Monday, 31 January 2011

A Good Sigh

When Sigred was quite a bit younger than she is now, she was "accused" over and over again of being a sigher. 

You know....deep sigh and then a profound silence and then an open space; empty for those willing to comment.

Sigred, being bright as a brand new copper penny, finally picked up on the fact that she was a sigher (the 7,564+ comments about it clued her in) and she worked (very hard) to eliminate sighing from her repertoire.  

For awhile she'd articulate:  For example "oh sigh" she'd say, and people would look at her somewhat oddly.

But folks being what they are, they'd mostly ignore the minor glitch and continue on. 

After awhile, even the outward manifestation of the overwhelming sigh was no longer necessary and (in that end) Sigred became a non-sigher. 

Sigred was very proud of this accomplishment!

The non-sighing went on for years ~ 12 - 15 years approximately.  A pretty good display. 


She encountered a truly worthwhile sigher.  An Olympic class sigher.  A sigher well within the World Top 10. 

The sighs were evident every 29 minutes or so, accompanied often by a furtive look at the sigher's watch. 

What to do?
What to do?

Now in the 10 - 17 years that Sigred had been a non-sigher, she'd of course encountered other sighers on the way.  Mostly she'd keep her pie hole shut and not commented.  If the sigh was truly outrageous, she felt compelled to question and most often ended up slightly embarrassing the sigher.  This of course, was not what Sigred intended to do.  Her intention was to help in some minor way if at all possible.  Apparently it isn't; possible to help, that is. 

In the middle of a quandary, Sigred couldn't stand it any more and finally asked the most recent sigher what was wrong.

Apparently, what was wrong, was Sigred.

Oh Dear! 

Thank you for sharing?

Sigred walked away from hearing what was wrong with her and the sighs continued.

Sigred endured.


Interesting aside:  For several weeks after the "incident" Sigred found herself sighing again.  Apparently it's like smoking or any other addiction, one has to be very careful about being around it.  After awhile, through hard work on the problem, Sigred's sighing disappeared once again.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Small Piece of Truth

Sigred was 40 years old (or more) before she found out that some people think out loud.  Having spent half a life-time being frustrated at the "lies" she encountered almost daily, it was with great relief she encountered this small piece of truth. 

Friday, 21 January 2011


From time to time we hop on a Cuenca city bus and take a trip to the end of the line. This time, we picked up a #10 and took it to a place called Patuncay. At what we thought was the last stop (as the last people other than ourselves got off the bus), we went up to the driver just to make sure. Brian asked in Spanish if this was the terminus and the fellow driving the bus, first turned down his loud radio and then questioned us in English: "Where are you going?"

It's always sort of flattering when a native Ecuadorian answers in English and we smiled and gushed a bit and explained we were just on the bus for an adventure. The bus driver (as they do) thought we were crazy. He nevertheless advised he'd turn around in about 10 minutes and we made sure that it would be OK if we walked down the road and viewed the sights. Again he shook his head, (crazy gringos) and assured us it was fine.

We got off the bus and immediately noticed 2 things: the air was much fresher & Fredi was quite antsy. There was a goat & a cow off in a meadow and Shelley conjectured Fredi was wondering about the funny dogs or perhaps the whole place just smelled different.

Riding on the bus as we approached the end of the line, we passed through a part of Cuenca we'd never been in before and eventually into a small town with a large church, presumably Patuncay. There were cows & sheep & goats & roast pig on the side of the road and small fields with vegetable gardens & mansions & hovels & several places half built and since ignored & smiling babies on the bus & ancient grandmothers.

We walked down the road & pointed to a hacienda we thought Brian's friend Jan might like, breathed the crystal clear air & marveled at Fredi making low growling & whining noises in her throat. Sure enough, in about 10 minutes our bus came rolling down the road and the driver stopped & picked us up. We nodded friendly-like and sat on the other side of the bus so we'd get a different view on our return trip.

Getting close to home, we all felt a bit tired and quite dusty. The whole trip start to finish, was a little over 2 hours and it was definitely getting close to nap time.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Bossy & Selfish Love Despite

Bossy & Selfish were sitting at a restaurant with another couple they'd just met.  Everyone was being on their best behaviour and chatting nicely, getting to know each other a little better.

Suddenly Selfish spoke up and complained that Bossy had gotten a bun crumb into his section of the tablecloth. 

With no regard to circumstances, Bossy immediately picked up her bun and shook it over Selfish's section of the table, spreading crumbs quite liberally. 

The other couple looked on in astonishment and then both of them started to laugh; a good laugh; a great laugh. 

Bossy looked up and explained:  "I have to do things like this or he'd run roughshod over me all the time!"

Selfish, now laughing too piped up:  "Oh yes, Bossy's wonderful!"

Bossy agreed. 

 If you enjoyed this Bossy & Selfish story, more can be found at: Bossy & Selfish on Dowager

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Random Things

Everywhere you go, there are random things that catch your attention and then one usually passes them by to be forgotten.

Ecuador, at least for a non-Ecuadorian, seems to have a lot of these random things.

Quite often in parks, there'll be stuffed horses, or llamas, or as above a lion, for children to sit on and have their picture taken.

The fellow above, smoking a cigarette and standing in the jaws of some fish creature was displayed in an area where they sell herbal medicines.  You can get snail slime there and ground up sea shells that purportedly are good for your skin.  They sell quail eggs and very large eggs (perhaps from geese?) and a coca tea that is supposed to be very helpful in getting one used to the high altitude.  


All the peoples' markets have shrines and often places where one can burn candles.  The shrines vary from a shelf placed high on a wall with a statue in it, to quite elaborate set ups with fresh flowers surrounded them every day.

The above are ceramic statues of animals placed on a roof.  A serendipitous piece of every day life in Cuenca. 

Many of the sidewalks are crumbling and it takes people several months of watching their feet in order to get "Ecuador legs".  Where the sidewalks are relatively new, there are often prints of small children, dogs & larger feet.  

The two crosses above are from Cuenca and we've been told that these Cuenca crosses are unique.  There are several places in town that make them and you'll see them all over the city.  The bellows & the statue were discovered in a tiny museum in a tiny town called Chordeleg as was the ancient record player & pottery below. 

The ferris wheel below was almost all by itself, locked in a lot in another tiny town outside Cuenca called SigSig.  It wasn't running and at it's base was a covered wagon.

Roast pig is to be found everywhere in Ecuador; in the public markets, at the side of the road turning on a spit and in the instance below, on the top of a car displayed for a parade.

If you want to see more pictures of Random Things, click here for a display of random things from both Canada and Ecuador.  You also might be interested in our Textures of Ecuador pictures. 

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Fractal Relationships

Take a simple meeting (a get together at a social occasion or an email conversation between strangers, for example) and operate on it (continue interaction) so that the new relationship is more "complicated" (in that special way)

Then, in the same way, continue interacting on that resulting relationship, and get an even more complicated connection.

Now work on that resulting bond in the same way some more and get an even more convoluted interconnection.

Do it again and again...and again.

What are you left with is a fragmented complex that can be subdivided into parts, each of which (at least approximately) is a reduced-size copy of the whole.

That is of course, unless self-similarity and nothing in between is to be found.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

More Quotes

The worst thing about being lied to is simply knowing you weren't worth the truth. ~ Unknown #quote

There never was a good war, or a bad peace. ~ Benjamin Franklin #quote

Society is now one polish'd horde / Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored. ~ Lord Byron #quote

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. ~ Mark Twain #quote

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust #quote

Man is a credulous animal, & must believe something; in the absence of good ground for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones ~ B.Russell #quote

It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening. ~ Sue Monk Kidd #quote

Peace is priceless, but not at any price. ~ Robert Elliott Gonzales #quote

Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. ~ Saul Alinsky #quote

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy. ~ Joseph Campbell #quote

Time is a created thing. To say "I don't have time" is to say "I don't want to." ~ Lao Tzu #quote

Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort. ~ Mason Cooley #quote

Capitalism is the...belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone ~ J.M. Keynes #quote

If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink at last, as human psychology. ~ D.H. Lawrence #quote

In the dark attics of our minds, all times mingle. ~ Charles de Lint #quote

Who builds on Reason builds upon the sand / A fabric mortal as the human brain. ~ Francis Howard Williams #quote

One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. ~ Rita Mae Brown #quote

Time is a dream...It lays great cities in dust, it fills the seas / It covers the face of beauty, and tumbles walls. ~ Conrad Aiken #quote

Sanity is not truth. Sanity is conformity to what is socially expected. Truth is sometimes in conformity, sometimes not. ~ R.M. Pirsig #quote

Utopia is that which is in contradiction with reality. ~ Albert Camus #quote

The cruelest lies are often told in silence. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson #quote

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. ~ Mark Twain #quote

We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep. ~ William Shakespeare #quote

Wisdom and folly are equal before the face of Infinity, for Infinity knows them not. ~ Leonid Andreyev #quote

Illusion is sometimes all that keeps us sane. ~ Laurell K. Hamilton #quote

Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. ~ William Cowper #quote

Stupid was a prison they never let you out of, no time off for good behavior, you were in for life. ~ Stephen King #quote

Minds, like parachutes, only work when open. ~ Anonymous #quote

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Lest We Forget

One of the most important Ecuadorian traditions for ringing in the New Year is the making of años viejos ~ effigies.  The burning of these effigies represents a cleansing of all negative happenings or influences over the previous year.  Thus one can enter the New Year with a clean slate and a fresh start.  In Cuenca, most of the effigies are made from old clothes sewn together and stuffed with straw or newspaper or any other flammable material.  In other areas, the effigies are made from paper mache.  Leading up to December 31, the años viejos sit alongside the roadways patiently awaiting their eventual midnight death.

In addition to the burning of effigies on New Year's Eve, as the year slowly comes to a close, Ecuadorians, especially the men, dress up as viudas, the widows of the dying year. These viudas, however, are not very upset about their husbands' death, and tend to act promiscuously.

Having had not the worst year in our life but one with several disappointments, not the least of which was Fred's cancer operation, we decided burning an effigy this year would be a good cleansing ritual for us.  There is something inherently satisfying about providing a fiery end to the year's frustrations.

On December 30th we ventured down to the corner of our street and browsed through several effigies until we came upon "Emilio".  Emilio came home with us and quite promptly made himself completely at home in our apartment totally oblivious to his ultimate fate. 

Princess & Emilio became friendly and although Emilio took over our apartment without a "by your leave", he was essentially quiet & no trouble at all.  We went out during the day and Emilio was still sitting in the same spot we'd left him in when we arrived home.  Fred however suspected he may have raided the fridge while we were asleep.

When the time came to immolate Emilio, he went with no protest.   Stuffed in his little cloth & paper body were all the bad feelings, disappointment & tensions of 2010.  He carried them with nary a whimper. 

We had some difficulty getting Emilio burning properly, the bitterness inside him did not want to let go, but in the end, there was nothing left but a scrap of blackened cloth & a pile of ashes.

The sacrifice Emilio made for us will be remembered throughout 2011.  Thanks Emilio!