Costa Rica

Flamingo’s Fixin’ to Fly!


Flamingo is a chameleon! I first got her in Miami at the “Pink Palm” gift shop. She was a shining beauty, but not cheap. I promised myself I would buy her as a reward after my next real estate sale when I worked for Majestic Properties in South Beach. All the closings were brutal, so I had to entice myself to keep going. Usually, I bought a dress or a piece of jewelry. This time I had my eye on the Flamingo.

When I moved to Florida from San Francisco, I expected to see live flamingos strolling in the streets. I never saw one. I saw the same plastic flamingos that live in trailer parks all over America. The day I took Francisca home, I had a happy heart. She was a cut above the other flamingos! No plastic flamingo here – she is pure ummmm, composite press-board?

She endeared herself to me so much, I simply could not leave her behind when it came time to move back to California. I was so happy to reunite with old friends, and Francisca was looking for a fresh start in her new community. She didn’t want people to think she was that Francisca, who had a reputation for carousing on Lincoln Road at all hours. She had been known to hang out in the Cuban Club guzzling mojitos and dancing Santeria with the locals.

She became Florence of Capitola and stood sentinel on the porch of our home on Jewell Street. The strollers got to know and love Florence, the Flamingo. I would often come home to find a beautiful flower lei around her neck, or a bunch of stargazer lilies laid at her feet – pink, of course!

When things went sour with the man in Santa Cruz, and it was, once again, time to move on, Florence, was all for the move. She whispered to me that she missed the warm, tropical climate of her youth, a light-bulb went off. Yes! Let’s so South. Let’s go where it’s warm. Let’s go to Costa Rica!

As luck would have it, I met a new man who also wanted to move to Costa Rica. It turned out we had known each other twenty years prior when my daughter and I took dressage lessons. He was the instructor I had a crush on! When we re-met and realized we had common interests, common goals, and similar values. Or so I thought and chose to believe.

Off we went to the land of  “Pura Vida” to live happily ever after. We agreed to build a new life together starting from scratch and a clean slate. We each dissolved our personal possessions, packed our allotted two suitcases per person, and were ready to go.

But wait!

What about Florence?

“I know, I know!” I cried. Tyler (my son) is coming down to see Nonnie soon – and he’s bringing friends. Yes! They pack light and can each carry an extra suitcase (they didn’t charge extra back then).

“Who’s Nonnie?”

“Oh, that’s my mom. She lives in Guanacaste in a palace overlooking the ocean. The whole family likes to go there. It’s a mini-resort with the best pool in the world and the Howler monkeys lurking in the trees. It’s a magical place!

We stuffed Florence into a hard-sided suitcase, drove it to San Francisco, and handed it off to Tyler’s friend, Eli.

“Hey, thanks, Eli. This is an important piece of cargo. Just so you know, in case they x-ray the bag and question you, there are no drugs inside the Flamingo. The iron bars are her legs. I had to separate them ’cause they wouldn’t fit. If they question you, they can look up her leg-holes. Do not let them crack her open, OK?

“Why did I have to get the Flamingo? Why couldn’t I get the bag with the sheets and towels?” He sighed. “OK, fine. See you in Nosara.”

When we were reunited, and once again living in a Latin culture, Florence became Feliciana, and life was good.

It was good for a year and a half. It was good until the new man became miserable. Feliciana and I were lucky to have Toby, the extra-large Chocolate Lab to protect us. The new man was gone a lot due to work-related travel. He came home less and less until he stopped coming all together.

“Feliciana, I think we’ve been abandoned!”

And so, this chapter closes and another one begins. Flamingo is fixin’ to fly. California, here I come!

Florence is ready for the Rodeo

Florence is ready for the Rodeo

I heard-tell she wants to be known as Josephine – the “F” names just aren’t working for her.

She’s a little beat up, but still smiling. She’s sitting in a box waiting. I hope the movers don’t lose her legs which don’t fit in the box. If that happens, I’ll just set her in a porch swing until I can get new legs made.

Oh, and my stilettos are ready to strut right along with her.

Stiletto Struttin' with Flamingo

Stiletto Struttin’ with Flamingo

See ya later, Costa Rica. I’ll be back real soon!


22 thoughts on “Flamingo’s Fixin’ to Fly!

  1. Hi C….I don’t know why I thought of Joan Rivers when I saw the shoes but I did and I laughed…..your stories are priceless and I hope to see you on the “Ellen” show one of these days……


  2. I have been out of touch for the past month due to a very bad reaction to a prescribed drug. You are moving back to the US?????? I wish for you what you wish for yourself…even if sometimes we don’t even know what that is at the moment. 🙂


  3. good post CJ. I have a good idea for your next seven posts, or perhaps your next book. Except for perhaps Elizabeth Taylor, you have been married more than any other woman I know of. and what a better way to help yourself and others learn thru experience than to recount each husband before the marriage, and then after the marriage. Perhaps quote each particular ex if you can still find them and get each guys’ comments on his view of expectations going in and disappointments coming out of each marriage. and for sure there will be fodder for good humor in the tellings!! anyway, just a thought.

    I will be driving thru this Wednesday afternoon so will call your # if your still in CR to meet for a copy of your tome. gary k


    • Thanks for the suggestion. I have already started the book called “The Husbands” and yes, it will have all that. And more. Two are dead. (natural causes and NOT while we were married), Some were only 6 monthers. And, NO! I did not finance my life with divorces. I usually left with less than I came in with. That will be in the book, too. Hahahaha!! Never could do the “marry for money” thing. Names have been changed! K, Wed. Call 8423-1980. Thanks for the support!


  4. Carole, keep the blog going and if you’re ever out on Hwy 62 near Joshua Tree, let us know…we can fortify you with some fresh Hatch salsa and Hatch chiles….Best, Stef


    • see CJ!!! I told you NM Green chile was the best chile in the world. ( Hatch NM chile has the rep. lemintar NM chile is actually better!! ) Personally I think your leaving CR so you can duck out on the next Atenas Chile Festival when I make my debut w/ world famous NM green chile stew. it’ll blow the socks off any of that other stuff people call chile!!! :0) lol


  5. Josephine – we have the perfect spot for you to rest up after your travels. You can stand protected from the elements on our deck and look out towards the ocean. Come and spend time with us, please?
    Carole – another brilliant post! Darn it, I wish I could write as you do….


    • Thanks much, dear Sally! Good you made it back safe and sound. I love the sound of your perfect spot. I hope to get there some day soon. Will be in SoCal to start, then Lake Havasu to work on a book project. Oh yeah – Extra-Large Toby will be with me, too! Hugs! CJ


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