Tuesday, July 27, 2010

(Brennie) WENT KINDA NUTS......

WELL NOW ..... Have you ever let yourself get too hungry? Let the old blood sugar bottom out? Get desperate for food .... complete with the shakes and cold sweats? End up eating like a maniac and can't stop? Absolutely driven to eat?

UMMM ..... That's not exactly what happened. However, apparently we DID wait a little too long before we went shopping for decent plates and bowls and stuff like that. (We have been using some very special plates purchased from Cr*pTown Originals the first week we were here.) We just waited too long to replace them ......UNTIL YESTERDAY.

Yesterday we went to the Artesa factory. It really is quite amazing, especially if you are starving. There are so many beautiful patterns to choose from ...... really impossible to choose ...... so, as it turns out, we didn't bother actually choosing a pattern. Think eclectic.

They had lamps (need the wiring parts ....... no problem).
The first pic is of 6 of the 7 smaller ones we got. We also bought 2 larger ones.

Might have gotten a few bowls and platters.
Maybe even a vase or two.
I think that I counted 9 serving platters of various styles.
Or was that the serving bowls?

Plates, bowls, espresso and cappuccino cups,
strange little bowls for dip or something,
pottery glasses (uh, not made of glass) and other stuff too.
It was madness.

I did not take any pics of the flower pots that went directly to the balcony.
Yeah, we got some of those too.
Like children in a candy store.


Some terms that do not come to mind here:
Self restraint, planning, self control, moderation, discretion.

But, we did have a ball!


Saturday, July 24, 2010



Most days I wake up between 8:00 and 8:30. I usually stumble through the apartment and out to the balcony to be sure that Cuenca is doing fine. Today I grabbed my camera on the way...

First glance tells me things look pretty normal.

Next....gotta check that the balcony is still standing.
The balcony gets a lot of use.
It is also where that first cup of coffee happens every morning.
FYI.....GOOD coffee is $2.50 a pound.

NEXT....Make sure Brennie has coffee and the dogs are ok.

On the way through the apartment.
(Yeah not much furniture yet.)

Re furniture: What an ass pain that has been.
I feel like I have been in every furniture and antique store in town ...... twice.
(Because I have.)
FINALLY, I said "screw it" and went to a local craft market and got 5 primitive tables.
At $10 - $20 each, they will do for now ... and probably for a long time.

Below....my favorite "furniture store".
Going back today for more!
The clay pots here are the same price as the plastic ones you can buy in the stores.

When you are done getting your furniture,
you walk out to the street and look for one of these trucks.
For $5 they put all your stuff in the back and take it to your place.
Basically pickup truck taxis.

That's it for now.

Oopsie, one more small thing.
If you want to see the pics full size......
....... CLICK HERE.


Friday, July 23, 2010

I Am NOT Jealous

Congratulations to our good friends Nancy and Chuck Watson for the 2 distinctive awards they received for their website Nancy and Chuck - Retirement in Ecuador. For those of you that have not had the pleasure of meeting Chuck and Nancy, let me tell you that they are truly wonderful people and we are proud to have them as friends.


I really didn't intend to ever mention this, but Brennie insisted that I make it public. Bugger and Wanker are pretty darn proud too. So, only because Brennie is making me and because the dogs are so proud ....... here goes.

We too have won a very prestigious award for the fabulous and original work we have done on with our sophisticated highbrow blog. Two of our more modest effort were specifically cited in our award notification. As the award document said "Who could ever furget the senstive and haert renduring treetment of yur Purade of the Peekingese posting or the nostaljic his and her memorys of your Luvly Wedding. These brung tears to our eyes."

Also, in case you missed the coverage on CNN. here is a link: http://www.cnn.com/dorkie/2009

As you have probably guessed by now, we are the recipients of the fabulous, the prestigious, the coveted ............ "2009 DORKIE". We are so proud.

"2009 DORKIE".
Life doesn't get any better than this.

PS: The formal award ceremony is in August in Death Valley, California. Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From the Softer Side

May You Live in Interesting Times.....

I've sometimes wondered if that Chinese proverb was a blessing or a curse.

OK...long overdue post from the softer side. Reason? I have been using all my energy adapting to culture shock. Believe me folks, it feels much different when you actually move here than when you visit. For me, there was no culture shock involved in the visit - only the romantic fantasy of "selling all our stuff and living like Bohemians". The problem with the fantasy is that this 'Bohemian' has reached middle age and grown accustomed to a life of luxury. I consider hot water on demand and flushing your paperwork down the toilet a luxury, but that's just me. Like I said, I'm adjusting.

A word about culture shock...Remember the TV series "The Twilight Zone?" There is an episode where aliens transplanted a human couple into a fake universe in order to study their habits and reactions to strange stimuli? That, in a nutshell, is what culture shock feels like to me. It affects people differently but I have felt slightly surreal, like I'm in a dream. Clarke just calls it bitchy but he was never one for understanding the female psyche. There are some things I have learned since arrival.

1) Do not, I repeat DO NOT live in your apartment while it is being painted - in spite of what the painters tell you. ("No problemo. We'll do one room at a time and paint around you. We'll have it done in a week.") What we know now that we did not know then is that one American week equals four Ecuadorian ones.

2) Do not trust your loved ones to Ecuadorian women who operate electric razors. Clarke came home looking like a Nazi concentration camp survivor and the dogs couldn't go wee-wee for three days (gender specific razor burns). Dogs, not Clarke.

3) Learn the Spanish words for colors before allowing painters who speak no English into your apartment. They take their yellows and oranges seriously down here south of the equator.

4) Never make a to-do list with more than three things on it. The more experienced Gringos tell us if we get one thing done a week, we're doing good.

5) Do not expect to find soft, comfy overstuffed furniture here. Ecuadorians make furniture to last. I've sat on rocks softer than some of their dining room chairs.

6) Do not take a 'bailor therapy' class if you have hip problems. Think salsa dancing on steroids. Bailor means dance. The therapy happens later in the physical therapists' office.

7) Get rid of all prior concepts of "hurry". It's just not part of the culture here.

8) We get by with a little of help from our friends. The friendships down here are the best part of Ecuador. The expat community is a wonderful source of support. It's a lot like crossing a river with stepping stones. Those in front lend a hand to those behind. You, in turn extend a hand to those coming along. It's a great system.

To end the post on a positive note, we got our washer and dryer installed last week on the rooftop. As I was doing laundry yesterday, I thought to myself "how many people can claim these views from their laundry room???"

I'm a lucky gal. Life IS good here...in spite of the fog of the culture shock. That, too, shall pass.


Saturday, July 17, 2010




When we remodeled our last house in the states, I did my best to remove all overhead lights. I find them loud, intrusive and glaring. I hate them. For instance, when I designed (and installed) the new kitchen, I replaced the overhead lights with indirect lighting.....above, below and in the cabinets, which had glass doors. (Actually I did have direct spot lights above the stove and sink.) It was lovely. Everyone thought so except my daughter. Every time she visited from Oregon, she bitched and complained that we needed bright overhead lights.

Well, it is the lights, lights, lights.

Although our building is in Old Town (El Centro) and is surrounded by buildings 100+ years old, our building is only about 40 years old. Apparently the standard for lighting at the time was........can you guess? If you did not guess "overhead lighting", you need to go back and start again from the beginning.

OK now, I suspect that alone should make the Cait pretty darn happy. BUT, these lights are very special. When she sees the exact nature of these lovelies........well .....the exact word is hard to come up with. Could it be: beaming, giddy, joyful, gleeful, delighted, pleased (lame), buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, thrilled, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic, blissful, euphoric, overjoyed, exultant, or rapturous?

Because, yeah baby, we have some fine lights.
How could you not love these babies?

Standard light....nothing fancy.

One of my personal favorites.
Very classy with the little globe thingy built in.

Way sexy with the color thing going on.
Adds a wonderful ambiance.
Fluorescent lights are available in other pretty colors too.

Can you believe that for 40 years, actual light fixtures were never put up. This is real standard. Not only that, but the previous owners were both lawyers! EVERY ROOM has these lights: except the dining room. Being quite large, at 15 x 21 feet, the dining room is blessed with two of these beauties! Very bitchin'!

Daddy will leave the lights just as they are until after your visit!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quickie Post

For The First Time Since Arriving:
-I am actually sitting in a chair at a "desk" in our apartment.
-Pretty nice not to have to do this on my lap or holding the computer with one hand while one finger typing (guess which finger).

Current Events:
-The apartment is painted and looks really nice.
-The balcony, laundry room (on roof), maids room/storage room (roof again) also painted.
-Floors refinished. Not actually refinished...long story. But, they look 1000 times better. Some rooms still need another coat of finish.....but they are real clean and shiny. Shiny is good.
-Washer and dryer to be delivered Monday.
-I don't get it. How can Brenne be excited about getting a washer and dryer when the option is to send it out to be done?
-We spent a couple nights at a really cheap hostel while the floor stuff was being put down. I would recommend the hostel except for the.......never mind. Suffice to say that I won't be recommending it.
-Finally got a desk (actually a table we are using as a desk). We couldn't find one we liked, so we got a bid to have a couple made.....$450 each (holy mother of god!) and would take three weeks. Went to the local 'craft market' and got one for both of us to share....sitting across from each other ....$20.
- Got some other fine furniture there too. Went nuts and spent $47 for the desk (table) and two other tables....pics tomorrow.
-Now that the place is painted and we have some fine furniture, Brennie has been 'nesting'. For the next month, I will have to ask where things are.
-Actually feels like 'home' for the first time.
-Still need a couch...need one really bad.

Pulled a Muscle in My Back The Other Day:
-Maybe a tendon or something. I really don't know.
-Hurt like a mutha until last night.
-Slipped and fell down a flight of stairs last night.
-The term 'hurt like a mutha' is no linger adequate.
-And no......Brennie did not push me down the stairs this time.
-Thank god the cigars I was carrying weren't damaged.