Saturday, January 30, 2010


Remember those cheesy B-movies of the 50's and 60's featuring Greek heroes (Hercules for instance)? Remember how there would be scenes of the Greek gods looking down at the hero of the movie, and messing with them.......usually for the amusement of the gods? Remember those movies? That concept has always stuck with me. Well the gods must be really bored because they are having a good time with me.

For instance, I almost never get sick. Period. Maybe a cold every other year, but literally nothing else. I don't get flu shots. I can eat food at work Friday (yogurt, cheese, etc) that I took to work Monday and didn't bother to refrigerate. I have always explained it ancestors must have been the poorest of the poor. The only way to continue the family line was to develop resistance to all illness and disease.

OK, now for the laughing gods part. On returning to Kansas for one last winter, I was hoping for an unusually mild know, it's the last winter, so....horrible, bitter winter. Absolutely loathsome.

Remember the '10 feet tall and bulletproof'' part? The 'I never get sick' part? I have never been this sick in my life. Never. It is just one thing after another, a variety of illnesses, injuries, infections, food poisoning and chronic pain. Even had my first car wreck in 30 years (my fault) munched my neck real good. It is unbelievable! It seems, that the week that I get over one thing, 'hello momma', here is something new.

So back to those pesky gods, you must be having a swell time ...... because I know I am not. Well, I haven't gotten a flu yet. I got the regular flu shot for the first time ever and the H1N1. Hah!

Gotta go now .... to the doctors....again. Seriously. No joke. I am headed for the doctor's right now. Some kind of nasty lung thing this time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Magical Math Day

How is this for magical math?

By my best reckoning, I have 79 contract days left until I am blissfully unemployed for the rest of my life.

Coincidentally, I have 77 days accumulated sick leave and 2 days personal leave available to me.

The math part: 79 - 77 - 2 = 0? That math is correct isn't it?

Brenda's comment: "I double dog dare ya!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It was (up to) 40° today. Yeah, that is Fahrenheit.
The snow is melted. Streets are dry.
So, what does that mean?


Yeah baby! Stoked up the hog and had a ball!

I am really going to miss my baby when I move to Cuenca.
It's a 1994, so I have had it (paid for) for a very long time.
Being 16 years old, also means that I cannot import it to Ecuador.

So what to do with my baby? Well, I am not going to sell it or give it away. "Give away", you ask? Not as far fetched as it sounds. Brenda made me give the Lexus SUV to our daughter. Yes that is give, spelled g-i-v-e. In order to make things fair between the kids, our son gets the same deal with my treasured Ford pickup. Apparently still not fair because the Lexus is worth a lot more. So the Ford goes to Alex with a glove box full of cash. (I would have been better off to just push both those rigs off a cliff.) Luckily, we only have 2 kids, so I get to sell the 2007 Toyota. Thank god!

Back to the Harley.....I have decided to keep it. I have arranged with a friend to keep it for me. He is an old Harley rider but currently doesn't own one. I will keep the registration and insurance current. He will ride it and keep it serviced. It is actually better for the bike to be ridden than to just sit. I will ride it again someday, somehow, some way. BUT I JUST CAN'T SELL IT!

So what will I do come June in Cuenca about a moto? Good motos in Ecuador are extremely obscenely expensive. The Chinese bikes are cheap...for a very good reason. Plus I am a full sized fella, and the Chinese bikes are only about 100 cc's. Hondas, Yamahas and Kawasakis are available and, although not Harleys, they are very good bikes. I have been looking at them here to get some ideas. The selection on the good Japanese bikes unfortunately appears very limited in Cuenca. I believe that Harleys are available at dealers in Quito and Guayaquil....again very expensive. Plus Harleys are mainly smooth pavement street cruisers. As much as I like them, I think maybe they are not right for the roads down there. Brenda is encouraging me to get whatever bike I want....god love her.

So the puzzle about what moto to get in Ecuador may be a fun one to solve....but must wait till another day.

Back to today. Glorious! Fired up the beast and a couple hours later my soul felt all sparkly and glistening ..... fairly singing with joy. Boys and motorcycles are a good match.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I will be the first to point out that most of my posts are sophomoric and attempts to amuse myself with low brow humor. However this post is both serious and terrifying.

Today the supreme court (in a 5 to 4 decision) decided that corporations could financially participate in the electoral process without limitation or restriction. Out and out bribery of politicians would still be illegal, but direct bribes are not necessary, when, with enough money, you can virtually guarantee the election of your hand picked legislator. There have always been limitations on the way corporations could spend money in the pursuit of a political cause or in support of a politician's future for a very good reason. But the gloves are off now.

Quite simply, corporations can now directly and without limit pay for political advertisements in support of (or in opposition to) any candidate or political cause it likes. Period. The corporation's new "right" allows them to inject as much money as they wish into the political process. Their new 'right' to finance and participate in the political process goes beyond this simple explanation, but the rest is just icing on their political cake.

This is the most horrifying thing that I have ever heard. Unlike most political issues....where the "issue is the issue" (no matter how distorted it gets), this is quite simply the whole ball game. All elections and political issues are effectively being put up for sale to the corporation with the deepest purse and the most to gain or lose by the outcome. Anyone who thinks that the amount of money spent either for or against a candidate or an issue doesn't make a difference is quite simply naive. This transcends any single issue or family of issues. This now becomes the ONLY ISSUE. It raises the spectre of all elections and issues now being resolved in the manner that is in the best interest of the corporations.

Many (most? all?) of us have long believed that the government (via our elected representatives) has long been for sale or rent. But there has always been some semblance or pretense of control or restriction. There has always been an attempt to mitigate the wholesale corruption of the political process by the special interests of big money. NO MORE.

To my knowledge, no legitimate government on earth allows this level of participation by corporations in the selection of its representatives and the formulation of it's national policies. Indeed, up until today, had we heard of such a government we certainly would have deemed it corrupt. We would have held it up as a government that does not even pretend to act in the best interests of it's citizens. Prior to today, if we had discovered one of our enemies trying to do this to us, we would carpet bomb their country border to border, collateral damage be damned.

I can see how some people might see some positive aspect of this if they are focused on a specific side of a specific issue. (Actually, I can't. But I believe that some people may feel that way.) But truly, how can this possibly be anything but in the worst possible long term interest of all of us (humans and citizens). Our government, with all of it's failings and weaknesses is at least supposed to serve, protect, and act in the best interest of it's citizens....not it's corporations. Can we even pretend this is the case if corporations are allowed to participate in the political process to such an extreme case as has now been made possible.

OK now comes the amusing or not so amusing part of it. Where I live, I have only one source for electrical and gas services for my home. These two corporations make profits on me and they can now spend as much of these profits as they like to influence legislation that is not in my best interest.

And now for a final fun thought. A large % of US corporations are now owned or controlled by foreigners or foreign entities. Consider how much of our national wealth we have given away every year via purchase of foreign oil and our massive federal deficit that is owned in large part by the Chinese. Now we are surrendering much more than our treasure.

The "Welcome to Washington, DC" sign can now be replaced. The only question is, do we replace it with a "For Sale" sign or a "Paying Customers Only" sign.

I am outraged and terrified.....for my children.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From the softer side...

New Year's Resolutions...

I've decided it would be way too humiliating to return to Cuenca and not be able to fit into the clothes I left behind last summer. Clarke and I have been doing a lot of 'comfort eating' these past few months and I now have ten extra pounds riding shotgun on my cheeks...and I'm not referring to my face! Ugggh. My second resolution is to start posting weekly on our blog. It will be a fun way to document the journey and to process my thoughts and feelings along the way.

I have a confession. I like clutter. Not messiness, mind you, but I do like to see my 'stuff' around me. I find it comforting. It drives Clarke crazy. I also save things. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a hoarder. I just like to keep stuff because it is so rewarding to find use for it later! Needless to say, I have had to do this 'downsizing' in phases. Phase 1 was the garage sale last spring - ouch. Phase 2 was getting the house ready to put on the market last August (easier because we had just returned from Cuenca and were 'gung ho'). We just completed Phase 3 and it was actually quite fun. Instead of giving Christmas presents we filled grocery sacks with "treasures" and gave it to the kids as gifts. There was only one rule "you don't have to keep it but you have to take it with you when you leave." You just never know when you might need a mummified alligator head (Clarke's) or a pair of black fruit salad pants (Brenda's).

I'm not big on materialism but I'm a sucker when it comes to sentimentality. I have saved every picture our kids drew for us and still have a note written by our daughter when she was 10. Because Clarke and I have such different tastes, we tended to argue when we remodeled. This particular note was written during one of our remodeling jobs and contains a quarter taped to a small piece of paper with these words penciled "When ever you guys disagree on remodeling or anything else just flip this coin and your problems will be solved." Out of the mouths of babes...

Guess what? There's a remodeling job waiting for us in Ecuador so I'm taking that note along for good measure.

Life is good~


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Happy New Year Posting

OK now, most people know about the miserable record breaking cold and blizzardy stuff going on here in the US, so I will not dwell on or bitch about it. Instead something light hearted, informative, and possibly amusing.

Apparently the Washington Post does a thing every year providing alternate definitions for words that we are already familiar with. So.....some samples:

Carcinoma (n) - a valley in California notable for it's heavy smog.

Abdicate (v) - to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Esplanade (v) - to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Unroll (n) - a breadstick.

Mortar (n) - what tobacco companies add to cigarettes.

Flabbergasted (adj) - appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Balderdash (n) - a rapidly receding hairline.

Innuendo (n) - an Italian suppository.

Semantics (n) - pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood.

Lymph (v) - to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (n) - an olive flavored mouthwash.

Instigator (n) - do-it-yourself reptile kit. Just add water.

Now wasn't that fun??