth) and his wife, talkative Elizabeth are great guests. They stayed with us Friday night and came back today for three nights. A yuppie, well-to-do couple from Northern California, they are building a house over in Nosara near the northern Pacific Coast. Ray’s an artist/graphic designer/creative type and I believe Elizabeth is a horse trainer among other things. They’re very interested in Burning Man, so I’ll be putting them in touch with my friends Jim and Basem.

Today we spent much of the day with our new neighbors—Fernando and MaryEllen. A couple in their 60s (my guess), they live in the house just down the dirt road from us. Beth spent the morning with them, learning about the places to buy locally grown produce, milk, and other items. Then around lunchtime, they picked us up and we ate at a terrific seafood place in town (yes, I ate the steak as usual!). For $4 each, it was a bargain! After lunch they showed us places they think are good for shopping—hardware store, grocery store, the paint shop, video rental place, etc.

Fernando and MaryEllen have been terrific, taking us under their wings (particularly MaryEllen with Beth) and helping us understand where to shop, when to shop, who’s bad, who’s good, and soon. Terrific advice!

MaryEllen is a great. She’s big, tough, bossy (by her own confession) and doesn’t take sh*t from anyone. At the hardware store, she told the clerk: “You are going to give my friends a discount aren’t you, since I brought them to you and they will be customers in the future.” I assume she got a nice discount herself. We learned more about the people of Angel Valley from her—things we wouldn’t know by just talking to them. One of the tings we learned today which we LOVE, is that her maid makes amazing tamales and sells them for about $.60 a piece. We sampled then then bought 20! They’ll be great for guests for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The goal is to offer great food—but mostly local food and local dishes. Why come to Costa Rica if all you are going to eat is American-style food.

Fernando is equally nice. He is the opposite of MaryEllen which I assume is why they get along so well. Born in Guatemala, he’s quiet but friendly, and generally speaks when he really has something to say. I know I’ll enjoy spending time with him.

Okay, I’m getting tired now so I’ll write more in the next few days and post again near the end of the week. Look for my pictures of downtown San Ramon then!

More soon!

Pura Vida!!



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