Happy Independence Day, Costa Rica!

I love you with my whole soul and we are going to miss you so much. Thank you for your green green green and your rain rain rain and at least half the world’s animals (including a boa constrictor on our front door). You brought me countless incredible, unbelievable adventures. (As my grandpa would say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”) You taught me how to be brave, how to run wild, how to love like a sunset on fire. You gave me Ceiba.

Now I have millions of memories and the kind of stories that I’ll tell my children one day. You grew me well and raised me right. I hope that I can make you proud and one day give back to you even a fraction of what you’ve given me. No matter where in the world I am, I love you, and you will always have a massive chunk of my homegrown heart. Te amo.

“May we all get to grow up in
our red, white, and blue little town…

May we all do a little bit better than the first time,
learn a little something from the worst times,
get a little stronger from the hurt times.

May we all get to have a chance to ride the fast one,
walk away wiser when we crashed one,
keep hoping that the best one is the last one.

Yeah, you learn to fly
and if you can’t,
then you just free fall.

May we all.”

forest 1forest 2

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Heads Costa Rica, Tails California: Part 1

*The title of this post is taken from a Jo Dee Messina song, although in my case, as you shall soon see, California is definitely not the “somewhere greener, somewhere warmer” option. 😉

shineA very accurate representation of how he shines and lights me right up.

Well, folks, I have some big news.

The way I told everyone went like this: “Ceiba and I are moving to California.”

That was back in May/June/July. I had visited California in May for about a week and a half, and at some point, I had a big (and very unexpected) revelation. I realized that I needed to move back to California as soon as possible. In my next blog post, I’ll write more about how this all came about, clarify some points, and mention additional plans for the future.

I had actually been living and studying in California from the summer of 2011 until the end of 2014, but I ended up moving back to Costa Rica. Although I am originally “from” the United States, my family moved to Costa Rica for the first time when I was about 5 years old, and although I have lived in other countries as well, I have spent the majority of my life in Costa Rica. It feels like home to me.

But sometimes you need to leave home to further develop in new ways, explore life, and gain access to certain opportunities. I had a lot of really important and life-changing experiences last time I lived in California, but ultimately, I needed to go back to Costa Rica (“Who says you can’t go home?”, right?). This time is different though. This is the real deal… we’re in it to win it, and I’m going to be here for awhile.

Oh, yes… I’m already in California. I arrived on August 26th. Unfortunately, my darling dog is still in Costa Rica, though I plan to bring him here in early to mid 2018. I wish very much that it could be sooner, but unfortunately that’s not going to be possible. Thankfully I’ll be able to spend some time with him in January and February.

I started school three weeks ago (it’s great to be back; I have always loved and appreciated my college campus). I’m finishing up the studies needed to get my Associate’s Degree (which should be completed by the end of next year). I’ll be majoring in Psychology, but I think that I’ll also be getting Associate’s Degrees in Spanish, Humanities, and Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Then I’m going to get my Bachelor’s Degree (and ideally continue my education after that; I just have a lot to learn about the different degrees and the processes involved in getting them). The idea for my Bachelor’s is that it would be in Animal Behavior (or it looks like it might have to be in Animal Science, with an emphasis in Animal Behavior).

I’m also interested in learning more about the Karen Pryor Academy and Pat Miller’s Intern Academies or Apprentice Programs. I know that sometimes people mention Animal Behavior College, but I honestly haven’t heard very good things about it, and it’s not on my list.

I’d also like to learn more about Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, but although it’s a lengthy, in-depth program that generally takes two years to complete, it’s solely online. Because of that (and possibly other reasons), I don’t think that it’s the right choice for me… although the 28 page syllabus thrills me, of course. If anyone has any feedback about the aforementioned options (or others), please do let me know!

This move been a great, much-needed change and an important step in the right direction. That being said, I do miss my boy so much, and I can’t wait to be back with him again… January, hurry up!

spoon“Hey, baby, I’m missin’ you like crazy…”

baby ball

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About That Photobucket Fiasco…

You may have heard about the huge Photobucket drama that happened recently. I had started writing out a whole rant that I was going to post here, but I’m still too frustrated and flummoxed at the moment, to be honest. (Especially because I’ve been using Photobucket for at least twelve years, since I myself was just a twelve-year-old kid.)

For right now, let’s just say that my blog has been overtaken and destroyed by those miserable black and grey “3rd Party Hosting” images. Today I started to slowly rebuild from the ruins. It’s going to take awhile because my Photobucket account randomly won’t let me access certain pictures that are saved in my library.

I’d like to believe that this is just a glitch (that many folks have had to deal with), rather than Photobucket purposefully being evil and waiting for us to fork over the $399 in desperation… but like to believe is the key phrase here and, as Fall Out Boy would say, “The best part of ‘believe’ is the ‘lie.'” But sorry, Photobucket — as Fall Out Boy would also say, “The best of us can find happiness in misery,” and you’re not getting a rusty penny from me, ever.

Also, I just read an article that mentioned an interview with Photobucket’s chief executive, John Corpus. There’s a part that says:

Was the customer backlash expected?

Corpus paused. For 12 seconds.

“No,” he finally said.

If you have to pause for twelve seconds before answering a simple question… then perhaps there’s something amiss?

Also, here’s Ceiba being beautiful (and saving the day, as always).

Mi amor

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A Billion Baths (Just kidding… only FIVE.)

Two weeks ago, don Ubaldo and I bathed all five dogs.

Bath Day 2
After Ceiba’s bath… “Gia, why. WHY.” Sorry, bun.

Bath Day 2
“Don’t ‘bun’ me.”

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Rain Freeman, Hamstar Extraordinaire

Adorable hamster-sized cabin made by the almighty Mau, and fancy photos by the magical Miss Mari. ❤ All modeling done by Rain Freeman. And yes, it’s exhausting to be that cute.



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Gotcha Day Celebrations (ft. Uncle Mau)

Saturday, June 3rd was Ceiba’s Gotcha Day.

I made biscuits for Ceiba (and the Schnauzer Squad).
I used wheat flour, water, an egg, oatmeal, and bits of hot dog.


Dough 2

Dough 3

Biscuits 3

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June 3rd: Happy Gotcha Day, Ceiba Soul!

Gia, Ceiba, Mau
June 3rd, 2017 — Celebrating with Ceiba’s Uncle Mau.


It’s been two whole years since I officially brought you home. You became mine and I became yours, a mutual new immersion that we were still figuring out.

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