Thursday, March 26, 2015

What The Hell Was That???

This was a beautiful morning to walk on the beach, or so I thought.  As I was trudging down the beach, I say trudging because the tide was coming in, the sand was soft and I was leaving deep footprints.  And may I say at my weight they were pretty deep.   I turn around to come home when I realize, if the tide came up much faster I would be trapped.  Now, if you have walked our beach going South, you know there is no escape from the beach and you would drown or have to swim.  I was wearing jean shorts and they get heavy when wet and then I remembered how deep the prints were.  I decided to high tail it to the road. 

That’s when I saw it, the thing.  You know when you see a thing and you stop dead, back up, and look at the thing again?  After looking some more at the thing you mouth pops open and you mouth the words “What the hell is that?”  This is also the time you hope you don’t sink so deep in whatever that you can’t run for your life.  That is me; I am on the edge of the surf looking at this 3 foot long thing, The Discovery Channel would have been proud to present this thing in an hour special.  It looked like one of their documentaries that says “We found the thing, but oh don’t be afraid it can’t hurt you it lives 10,000 leagues under the sea.”  Wrong, I saw one up here.  There it was all bony looking, pointy, spiky ribs, big fin on its back that looked lethal and all of it tapering to the tail and flat ass ugly bless its heart.  As my mouth is still gaping, I think, oh good it’s dead, maybe I will creep cautiously closer, take a better look and maybe poke it with a stick.   Now I hear a roar, it is the roar of a big wave coming to disturb my mission.  I stand perfectly still with my eyes on the thing and whoosh my thing starts to wiggle in the surf.  Not that thing, y’all, please stop being so unruly.  My mind is wheeling, what if the next wave washes the thing back up and it touches me, then what?  I can’t run, my jean shorts legs are getting wet, I may drown or get touched; neither option appealed to me so I left.  I did however stand for a long period of time on the road looking to see where my thing went.  All I can say, it is still in the water somewhere waiting, it never washed, crawled, rolled or hopped back to shore.  If I see it again I will try to grab it for a few photos and call the Discovery Channel.

Oh, I forgot to tell you in the same area, there was a baby dolphin head that looked like it had bitten off from the body.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Absolute Reason to Have A Motorcycle On Beach



The absolute reason to have a motorcycle on the beach!



This morning, I went with two very good friends, Barry White and Luther Vandross for a walk down the beach.  When you exit my gate, you are facing the ocean, turn left and you are heading South on the beach in Crucita.  That is where we are going. South.  After I pass the fishing boats, a wide beach awaits me.  The tide is out, the sky is still tinted with the shades of early morning and the slow roll of the waves beckons me to get going.  This is when Barry starts to sing in my ear.  Now I don’t care if I ever stop walking, heck I may just go on to Salinas.  I don’t know about anyone else, but when Barry growls in my ear my step quickens, right ladies?  I’m thinking of the many loves I've had along the way and the love that is still at home in bed because he is retired.  UGH.  This end off the beach is beautiful!  When the tide is out you can see what we call the lava fields.  I don’t know if they are lava or just plain ordinary rock but they are stupendous.  I scan the whole area thinking I will see an elusive mermaid sitting on a rock or Moby Dick floating by.  Who know what lurks under and around those rocks.  As I am happily stepping out with my friends, up behind me comes a group, it is comprised of most every age of human you can think of.  Some jog by, some fly by, and some I know wish they had Barry singing in their ear.  When I finally reach the fliers ( those show offs) they are doing lunges on the beach. I’m sure they think they are giving encouragement to those of us that do not lunge and fly.  Now please tell me, what makes them think, seeing them do lunges and still breathing, makes us like them.  I guess they are too young to understand, this is a retirement beach and we don’t do fast.  Little show offs.  I just smile and pick up my step, I’ll show them.  I hope they don’t notice my damp brow and gasping breaths. Lunges my a**.  With no going back I continue on, I’m sure I look smashing in my Lane Bryant black one piece Miraclesuit.  Miraclesuites’ hold everything in place so they say tell me.  I am back in stride and here comes another hurdle.  This beauty walks past sporting a white bikini with flowing mane and beautiful smile.  It’ so hard to hate her, but a little trip into the sand may not hurt either.  Ugh.   I decide to walk further down the beach and around the corner of this cliff.  Starting here you lose view of the condos and other life forms on the beach, thank goodness.   I am picking them up and putting them down, as I watch the crabs scurry across the way and the sea gulls scanning the surf for a quick snack.  I keep my head down eyeing the rocks for some treasure.  Surely one day I will find an artifact or better yet a hunk of gold to show sleeping beauty when I get back.  When I round the last corner I spot something in the water.  Now being youthful once I have a pretty good idea what is in the water. The motorcycle carried them far away from the prying eyes of the beach walkers, fliers and lungers.  But… they didn't go far enough that Barry and Luther could not find them.   Now we are both embarrassed and it’s like ok what now?  I’m too old to run, lunging didn't look like an option so I pretend I don’t see them and they pretend they don’t see me.  I don’t know, but I think the moment was lost.  I guess I could have loaned them my friends Barry & Luther, but what the heck, I do have an ornery streak in me so I smile and turn back to the North.  It makes me wish my love was here instead of in bed.  I now have a new respect for motorcycle tracks down the lonely stretch of beach.  You know one of my dear friends Marlene, always tells me to wear sunglasses.  “If you have sunglasses on nobody knows if you are looking at them or not.” Crap why didn’t I listen to her, I wish I had them on now.  Fighting the urge to laugh I take the boys and we head home, past the lungers, joggers, fliers, and that darn girl in the white bikini.  Oh to be young again!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cover Yourself Up



I have read so many posts and questions about whether to ship your stuff, buy new stuff, borrow stuff or hope someone moves back to the States and maybe you can buy their stuff. 

Now, if you’re going to buy the Expat stuff you have to be really fast and smart. 
To give you an idea, I found a perfect stackable washer and dryer in white.  It was being sold by an Expat. Now, being an Expat myself, I know we like good stuff, right?  I drove the poor guy crazy with questions; however I forgot to ask where he lived.  Well, those pesky folks in Cuenca think everybody knows they live in Cuenca.  I think everyone lives on the coast.  Guess where he was.  After apologizing profusely for being an idiot…. I’m still looking.  You get the idea. 

So rule 1. : find out where they live and save both of you a lot of grief.

I’m now going to coach you on packing for your trip. Now, your idea of packing for the trip and your better half’s idea of packing are not the same, I’m pretty sure.  I use the term better half loosely in this case!  Well, this old girl had done her homework.  I had read about yucky paper thin scratchy towels, or the towels that are so expensive you purchase only the wash cloth.  Then you use it to dry yourself and your esposo after a day at the beach. Folks think I’m thrifty for purchasing the wash cloth.

I read over and over about sheets that get these little ball things all over ‘em, baking soda and clothes for fluffy girls.

After weeks of preparation, the time has come to reach a consensus on the size of the suitcases, color of the suitcases, do we purchase the ones with the 360 wheels or the ones with the wheels that just go one direction.  Hum, maybe not a suitcase at all, I have it, PLASTIC CONTAINERS!  But wait, cardboard boxes are cheaper and the husband gets to use duct tape.   Oh my, what is a soon to be Expat to do? 

Well we get suitcases, because better half, I think, may think, he can use them when he runs back to the States.  Well I have news for him, HE AIN'T RUNNEN!  I have sold almost all of my goodies, bought Rosetta Stone, learned to count in Spanish, said good bye to dear friends, hugged the kids, and cried.  Oh yes, I could have also paid for another college education for what it is costing me to bring the youngest four legged child.  HE AIN'T LEAVEN!  Besides, who wants to hear your friends say “I didn't think you would make it” HE AIN'T LEAVEN!

Ok, back to the suitcases.  We have now spent almost as much on suitcases as airline tickets. BUT my suitcases are spectacular.   They are as big as box cars and the wheels go round and round.  Now the BIG DECISION is what to bring in these dazzling containers.  Containers that are now going to hold everything we need till our big big suitcase, also known as “The container” arrives from the States.  You see, if you ship your stuff, you are obligated to stick it out just like in marriage for better or for worse, because these are all the goodies you have left.  On the inventory list is long sleeved shirts, jeans, coats and such. Better Half is sure we will need them on the coast. I have now made the required number of trips to Walmart to purchase stuff for the prized suitcases.  We now own Space bags in every configuration and size. I have been to Macy’s to purchase divine sheets in abundance.  Who knows what can happen with new sheets. Promises promises, a girl has to do what a girl has to do to get new sheets in abundance.  I have ordered on-line, wonderful new undies and braziers, sounds like I’m coming along, because I know, fluffy girl cloths are not easy to come by in Ecuador.

Cute cloths, check, towels, check, sheets, check, jammies, check, old beat up housecoat that I love, check, Advil, check, cute new blanket to go with sheets, check, new make- up, check and a few things for Gary.  No really, he can put anything in his gigantic bunker on wheels that he so desires.  Now that we have checked and double checked the list, I put all my lovely goodies into the coveted space bags and suck the life out of them.  Checked, sucked and tucked into the safety of the suitcase.  Then, not so better half carts them off to be weighed.  OH MY, one seems to be a bit heavy.  He rips open the suitcase and shoves my lovelies down a little more, like that’s going to make the suitcase weigh less.  I can tell you, if that worked I’d let him shove me around.  Zip and back on the scales.  Still to heavy so HE has the nerve to remove my housecoat.  “You don’t need this.”  Excuse me!  Let’s take out some of you junk.  Nope it’s the loved old housecoat that is making the suitcase heavy.  So,
here we stand in the lobby of Publix in Florida, suitcase ripped open, my nice new Walmart Space bag has been violated and he has my robe ready to be discarded.  After countless stares he crushes the items into submission and my old pink housecoat is not at the finish line.  So here I arrive in Ecuador with my cute undies and braziers and nothing to cover up with.
Have you ever wondered what now?  What if there’s a fire and I have to run for my life?  I have always followed the Grandmother rule. Wear clean underwear.  If you have a wreck you never want to die in dirty underwear but a plane crash was never mentioned.


Well, over a year later we are living happily in Ecuador. I still don’t have my old pink robe. It’s sitting in a parking lot waiting to be claimed.  Our big big suitcase arrived from the States and to this day I have never had a clean underwear scare.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Corningware and the Shiny Spoon


25/05/2013

It’s early like 5:45am early.  The kid heard me coughing  and was convinced it was the get up and go siren.

Today is The Ladies Event in Crucita.  If you are lucky enough to live here and are a girl you get to go every month to The Ladies Event. We celebrate the last Saturday of every month.  You can even come to “The Event” if you are visiting Crucita.  We are sweethearts and always on our best behavior. Ja Ja (spanish for Ha Ha)   If you’re here for anytime at all you know that is not entirely true.  But we try.

To be admitted you should bring a covered dish, this is not a requirement but a good idea.  Now this covered dish is expected to look yummy and smell good.  That way you get kudos and the girls want you to come back next month.  We share white elephant gifts towards the end of this get together.  You would be so impressed to see what gets exchanged and you soon learn who your friends are.  You better not get something good or one of those selfish women will take it away from you.  They are sooo sweet.  I hate to do this but, there it is, you know what’s coming, I really like what you have I want to trade.  Maybe we should call this The Mean Girls Event.  I hide my stuff.  Sometimes I hold it at my side and if it’s really good just sit on it.  No one wants it after you sit on it.

As I’m cooking a giant apple pie for this fun get together I remember another event I cooked for.  Well first the apple pie thingy.  I guess it can be called a pie.  I peeled pounds of apples, used a juicy, fragrant lemon from a friends tree.  It is the kind of smell that starts your mouth watering.  You have to do steps like this so your thinly sliced apples that you stood for hours peeling don’t turn brown.  I have now sprinkled generous amounts sugar, nutmeg and canela all over those puppies and me.  I’m showing off, canela is cinnamon and you didn’t think I knew spanish!  Since we all like to eat it is a 13X9 pie, we’ll see.  When you get to the pictures you will see some cute embellishments on top.  I made little roses out of pie crust.  I learned, if you make it cute, even if it tastes like crap they don’t notice as much.

 

This story  is the truth so help me.   My Grandmother never thought I would learn to cook.  Now if you knew my Mom you’d  know why.  One time when my little girl was in school the teacher was talking to the squirming children about Christmas holiday.  Teacher says something like, “I know all of you are excited to be with you families and eat grandma’s good cooking.”  Well my little baby raises her hand really high and waves it around like she’s trying to swat a fly so the teacher is sure to take notice.  There are other parents there too because this is the Christmas Party for the class.  Remember back when the Home Room Mother would call. You never ever wanted to be the Home Room Mother.  If you were you had to pester the other Mothers who swore they would help if you would be the HOME ROOM MOTHER.  Back to the story I get distracted easily. Tavia now has the full attention of the class and parents because with that much hand waving it must be important.  Then she does it: as truthful as can be tells our dirty secret. “We don’t eat my Grandma’s cooking.”  There it is, YUK just about covers it.   My Mother is an awful cook and my grandmother is terrified it may be inherited and God forbid she may be right.

Our oldest boy has just joined The Boy Scouts of America in our new hometown of Tyler Texas.  We are fairly new to the area and I want the other scout mothers from The Boy Scouts of America to like me and my cooking so I get a recipe from a new friend.  It sounded scrumptious, looked pretty in the picture and I was sure it was going to smell good.  This one recipe contained all of the ingredients for an invite back and kudos.    I’m on a roll now I think to myself.   The one time I did not taste was my demise.

I get all gussied up and  with my pretty food baked in my big, beautiful, expensive corningware dish with the special spoon and off we go.  You know the spoon don’t you?  It’s the one nobody better scratch up or dig with.  This one shines and looks good with the corningware.  We are called by table number to enter the serving line.  The line is a river of Boy Scouts, Scout Leaders, families and Mothers of Scouts hoping to get kudos.  I decide not to get any of my prize because I want to all the other people to enjoy it.  Even my big, expensive, corningware dish couldn’t feed everybody, but I wanted as many as could to get some.  I smile and make small talk in line then scoot back to my assigned spot at the table.  I am happily eating and smelling everything on the plate, hoping the cook will recognize my kudos.  I glance at the plate next to mine and notice the lady is not telepathically giving kudos.   In horror I see her stirring something with a fork, the  look of disgust and fear is unmistakable.  It is my prized, kudo’s getting dish, scooped from the big, expensive, corningware by the shiny spoon.  I give her the Oh what’s wrong look and say sweetly good food huh?  She looks back, still stirring the offending food I brought and says ”Did you get any of this?”  I put on my best disgusted look to match the one I’m seeing and say “Well no, it didn’t look good.” She says “OH MY GOSH IT”S AWFUL! IT IS THE WORST STUFF I EVER TASTED!”  Now I’m scared.  What if someone saw me put it on the table?  Would anyone recognize I brought the dish with the shiny spoon?   I am smiling and looking around the room and everybody is stirring it with a fork.  I don’t know if they were trying to figure out what was in it or kill it. I still, to this day don’t know what the heck happened I just know it must have been inherited.  So now the dinner is over, thank goodness.  I wanted to cry and it’s time to go home.  Well Better Half shakes a few hands and starts heading to the table to retrieve the big, expensive corningware and shiny spoon.  I tackle him like a linebacker.  Is he crazy??  Why in the world would you let anybody know I brought the scary food? I tell him if he even looks in that direction he is dead and there will never ever be any more sex ever.  Well that scared him and he made a military type turn off to the car we went.  

Pies done and it’s time to go to The Ladies Event.  Want me to save you some?



Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Taser a Rooster

 
How to Taser a Rooster

23/05/2013

I have been on every search engine trying to find guidelines for “How to Taser a Rooster.” Not even e-help had directions.  I really need to find out how far, is a safe distance, to be from a sizzling cock.  Tasering a rooster is not to be taken lightly.
I bet you are saying to yourself  ”What the hell!”  So let me back up a day or two.
Friends, Mary Ann & Steve were in Crucita for a couple of weeks.   They live in Florida and have great plans for their future in Crucita. This is where the story begins.  Mary Ann is a hoot and husband Steve has a special bond with our  youngest child so, we are like family.  And you know, you are always willing to help family.
There’s a tall condo at the end of the South beach. Beautiful palm trees are growing out front, sparkling pool to the side, fabulous vistas from the condo and THE ROOSTER.   This is where our family is staying.  A few days after their arrival Mary Ann mentions: I am so tired; I have been up every night for several hours.  WHY? I’m thinking maybe Steve has something to do with it.   Well to my surprise it’s a rooster.
THE ROOSTER is a confused good for nothing or else he wants to get an early start; who knows why they act like that.  Well any way, he gets up at 3:30 in morning and starts with the cock-a doodle-do.  I guess he doesn’t know girls need their beauty sleep.  Mary Ann is being waked every morning at 3:30, and I’m just relieved it’s not Steve. 
I’m sorry they are crowed awake at that hour and selfishly think yikes I’m glad it’s not me.  I also know if it was Gary he would think it was an opportunity of some sort, so we need to get this rooster thing under control before we move to the South beach. 
Several days later there is no relief in sight for the family.  Steve is lurking in the shadows of the balcony.  His job is to find the offender at any cost.  Alas, he is only met with darkness and the reverberation of the cock-a- doodle-dos.  We have decided sound travels up.  It must be a trade off for being above ground level. 
Now, if you’ve never been to the South beach in Crucita you wouldn’t know, but we have quite a few good for nothing roosters.
I have been witness to the bully next door.  He was stalking a young boy and when the mood strikes he tears off after this little guy.  The unsuspecting child spots him coming and starts running for his life.  The boy is yelling, the rooster is squawking, the dogs are barking and I’m thinking yikes, glad it’s not me.  Now it’s not because I don’t have compassion, it’s that I can’t run and yell at the same time as heading down the beach.  Wouldn’t that be a sight; a fluffy Gringo hoofing it down the beach, being chased by a good for nothing!  Living next door to this feathery beast I try to be friendly.   I tell him from a safe distance, in the car, with the window down, how special he is.  “You are such a handsome guy look at all those feathers.”  Now, that isn’t the truth, because his legs are pretty ugly.  One leg has feathers around the ankle, only not like real feathers.  They look like an art project gone wrong, some this way and some that way.  The feathers look like they were put on with hot glue and will be falling off at any moment, but I tell him he’s purdy knowing all the time I’m lying. It serves him right for chasing the kid.
A little further down the lane live several more of these good for nothings, so it is difficult, as Steve pointed out, to know who is doing the doodle at 3:30. 
We looked for sleeping pills for Mary Ann, but the Tylenol PM was gone from the medicine cabinet.  She was so sad.  I knew I had let family down and now, on my shoulders, fell the responsibility to find the offender.   I am not sure how to help so I think hum, we’ll leave it for next time.   Then from out of nowhere Steve has the answer!  They have left us their Taser gun.  Mary Ann and Steve have never used it, but are quick to encourage us to dig it from the red suitcase.   Fondle it, get to know its strengths and let it be your friend.  I think they want the problem gone before they return in September.  Do these things come with batteries?  Can they get my fingerprints of this thing? I’m wondering if there is safety class for Tasers!
After they leave, Gary and I discuss the ramifications of Tasering a neighbor’s rooster.  That is why I was looking for directions on the web.  Well, not finding any has led me to believe it may not be a good idea to Taser the good for nothing. 
Mary Ann & Steve, please bring ear plugs.
It’s a beautiful life!
.PS.  I went to take a picture of the good for nothing next door but he is no where to be seen.  Think someone else has a Taser?  
 
 I did however find a picture I thought you would enjoy!
 
 



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honk Hop Wave


22/5/2013 

Blogs, I wondered why people wrote them and why others would read them.  Now I know the secret!  A blog is a reality show on paper made from your diary.  You want to remember everything and share it. I don’t want my family and friends to miss a moment of Ecuador.
In case my life doesn’t flash before my eyes in my last moments of life I will have it in writing.
Ok let’s start with the date.  I may be dyslectic but that’s how you write the date in Ecuador.  I knew my stateside friends would need an explanation.
I will transgress later but for now I’m going to tell my diary about TODAY May 22, 2013. 
We still have one boy at home, Sanford.  This youngest child is the four legged kind and is the most demanding of the five.  He doesn’t listen to a thing and it’s a toss-up rather to contact Dr. Phil or Cesar Milan.  I need a whole new set of parenting techniques for this one.
We are up before 6AM because baby says so.  It’s time to walk the back roads, smell every leaf and wet on each one that deserves it.  With a sharp right turn we stroll down the road that runs in front of the sea.  I’m grateful that today this was his path.
I was walking high, looking down the beach to the fishing boats.  Crafts are gliding up to the sandy beach from a long journey.   In the distance a sea of souls are mingling and in the air hoards of birds are dive bombing. They look as though they are on a suicide mission but pull up at the last minute like they thought better of it.  Even from my distant point I can see the excitement in their movements and the flurry in the sky.  I rush my youngest back to the condo and exchange him for Gary, my groom of more than 30 years.  We have to go to the beach below and see what the hubbub is about.  It makes no difference what langue you speak; you know when it is something good!
We trudge throw the heavy sand that sinks several trucks on a daily basis.  Sooner or later someone pulls them free.  There are more hand movements than used in sign langue as they decide whether to dig, pull or push.  Always in the middle of the dilemma someone on the road stops and with a whistle they are on the beach pushing or someone on the beach is pulling until our friends are free.

We make the sharp right turn and off we go. We walk quickly for a short distance, because now we are older and a little goes along way.   We do make the effort and promise to walk every morning, well at least today we promise.
We are navigating the beach and making sure, when honked at, we act accordingly and jump out of the way. We have been warned that we are going to be passed.  Did you know there are unmarked traffic lanes on the beach? Trucks and motorcycles wiz by and we hop. Unlike road rules with blacktop, people do not have the right a way on sand.  If you are the driver of a gas powered vehicle you have the absolute right away and permission to honk at will.  It is imperative though, that you are driving on the packed sand. 
This morning the beach is for the fisherman, the boats, the dogs, the birds and the fish laying on the beach for sale. We are the intruders in the most wonderful circus of life and it is spectacular!  As we get closer I hear in my mind the church choir singing “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The ocean mist is covering me in a veil, slowly dropping the curtain on the world outside the beach.  The noise is just as I imagined from the road.
The boats are lined up on the shore.  I can read the names painted on the sides, most are female names. I wonder, are the names wives, mothers, girlfriends or lost loves?  The colors on the boats are the same, though some are faded from bright blue to pale turquoise.  The yellow is still pretty bright and the masts sit high and proud yelling”Hey look over here!”
To my right the men are huddled in group’s admiring the catches and barging.  One of the fishermen is selling the fish by how many will fit on his flip flops that are sitting side by side.  I hear some yelping and the dogs are in tussle over a fish that has been dropped.  I peek into a barrel and peeking back is a big black eye.  Squid! Of course I think about NGWILD and wonder if this guy is friends with the nasty Humboldt I’ve watched on TV. I hope it doesn’t spring to life and grab me.  The fisherman is now sure that gringos are a little wacky after I poke it with one finger.  Big black eye doesn’t move, I’m safe.
I am now hearing the click click click of knives as they hit the wooden tables.  Thousands of fish, piled it seems, to the top of the huts.  At each table the profusion of bodies is being cleaned with knives or small machetes.  I’m not sure which, but the sound is like an orchestra, click click click.
I see a new assemblage staring intently at the ground.  Not wanting to be left out I scurry over and try to pretend I’m not an outsider.  We follow the gaze, and at the bottom, I’m staring at BIG swordfish.  NGWILD hasn’t had anything on killer swordfish so I’m safe.  Now I’m thinking about all the perch I’ve caught in my life. You know not one of my perch can compare.  I feel left out I don’t have a big fish to lie on the beach for someone to admire.
Honk, hop and wave.  Almost didn’t make that one. We got in the wrong lane.
 A small hammerhead shark and some of his friends are at the next gathering.  I did learn how to say in spanish what is it called. Answer Dorado.  If you are wondering about Spanish not being capitalized, you don’t cap the s if you are referring to the Spanish langue.
Some birds are busy stealing fish that have been dropped while the others swoop the fish carried in conbons on the shoulders of men; thousands of fish in conbons off to the cleaning tables.
We’ve walked far enough that we are out of the circus and it’s time to turn and go home.  What a beautiful life!


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