Thursday, 30 June 2011

Bossy Forgets (Momentarily) How Lucky She Is

"It's 1:06" Bossy complained "...and I've been working since 9:30 this morning!" 

It was shopping day and Bossy & Selfish got up, did their morning routine and then walked to the SuperMaxi to buy their groceries.  They were having company the next day, so they bought some extra items plus, and the grocery bill was enough to make Selfish quake a bit. 

Bossy patted him on the arm as Selfish was busy managing to elicit some sympathy from the Spanish speaking cashier.  (A raised eye brow & a grin; all Gringo's are rich.).

"We got the giant dog food for Princess" Bossy explained to Selfish "...and the plastic garbage can to keep it in, and that cost $30 dollars plus $8 dollars, so it really wasn't that bad." 

Bossy came close to batting her eyes at Selfish.  His 'grumpiness' at the cost of groceries was an inherited trait, not so much from his parents as from their 'Dirty 30's' heritage."  (Those who pray should pray that we don't see such as that again.)

Bossy & Selfish left the mall and got a taxi driver who knew where they lived (it pretty much works out that way these days) and upon arriving at their building they hauled the many bags of groceries from the trunk of the cab and then into the building's cart and then up to the apartment. 

Princess was (as usual) overjoyed (!) (this is an understatement) to see them. 

Selfish took Princess for her late morning walk and Bossy set out to put away the groceries and make 2 salads and a desert.

Some time later, Selfish & Princess returned, just about at the same time that Bossy had put away the last of the groceries.

"You're back early!?" Bossy remarked to Selfish.

"There was nothing going on in the park and it's hace calor" replied Selfish. 
Bossy grunted.

A couple of hours later after playing on the computer & watching TV for a bit, Selfish announced it was time for his nap.  Bossy was just finishing her washing up. 

Bossy thought in her mind (ya, where else) that Selfish had put off his nap until she had just about finished up in the kitchen, and gave him points for the empathetic foresight.

Selfish came up to her at the kitchen sink, put his arms around her waist and gave her a hug.  (A woman at a kitchen sink engenders an almost irresistible response from her mate to do this.)

Bossy complained her back was tiring (along with several other parts of her anatomy) and Selfish unhesitatingly commiserated.

Selfish then went off for his nap while Bossy finished her chores.

After that all was quiet for a while. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Give Me a Sign

Just a little music to enjoy while reading quotes.

Spanish/English Menu
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us. ~ Bill Watterson #quote

You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs.~ Mitch Hedberg #quote

Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the wizarding world. ~ J. K. Rowling #quote

A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory. ~ Mark Twain #quote

A Walking Sign
Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window; Why, why, says the junk in the yard. ~ Paul McCartney #quote

America, America / Man sheds his waste on thee / And hides the pines / With billboard signs / From sea to oily sea! ~ J.J. Cale #lyrics

If you suffer, thank God! It is a sure sign that you are alive. ~ Elbert Hubbard #quote

When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him ~ J. Swift #quote

If I had kept my mouth shut, I wouldn't be here. ~ Sign under a mounted fish #quote

At the front of an Ecuadorian Eyeglass Place
A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity. ~ Honore de Balzac #quote

Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young. ~ Rabindranath Tagore #quote

If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank. ~ Woody Allen #quote

And the sign said: The words of the prophets are written / On the subway walls and tenement halls ~ Simon & Garfunkel #lyrics

To view other pictures of various signs click here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Through Our Looking Glass

Ever helpful Wikipedia tells us that "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a work of children's literature by Lewis Carroll.  It is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The themes and settings of Through the Looking-Glass make it a kind of mirror image of Wonderland: the first book begins outdoors, in the warm month of May, uses frequent changes in size as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of playing cards; the second opens indoors on a snowy, wintry night exactly six months later, on November 4, uses frequent changes in time and spatial directions as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of chess.  In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites, time running backwards, and so on.

All the pictures on this blog were taken through our front room window.  The scene is merely a neighbourhood, albeit in Ecuador and it's the sky each time that catches our eye.

Before coming to Ecuador in our retirement, we lived on a boat in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Our boat, Dowager, was a 1931 patrol vessel originally used by the British Columbia Game Department to keep an eye on the hunters and fishermen.  She also served as a patrol boat for the Provincial Police and actually had a cell set up in her fo'c'sle at one time.  We lived on the boat for close to 15 years and wouldn't have stayed that long on her if she didn't suit us.

However, Dowager's living quarters were down in the water, with tiny round port holes to peek out of from time to time to see what all the noise (or whatever) outside was all about.  We did not have a view.  We did not see big sky every day from our salon. 

Vancouver, B.C. is a beautiful city; cultural, convenient, well set up, with mountains & the ocean meeting each other.  It has a tremendous diversity in the population, bends over backwards for the arts, has purportedly some of the best restaurants in the world, is close to swimming & skiing & endless forests, etc. etc. etc. rains 300 days a year.

Checking on Wikipedia, they say:  "Although popularly thought of as being a rainy city, Vancouver has only 166 days per year with measurable precipitation on average, and 289 days with measurable sunshine. Nonetheless, from November until March, it is not uncommon for there to be 20 consecutive days with some amount of rain."

Frankly we find the above statistics hard to believe and wonder what the term "measurable" really means.   Also we're absolutely positive that often it rains 40 days and 40 nights with no let up.

When we slipped down our own rabbit hole and woke up in Cuenca we found that it rains here too.  Sometimes Biblical rain crashing in sheets down from the sky, but even during the "rainy" season, it only rains for a short time and then the equator sunshine is back out doing its thing. 

We only have a small, relatively cheap digital camera.  It's disappointing from time to time, that we can't truly capture a particular scene because of its limitations.  The sky through our looking glass is huge and ever changing and beckoning.   It's easy to look out through it and dream dreams and remember only the good times. 

If you'd like to see other pictures Through our Looking Glass, click here.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Selfish Offers No Sympathy

"How come?" Bossy whined to Selfish "Some people are allowed to tell me I should dye my hair and other people are allowed to tell me my cooking isn't any good and other people are allowed to tell me obscure jokes that I don't even think are funny and other people are allowed to play super weird mind games with me...." Bossy takes a big breath and then continues "....and then if I turn around and tease them or rib them or joke back at them they get all offended?"

Selfish grunted and replied:  "Don't whine Bossy!  You know life isn't fair.  What do you want me to say?"

"I want you to say that some people just think they're better than other people.  That they think they are privileged where other people aren't."  Bossy thought but didn't say out loud.   "I want you to say that all it takes is determination and we can break the barriers that separate us and find common ground."   Bossy was on a roll now in her mind.  "I want you to say that everything's wonderful and will be that way forever."  Bossy had now gone tripping.

"I want you to say you love me" Bossy whispered out loud in Selfish's ear and then cozied in tighter.

Selfish complied.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Men at Work (Quotes)

 It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paper work & the other is nostalgia ~ Frank Zappa #quote

Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. ~ Bill Gates #quote

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. ~ Emile Zola #quote

A symptom of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. ~ Bertrand Russell #quote

We waste our lives working at jobs we hate to buy shit we don't need! ~ Tyler Durden, "Fight Club" #linesfrommovies

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art. ~ Claude Debussy #quote

Work to survive, survive by consuming, survive to consume: the hellish cycle is complete. ~ Raoul Vaneigem #quote

There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time! ~ Coco Chanel #quote

 All the conductor has to do is stand back and try not to get in the way. Mozart is doing all the work. ~ Colin R. Davis #quote

Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work, is what makes all the difference in art. ~ Dante G. Rossetti #quote

He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest. ~ Dylan Thomas #quote

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open. ~ Frank Zappa #quote

Without doubt half the ethical rules they din into our ears are designed to keep us at work.  ~ Llewelyn Powys #quote

Thunder is good. Thunder is impressive. But it's the lightning does the work. ~ Mark Twain #quote

I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. ~ Alexander Woollcott #quote

Anybody whose mind is functioning at all can't be content with the way the world works. ~ Frederick Wiseman #quote

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work. ~ Carl Sandburg #quote

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Carlos Castenada #quote

Miracles sometimes occur, but one has to work terribly hard for them. ~ Chaim Weizmann #quote

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. ~ Gustave Flaubert #quote

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~ Thomas A. Edison #quote

After you've done all the work & prepared as much as you can, what the hell, you might as well go out & have a good time. ~ Benny Goodman #quote

 No degree of dullness can safeguard a work against the determination of critics to find it fascinating. ~ Harold Rosenberg #quote

If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut. ~ Albert Einstein #quote

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying. ~ Woody Allen #quote

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. ~ Vince Lombardi #quote

I wish TV had a knob so you could turn up the intelligence. The one marked Brightness doesn't work. ~ Leo Gallagher #quote

 Some slaves are scoured to their work by whips, others by their restlessness and ambition. ~ John Ruskin #quote

If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves. ~ Joseph Kirkland #quote

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war. ~ Maria Montessori #quote

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. ~ Kurt Vonnegut #quote

It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards. ~ Lewis Carroll #quote

Artists don't talk about art. Artists talk about work. ~ Paddy Chayefsky #quote

Monday, 6 June 2011

Ecuador Foliage

Ecuador hosts 10% of all species of plants existing on earth. From this percentage, most species grow in the Andean mountain chain, in the northern occidental zone, where there are an estimated ten thousand species. In the Amazonian region, there are also many vegetal species, around 8.200 only of orchids have been identified, for instance. In Galapagos, there are about 600 native species and another 250 introduced by mankind. Out of the twelve key biodiversity zones, three are found in continental Ecuador. The climatic diversity has given space to more than 25 thousand species of trees.

Eucalyptus was first introduced from Australia to the rest of the world by Sir Joseph Banks, bontanist, on the Cook expedition in 1770. It was subsequently introduced to many parts of the world, notably California, Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Portugal, South Africa, Uganda, Israel, Galicia and Chile. 

The megadiverse cloud forest is located on the slopes of Ecuador's Andes mountains and range in altitude from 1000 to 2500 meters. The vegetation is characterized by trees that range from 9 to 25 meters high. The most well known plants of this forest are guandera, quishuar and wild avocado. Other plant species of this forest are orchids, lycopodia, lichens, ferns, moss, bromeliads, liverworts, etc.

In the inter-Andean valleys the original vegetation has unfortunately been replaced by cultivation and constructions because the majority of the big towns and cities are located in these valleys. The original vegetation is characterized by algarrobos, podocarpus, epiphytes, black cabuyo, guarango, white leaf and chamano. 

The paramo (alpine tundra) contains scrubland, herbaceous vegetation and woody shrubs, frailejones, chuquiraguas, wild rosemary and valerian.

In the higher tropical rain forests you also find a huge variety of ferns and mosses. Trees abound but do not reach the immense heights of the lower tropical rain forests of the Amazon. Reaching the Inter-Andean valleys, we find more natural diversity but also a region, which was completely changed by man and where now many exotic plants are dominant. This holds also true for the agricultural rich coastal plains where imported fruits and crops took the place of the native tropical forest and changed completely the bio-zone. The higher we move up the less species per hectare you find but even the diversity in the high alpine region of the paramo of 4000m is amazing. You find there flowers like the colorful gentians and woody shrubs of the aster or composite families. Another very distinct characteristic of Ecuador's flora is its high percentage of endemic plants, which are by definition only found in Ecuador or even only in a particular region of the country, like a small and isolated valley. Those endemic plants represent 20% of all plants of mainland Ecuador and reaches a much higher percentage in Galapagos.

In Canada we grow Norfolk pine trees in pots inside.  In the main square in Cuenca, there are huge Norfolk pines towering over the city.

Just miles from the equator, rose & flower farms have become a colorful focal point of Ecuador's Andean countryside. With an elevation nearing 10,000 feet, the country's proximity to the sun and cool nights provide perfect growing conditions for flowers. Ecuador's cut-flower industry supplies roughly one-third of America's roses.

Throughout the world there are 97 varieties of oranges. In Ecuador a few of these varieties are grown everywhere and make wonderful fresh juice. The large oranges have no seeds but are less sweet. The small oranges are full of seeds but are very sweet.

More pictures of some of Ecuador's beautiful orchids and other foliage can be seen by clicking the links.   As well flower pictures from both Vancouver, B.C. and Ecuador can be seen by clicking Spring.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Bossy & Selfish Remember

Once again Bossy worried out loud to Selfish that she'd inadvertently offended someone. Selfish rolled his eyes and advised Bossy not to worry.

Like those words ever work.

Bossy leaped up from their cozy and went to the computer to look up on Google "define: peanut gallery".

"Oh Dear!" Bossy said with Selfish leaning over her shoulder. "It really isn't a very nice thing to say."

Selfish groaned.

"I meant it funny!" Bossy squealed. "I can't believe this is happening! I'm sick of people getting offended over the smallest things and not discussing it with you!"

Selfish patted her on the back and gently took her arm and led her back to the bed. Lying there together, curled into each other Selfish said: "You don't even know they've taken offense yet. You're panicking over nothing."

Once again Bossy reiterated: "I'm sick of this! I'm just sick of this! I'm sick they'd misunderstand. I'm sick that apparently I have to be outrageously careful about what I say. I'm sick I may have offended them." She paused for a bit. "I was being funny!" she whined. "Oh Selfish, you know I didn't mean to offend them?"

Selfish squeezed a bit harder and said calming things like "tut tut" and "I love you".

"I've got one of my weird headaches!" Bossy complained further. "I'm sick of this!"

"Tut tut."

After a while, Bossy calmed down and then she and Selfish went through a litany of times in their past lives when they'd crossed paths with people who didn't see things the same way they did.

  • "Remember the lady at the marina who wouldn't let us through the gate onto the dock to go back to our boat because she didn't know us?"

  • "Remember the woman & her daughter that screamed at us that the woman was 'old' so they were justified in taking the parking spot we'd been waiting for?"

  • "Remember the 'lady' in the grocery store who got all offended because we wanted to go past her cart which was taking up all the room in the aisle?"

  • "Remember the man in the parking lot who threatened us with the base ball bat because he was mad at us for waiting for the traffic to clear?"

    Oh Dear (!) & Etc.

    After a while, Bossy calmed down and then both Bossy & Selfish agreed that they should take life as it came at them and try to laugh at most of it.

    "Not Japan though..." Bossy cautioned. "I knew some bigoted idiot would say that the earthquake & tsunami happened to them because God didn't love them!"

    Selfish laughed.

    Bossy went on..."And then did you notice that there wasn't a word about God not liking the Southern States!"

    Selfish shook his finger at Bossy and she gave up and cozied in, trying to clear her mind and just be.

    PS:- As it turned out, Bossy was only being overly sensitive and didn't offend anyone....that day.