Monday, February 27, 2012

A Timely Little Rant

OR IS THAT ‘BLOWS’?  ‘SUCKS’ OR ‘BLOWS’?  Those two words mean the opposite things ..... blowing pretty much being the opposite of sucking ....... like breathe in and breathe out.  Yet blows and sucks convey the same concept?
Anyway ......... this place blows too!
Anything in particular make me say this ....... about blowy / sucky Cuenca?  You bet.
I hate to re-beat this drum (kick a dead horse?) ....... but really and seriously ..... what the h*ll is gong on here?  Why can’t the stores stock JIF peanut butter?  Every *&>%$#@ day?
When we did our recon mission here in June/July 2009, SuperMaxi had JIF creamy on the shelves.  It was a little spendy, but that is fine.  If gas can be $1.48 a gallon and monthly water and electric about $30, then who cares how much JF costs as long as it is available.  Right?  Anyway, it was available all of June and July of ’09.
So we arrive June 1st of 2010, and ever since then, JIF has been available less and less.  It will be on the shelves for a couple months and then not available (at any price) for god knows how long. It is unavailable more than it is available.
For instance, the last time I saw it on the shelves was last September ...... over 5 months ago.
Now I have learned to compromise and have learned to live with Peter Pan although it is a far distant second to JIF.  JIF is good, it can be eaten with a spoon directly from the jar.  Peter Pan has to be eaten on a cracker with jam ..... because it is just not good enough to eat straight from the jar ...... it needs the cracker and jam to hide it’s ‘not-JIFness’ flavor.
Anyway, I am willing to settle for Peter Pan (crunchy or smooth).  I haven’t complained about this.  I have been strong. I really don’t want to be a whiney little b*tch.  But even PP smooth is hard to get now and the stores haven’t had any of it for almost a month.  They do have Honey Roast and Low Fat.  But they are horrible!  Bugger and Wanker do like it (our little Pekinese beasties) and it is so fun to watch them try to eat it.  But then they eat dog food and dead stuff on the street too.
Movin’ on here ...... So I get on my moto today.  I have a mission.  Find some Peter Pan (JIF would be too much to hope for).  I ride from one side of town to the other and back again and can tell you that there is none to be had ...... except for the aforementioned Honey Roast and Low Fat.
There is some local peanut butter available and the Brennie says it is perfectly fine.  She says that ..... but back in the good old days, if we had JIF on hand she would eat MY JIF and ignore the local cr*p.  So I don’t think she really does like the local stuff that much.
A friend of mine put a case of JIF creamy in a shpping container for me a year ago.  The container has been sitting (packed) in the states for a year now.  Currently the JIF is frozen in the container.  Last summer it was cooked.  Can’t wait to see what it is like if it ever gets here.  Freeze - cook - freeze - cook - freeze - cook.  Now JIF does have their mix of additives, stabilizers and preservatives down to an art ....... so maybe the freeze / cook cycle won’t be a problem.  Yeah, right.
I can buy JIF at and have it shipped.  The shipping is $50 for a 2 jar pack (TRUE ...... I checked it out).  But ‘food and beverages’ are restricted items for shipping ...... along with guns, ammo, explosives, drugs, etc.
I have brought  it down in my checked baggage before (along with cigars) and it is no problem.  However, when in a carry-on ..... no dice ..... it is confiscated. (The dreaded peanut butter bombs we have been repeatedly warned about?)
WOW.  WOW.  WOW.  Just this very second, I got a phone call.  Dean is bringing me a jar of JIF creamy when she comes back from the states  God love her!  No kidding .... I just got the phone call .... this very minute!  Holy Sh*t!  Gotta tell the psychic friends network!
I was going to close this blog entry with ‘Life sucks / blows’. but now I can close with .......

Life is Sweet,
PS:  It is a bad idea to look up the number of rat hairs allowed by the FDA in peanut butter.

PPPS:  Maybe I will move back to Topeka so I can pick up some JIF an my way home from work?  Then again ...... maybe not

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Little Holiday Trip

Went down to Loja and Vilcababma for a few days.  For those of you that don't know, Loja/Vilcabamba is still in the Andes, but about a 4 - 5 hour drive south of Cuenca.

Loja is another interesting city in Ecuador.
Someone told me that downtown looks like it was built in the 50's and I must agree.

Vilcabamba is Another Story:
It is a small town in what is known as the 'valley of longevity'.  Brennie calls it the 'valley of stoneheads'.  I will explain both.

The Valley of Longevity:
From what I have been able to glean (not necessarily accurate) the whole longevity fiction was kicked off years ago by an article in .... some sources say Readers' Digest ........ others say National Geographic. (Who knows?) This was followed by a bunch of pseudo-scientific studies that supported the longevity claim.  From what I can tell, the main factor had to do with either the 'special ions' in the air or the mineral content of the water or something.  I suspect that this is still touted as fact by some folk.  These might be the same folk that subscribe to pyramid power, the healing power of crystals and magnets, bermuda triangle, phrenology, and various other 'sciences' for the desperate.  (Oopsie ...... might have lost a few readers there.)

The Valley of Stoneheads:
We have been to Vilcabamba twice and will most likely go again.  It is peaceful and very beautiful.  And we just kinda like it.  But back to the 'valley of stoneheads' concept.  I am pretty sure that the Brennie is not referring to some type of Easter Island archeological thing here.  Think of another meaning for the term.  I don't know about most of you, but I kind of think that I outgrew recreational use of drugs and alcohol long long ago.  (Probably loosing a few more readers here too.)  Anyway, it is an interesting place to visit and we will surely return.  For Cuenca High Life articles on Vilcabamba ........ CLICK HERE.  

Unfortunately, we only spent a day in Loja.  We plan to return and do a better job of seeing what it is all about.  Next time, we will make it our number one priority to get some of that fabulous pottery they do there.

But we did go to the botanical gardens and I took some wonderful pictures which I will share below.

There were LOTS of beautiful flowers there. 
And, I did take pics of them.  
I am a horrible photographer.
These are the pics that came out the best!

Life is sweet,