Thursday, November 16, 2006
Hmm... I used to think that "hungry" as a word was pretty easy to define; it was when I hadn't eaten in a while and I wanted something to eat. I bet a lot of the respondents or subjects of the USDA report who haven't had food on their tables in a while could understand the term. I sure could.
So, I've got an idea for motivating the writers of next year's report to come up with a definition of "hunger": Let's just give them bread and water for the week leading up the drafting of the report, and maybe, just water, for the last couple of days before report writing starts. My guess is that they'd figure out a definition of hunger then.
But then, they'd probably say that hunger (when they'd defined it) could be assuaged by that vegetable, catsup. After all, Ronald Reagan said it counted as food, so it should be good for dealing with an undefineable condition....
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The thing is, Pelosi, in my book, appears to be practioner of the very same principles/habits of the Republican/Republican leadership, especially as pertains to corruption (or charges thereof, against Murtha). Regarding Murtha, she seems to value personal loyalty (that of Murtha in support of Pelosi's campaign to be House Minority leader), more than perceptions/allegations that Murtha's engaged in questionable actions benefitting his brother and another guy, and their consulting firms.
Pelosi doesn't seem to realize (or worse not care) that ignoring the views of the majority of her colleagues while dismissing whispers of corruption makes her look a lot like the leaders of the party the Democrats just ousted.
Most Americans voted just now to throw out the Republicans because of two things: Iraq and corruption. Pelosi hasn't said anything about what she plans to do re: Iraq. But she's taken the initiative in showing that she really doesn't take the concept, even the whiff, of corruption seriously.
Well, I've got news for Pelosi: She better listen really closely to people arguing against Murtha's nomination and more, she should heed those arguments. Or she might not be around in two more years....
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Most commentators/bloggers, etc. see all this as rejection of Bush et al's Iraq policies, and I'm sure that's a key factor. Still, I'm sure that there were/are lots of voters like myself who've never liked this administration's my-way-or the-highway approach as it rammed through initiatives injurious to America's middle class, including tax cuts of all sorts clearly intended to benefit the wealthy, changes (I wouldn't dignify them with the term "reforms") of MediCare/MedicAid also intended to benefit wealthy Republican cronies in the so-called health care industry, both HMO's and pharmaceutical companies (NB: U.S. health indicators overall, per the WHO, have us as country number 13 or 14 in the world), and... well, so on.
As well Bush and his pals, with some Democrat collaborators like Liberman (damn, I wish that man hadn't won; what a hypocritical, crypto-Repub!) have done serious, long term damage to citizens' rights to habeas corpus, freedom from illicit detention, torture, and so on. They've turned our country into a quasi-Gestapo-like state where the "authorities" can do damn well what they please with anyone that's deemed to be, whatever, a "person of interest", a "person with suspected ties/sympathies to terrorists", a "terrorist"(real or imagined, Bush and his team gets to make the call), and.... agh, it makes me gag.
...And we're not even talking about things like the damage this man and his government have done to the environment ("Global warming? What global warning?"), packing the courts with anti-abortion types (no stem cell research unless Nancy Reagan endorses it!), political hacks and nitwits who manage "faith-based initiatives" or who screw up Katrina responses - or Iraq, come to think of it.
Finally, there's the lying, cheating, corruption, hypocrisy, and just plain, disgusting bullying inherent in this group of people, all the way from Bush himself, his Darth Vaders, Rove and Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the list goes on, through Tom Delay and other corrupt, lying Congressmen, down into the ranks of the Repub party itself, as well as the operatives they've placed throughout the U.S. Government, always with an eye toward bending/distorting decisions to benefit themselves or their friends personally, or to forward their twisted agendas in areas such as health (the FDA's disgusting hold-off of Plan B pills for months), environment (two Secretaries of Interior continually overturning/ignoring sound technical recommendations on the environment because they were adverse to economic interests of party supporters), and so on....
Well, maybe, just maybe, some American voters have awakened to the realities of all of this after a six-year, self-induced coma in which they/they went along with all of this. Goddamn, what a fucking, frustrating mess....
So now, what will the Dems do? As has been said, Bush is still Bush and he still holds the reins of power, especially when it comes to foreign policy, with Iraq, that running, pus-filled sore of a mess foremost in that arena. What can/should the Dems do at this point? Well, I'd hold a long, long, public, very public, series of hearings/investigations of how we really got into the messes of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, of all of the arrogant, screwed up decisions that were made (without or without public knowledge) and all of the attendant, corrupt business dealings that have squandered our money, in particular in juicy, non-competitive contracts on the military and civilian aid fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We should use all of that in preparation for the 2008 elections in order to enlighten the electorate as to just what kind of government they bought into in 2000 (almost) and in 2004. And by the way, I haven't forgotten cowardly, fine-line walking types like Clinton, Kerry, Feinstein, and of course, Leiberman, who really should have been voted out this time or should be voted out the next time. The fact that these pusillanimous, talk-out-of-both-sides-of your-mouth-at-the-same-time sorts should even/even be considered as national leaders is a sad commentary on the dearth of principled, courageous leaders within the Democratic Party, and,unfortunately, the ignorance/stupidity of Dem membership itself.
The Dems need new leadership capable of getting us out of Iraq, of getting us respected once again in the world, and of taking care of middle class needs in this country, particularly as pertains to health care (we should have a national, universal, health care system with free care for all), education, particularly higher education (reinvigorate the University of California system, for instance), strengthen our borders against illegal immigration (I know, I run against the liberal mainstream on this; see a posting I did on this some months ago), and a ton of other areas that have languished/been ignored/been abused/been corrupted, as a resulted of the not-so intelligent design of Bush y cia...
Blah.. Well, I've vented for the moment. More later, as I can get away from the chocolate business.... And finally, fuck Rumsfeld; he got a lot of our boys and girls killed and killed a lot more Iraqis in the bargain. Stuff happens, indeed....
Friday, September 29, 2006
....This has been a bad week for civil/human rights as we understand it in the U.S. (or at least how I/I understand it anyway). We now have the Senate approving two "anti-terrorism" Bills which dispense with the need for warrants in carrying out phone tap interceptions, the right to habeas corpus (that is, the right to challenge detentions of persons who may or not be charged with specific crimes), and allows President Bush to set interrogation techniques as he sees fit (without having to tell anyone how he defines acceptable techniques or not; cool, huh?).
The latter Bill (that is, the one dealing with the treatment of detainees, who are qualified as either arrested/charged or prisoners of war; we've got third, new desgination which puts a hapless detainee off the legal map entirely, and the physical map as well - are they really in Guantanmo? Who knows?) pretty much lets the President have his way with terrorists, or those he calls terrorists (he gets to define/determine who terrorists/detainees are too).
Oh, and finally, the best part is, the President and his boys don't have to tell anyone/anyone what they're doing or have done, all in the interests of national security and protecting their sources, tortured or otherwise...
I don't call myself a historian by any means, but ok, I've read some books on history, and I gotta say, where we've come and what we've done over the last five years, via the Patriot Act and now this.... deed that was done this last week have brought us right up their with countries like Argentina and Chile in their worst years in the 70's and 80's, with governments empowered to do whatever they want to individuals and not having to account for their actions.
Well, the only thing I can figure we can do is change our Congress in November, and hope that we pick up enough people who remember what our country was all about - decency, honesty, confidence, and respect for the rights of anyone/anyone, no matter their nationality or charges/suspicions against them. In short, old fashioned though it may sound, I think we gotta treat these bad, really bad guys, better than they've treated us. Otherwise, we're no different from them. Quaint idea, huh?
Saturday, September 16, 2006
.... I came across the enclosed photo of the family cat with my daughter and her boyfriend, as taken by my son. I've got one of those digital cameras with flash system that supposedly prevents red-eye in the subjects. Looks like it doesn't prevent THIS kind of eye reaction which is 100% the real thing, honest, un-retouched, because I don't even know how to touch the photos, let alone retouch them. This cat's a great little cat, a two year Siamese, which is the smartest cat I've ever known. It's little alright, so little that lots of people think it's not full grown but it is, one time mother, then fixed, all in its first year and a half of life. This cat thinks it's a dog, and it fetches like one. In fact, it's such a fetcher that, after throwing her toy (really just plastic wrap bound up in a rubber band) for 99 times, the human gets bored, not the cat, and gives up on the game. She's sleeping on my legs as I write this; one thing she loves is body heat and at night, if she can get away with it, she'll get under the blankets in bed with me. Quite a cat...
Friday, August 25, 2006
I use the blog name Tambopaxi, and after all this time, I guess it's only fitting that I publish a photo that shows the actual Tambopaxi (the structure to the right of the photo), with K and myself standing in front of Cotopaxi, a 19,000 foot live volcano situated in the northern Andes of Ecuador. It's a beautiful, cold country, up here in the Andean Cordillera (as opposed to the hot, humid Pacific coast and Amazonian jungle areas of this same nifty little nation). God, I love it here.....
Friday, June 09, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I don't know why, but right now, I feel compelled to write a bit about this beautiful place in which I've chosen to live. It's raining now as I write this, as we go into our seventh month of rain this year, the rainiest since I arrived here in mid-2001. (I'm glad I can say it's the rainiest year; gad, I'd hate to think what a rainier year would be like.)
This place (Ecuador) is about the size of Nevada, if you live in the States. While Nevada isn't the largest State by far, it's a fair sized chunk of territory, and so is Ecuador.
For a relatively small country though (and it's a lot, lot smaller than its neighbors, Colombia and Peru) it's got just about every kind of geographic setting and climate you'd want. Deserts, beaches, jungles, booming white water rivers, 20,000+ foot mountains, volcanoes, big world class surf, and of course, the unique (really) Galapagos - it's all here, plus Quito which is a cool city.
OK, it's not France, or some other nifty place that I'm sure you've seen, but the place meets my middle class needs, that's for sure, and I'm having a good time, so what the hell, who needs France?
What makes Ecuador more interesting though, are its people, whose personalities run the usual gamut, saints to sinners, and blah, blah. The thing is, if you look at this country at a macro level, at what I call its national psyche, you (or at least I) see a massive case of national low self esteem. Ecuadorians simply don't believe in/don't trust their social/governmental institutions, be it the Congress, justice system, the military, cops, media, or whatever. Ecuadorians expect their institutions to be weak, ineffective, corrupt and failed - and their expectations are met, just about every day they wake up and read the papers.
There's a standing joke (used in other countries too) that everything's cool in Ecuador; the only problem is that there are Ecuadorians here... I don't know, I've lived in seven different countries in Latin America (and by "lived", I mean three years or more in each and every country), and aside from, maybe, Honduras, I've never seen a more severe case of national inferiority.
Oh, well, I like to think that's something that outsiders who choose to live here, like me, can help change. These guys need a more positive attitude about their country and its ability to change/improve, and maybe people like me, who've adopted the place can lead the way. Let's hope so, anyway.....
Ooogg. I've got a chocolate stomach ache for the second time in five days, from sampling/tasting various chocolates. These chocolate projects I'm involved in have picked up momentum (as in, requiring more time/work, not generating income, at least not yet), and part of alll that entails tasting various chocolates I've come across.
As time goes by, I'm getting more educated (I was going to say more sophisticated, but that's a bit presumptuous) with respect to cacao and chocolate, tasting the various kinds of cacao and chocolate, well, that goes with the territory. The funny thing is, while I like chocolate, I don't consider myself a chocoholic, as they term it. And past a certain point, it, well, I get a stomach ache.
But what the hell, it's for the cause, you know?
Anyway, the two projects I'm involved in, the chocolate cafe idea for local customers/consumption here in Quito, and the chocolate manufacturing/export business both continue apace, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but both going onward, which is good.
I just need to pace myself on the tasting part of thing, that's all...
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I was thinking about the massive demonstrations by illegal immigrants and their supporters in the States. The arrogance of these people is intolerable, and the U.S. government needs to put an end to it. I've heard various politicos, including Bush say that, gosh, with SO many of them, it's just impossible to do anything, so let's make citizens of all of them!
Right, great, yeah, that'll put a stop to the problem, and illegal immigrants are a problem. I just don't accept the old, "humble, hardworking little guy trying to realize the American Dream" paradigm. Illegal is illegal, damnit, and as far as I'm concerned, we need to put a full, full stop to this wave of arrogance and lawbreaking (and not talking about that asshole Bush, his cronies, and his administration; that's a whole other story). I'm talking about the millions of people who've walked, flown, swam, or whatever, in the the United States without a visa.
Anyone know what a visa is? Why, that's where you get the permission of a country's government to enter the country BEFORE you enter the country. Quaint idea, isn't it? Well, it happens, folks, that I DON'T think it's quaint; it's the law, and guess what? It's the law in all of the countries that have chosen to turn a blind eye to the thousands or millions of people who have bailed out on their countries and violated U.S. law, including Mexico (whose President, Vicente Fox once said, outrageously, that the U.S. was "coresponsible" for all of the illegal Mexicans in the U.S.), every Central American country, Ecuador (where I live, and where I worked hard to get a visa to stay, live and work) and lord knows how many other places which are using the U.S. as the escape valve for the people who can't or won't get a job at home.
I've always been against illegal immigration because it's, well, illegal, and every time it happens, it represents an abnegation of responsibility by the dumping countries (Mexico, et al) to their own citizens, to generate jobs, decent health and education systems, and, oh yeah, how about honest government?
-- And please, please, spare me comments about Bush; I've already said he's an asshole and I mean it. I would dearly love to impeach the SOB, but then we'd end up with Cheney as Prez, for god's sake, so....
Anyway, on the II issue, I don't know how many of the illegals we can practically deport, but I think we should try and throw as many of them out as possible.
The demonstrations of the last week or so, complete with thousands of Mexican flags are simply the latest example of how bad the problem has become in the terms of numbers, but now, in terms of their very public attitude toward the U.S. government and America in general: Hey we're here illegally, you need us (NOT), and if you try to enforce U.S. law, we'll threaten you and work to disrupt your economy and society.
Well, guys, that's it, you're outa here, as far as I'm concerned. And oh, yeah, message to Mexico: We're not coresponsible for YOUR problem and by god, we're going to get serious about throwing YOUR people out of OUR country and putting a wall up to keep more of YOUR people from getting. Mexico and other countries in the third world and their citizens, ALL of them, should be left to stew in the juices of their own inefficient, ineffective, failed and corrupt societies; let them work things out on their own. Lord knows we've tried to help them over the years, and all we've seen is more corruption, fuck ups, and oh yes, the usual tantrums regarding sovereignty, gringo imperialism, and etc...
Well, fuck you all, especially the Mexicans, and don't ever, ever, ever, send any more of your illegal people our way; your inept, hypocritical, and corrupt mismanagement is no excuse, ever, for dumping your people on the U.S. Grow up, take care of your own people, and don't think that the U.S. is so weak as to do nothing about all of those Mexican flags (and the flags of other countries) in our streets; we won't stand for it.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Sometimes I'm torn between my desire and love for her, and the other, simple need to be alone sometimes, to do things like this blog, which isn't any more important a thing than recording what's happening in my life on occasion.
I read other people's blogs, and it's marvelous, the poetry, the articulate opinions I read and I think, "Boy, I wish I could write like that", - but I don't, I just write about the ordinary things that happen here and between me, K, my kids, and on occasion, others around me.
I will say that, as time has gone by, the pain and sorrow I felt when I first started writing this thing (actually, it's predecessor over on Xanga) has eased/ faded somewhat. When I finally get around the divorce, the pain will flare up again, I bet, but then that's to be expected.
My life's still in transition, obviously, and I think I have a tendency to worry too much about, well, everything from my sex life to my financial life, to my future life (that is, the next few years, not the afterlife!). And I always put a negative cast, kind of like Woody Allen: I'm doomed, no matter what; really positive attitude in short.
The thing is, in reality, I don't have much to complain about. I've got my health, a good relationship with a good woman, a sex life better than anything I've had in years and years, three great kids, a bit of money, and some interesting economic possibilities that have nothing to do with what I've done in the past (perhaps the best thing of all, about all of this).
I have that tendency to do the reverse of what most positive people do, that is, I worry about the small stuff and don't worry about the big things. So far, I've been lucky in that the big stuff hasn't blown up on me, but the small stuff gives me stomach aches, lost sleep, and on occasion quarrels with K. I really need to learn how to stay off the small things and not get pissed/worried about them.
Well, tomorrow's another day, I suppose...
Saturday, April 29, 2006
...Been a hell of a month. Not bad, mind you, just busier than hell. The chocolate projects continue apace, and I'm even thinking about adding a third one (the first two being a chocolate cafe and a chocolate manufacturing/export business).
The photography classes have taken up more, much more time than I'd expected, they're going.... ok, but more on that later.
And finally, my son showed up from Panama for eight days during Easter Week break, which was a lot of fun. Here's a couple of photos from the month, one of my son, and one of the local Easter Week doings (don't try this at home!).
I'm outta here for friend's birthday party. Another posting on another day, soon, I hope.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Digital camera...along on photo shoots with K. Thing is, I'm taking analog (film) photo class while she's doing digital class. She's got her digital camera and I bring along two film cameras - while I should really bring along one film and one digital camera, since digital's much easier to publish than black and white film.
Still, as I've mentioned in other posts, I could do it, if I was industrious enough, since I've got a film/slide scanner which can put my b&w's on my mac....
Anyway, I'll get around to that one of these days. In the meantime, K's dumping all of her digital photos on this laptop, and I've swiped a couple (but just a couple) for this blog.
This film class is turning out to be tougher than I'd expected. Developing the shots hasn't proved to be overly difficult. What's been tougher is printing/blowing up the shots, and toughest of all, just plain composing the shots so as to get the light/contrast right - en fin, composition has been toughest of all. Backlit, low contrast shots are bitches to print out right, at least for me, but I'm getting more lab time in, so one of these days I'll get it right...
In the meantime, it's fun to take some digital shots every once in a while, as per the shot above. I gotta get a better camera, though, because my ex-wife managed to damage the lens shortly before we split up and the ding she inflicted on the lens shows up as a cloudy spot smack in the middle of the image every once in a while (look for it in some of the shots in this blog; you'll see it), which is irritating....
On the bright side, though, it DOES give me an excuse to buy one of those nice new, SLR d's with interchangeable lenses, eight mp's, etc., so, what the hell, I'll be patient.
... I'm playing Martin Scorcese's "Last Waltz" on dvd, with nice big Sony sound system as I write this. The first screen on the film says, "This film should be played LOUD!", and by god, that's what I'm doing. K's off at a welcome cocktail for new guys at her office, so I'm alone in my apartment; I wouldn't be doing this if she were here.
....Which sort of highlights one of the bennies of living alone: You can do whatever the hell you want, without having to negotiate on the volume, leaving the toilet lid up, the health implications of butter and peanut butter sandwiches (or baloney and cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip, yum!).
Still, I enjoy the hell out of her, and I'll be happy to see her when she comes by to pick me up...
More on me and her on another post, but that's it for now....
Friday, March 24, 2006
I thought about having my car washed during the dry spell earlier this week, but I held off, suspecting a return of the rain, and I'm happy to say I saved myself the money of the carwash. I don't really recall the last time I had the car washed, but it was sometime before - way before - Christmas, which gives you an idea of how long the rains having been going on (and yes, I WOULD have washed the car if, say, there'd been maybe a dry week, but no such luck). Still, there's kind of a cyclical aspect to it: Car gets dirty/muddy, new rain comes along, KIND of washes the mud off, rains generate new mud, car gets splashed with new mud, and etc...
It's kind of fun, though, watching a truly wet year (worst in, oh, 5,10, 15, 20 years, depending on which native you talk to) because plants and trees outside are going bonkers in terms of growth, and the normally dry, sere landscape to the north of Quito is green, all green, for the first time since I've been here...
And.... Sunday (the above part was written on Friday): Well, it mostly dry today except for the afternoon only - only - rained for an hour or so out on the road to the south of Quito.
Yesterday, Saturday, we went out on photo class photo shoot on which I took two analog (film) cameras, but no digital, unfortunately, so no shots of the lakes, mountains and rivers to the north that I can share, unfortunately.
I came up over one fair-sized waterfall, 20 meters or so, Peguche it's called. the other times I've seen it, it's been rather tame cascade, but this year, this wet, wet, wet year, it'd become one of those falls where you feel it through the ground before the mist hit and the mist almost blinds you before you see it; that kind of fall.. Usually you go into that with some sort of protection over the camera, like a bag or something, but I shucked off my knapsack and just went in there, no cover and took a bunch of shots. Film, like I say, black and white, so we'll see how it comes out later on this coming week, when I get to the lab.
Long day, about 10 kms of walking to get to locations, but a good day. Last part was rain, naturally, and I get pretty wet, including time around the waterfall, but I feel fine....
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I feel myself dropping into one of my depressive slumps again, one of those periods where I really don't want to see anyone, and I just feel my energy, my will to live fading away....
Here's the funny thing: I spent most of today in business meetings on chocolate projects (and by the way, I got up early - that's 5:00am early - to dash off in an hour the piece of work I'd delayed for almost two weeks) and I bet if you'd ask any participant in any of the meetings how I appeared, I came across as dynamic, humorous, and self-confident.
And then I come home to my big apartment, and I just sort of slump down in front of my computer and/or watch tv and/or take naps. I've got a fair-sized library of books, almost all of which I've read and re-read, but thinkng about it now, I haven't read serious book or even finished a book, in at least a year.
I'm in the midst of some sort of intellectual/spiritual entropy wherein my brain is rotting. Or at least, I'm not using any part of my brain not needed for daily interaction with people and keeping up appearances of normalcy with the world.
I just feel listless, and that's another thing: Since I went through those two bad colds, starting just around the beginning of the year, I really haven't done any physical exercise at all. I haven't gained much weight, if any, but that's to the good, actually, since I need to lose weight.
Physical exercise would do that, but lethargy reigns supreme for the moment. It's like I'm in sort of emotional/mental/physical limbo.
Energy, where are you? Motivation, where are you? Enjoyment of life, where are you?
Blah. I need a nap.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Blah. I'm inveterate, incorrigible procrastinator, I think. I've got a couple of fairly important tasks that I've agreed to do, and I simply keep putting them off. I've had this problem all my life, and for the life of me, I can't understand why I do it - or rather, why I don't. Perfectionism? Fear of error (the flip side of perfectionism)? Laziness? I don't know, but I know that I wake up every morning after another day in which I DIDN'T do something, my stomach tight with guilt over not having done task x, and resolved that TODAY, I will do it.... and then I don't. Ack.
I feel like this candle, burning down and melting away....
Sunday, March 12, 2006
... After a (surprise) rainy night, there was a truly surprising dawn: the sun came up. I looked out from K's ninth floor apartment to the east, over a quiet neighborhood, toward the large urban Parque Metropolitano, which overlooks Quito and the Andes, which loom over the city. A lot of the houses/apartments have flat roofs, puddled with water which reflected the growing dawnlight so that they look like dozens of large glass plates reflecting some fleecy clouds drifting in over the Parque.
Damn. Where's my camera when I need it? Well, ni modo, as they say; after that blessed leak, and a long drink of water, I went back to bed, and snuggled in against K's back and she slept on her side.
I love sleeping with K. That woman warmth, her hair spread out on the pillow, her small hand curved gently over her side, her lashes on her cheek, her gentle breathing, the bare shoulder on the sheet, the curve of her breast....
And I kissed her on the shoulder, stroked her hair, her face, and whispered that I loved her.
Goddam, this woman fills me with desire, with fire, with the need to touch her, to look at her, to carress her, kiss her, lick her, fuck her, feel her legs wrapped around me, coming on my cock.....
Have I made my point? Well, more, maybe, the feelings of aliveness, maleness, tenderness, lust, love, happiness, pleasure, completeness, affection, irritation, anger, frustration, and just plain passion, all these and more, I have for my woman, my K...
Guess I'm in love, huh?
--- We went for a walk this morning in the Parque Metropolitano (PM), after I picked up my camera from my own apartment. Wet, the PM, green, muddy, but lots of Sunday morning walkers, bicyclers, runners, wannabe picknickers (where the hell are they going to put their blankets, etc.?). The clouds have started closing in/closing up, but still enough sun gets through to keep it relatively warm, which was good, because I was in shorts, as is my habit. We walked, the two of us, for the better part of two hours, a good walk, especially after being cooped up by the rains for two weeks (yeah, that much rain; I mean it's been RAINING, man.).
We came back, showered up, and went out for lunch, which is a bit of a misnomer since we hadn't had any breakfast. We ate at a place called Adam's Rib, that's owned by an American who's lived here for over 25 years. I've met him and his wife, both from Texas, and nice people, both. Good Texas BBQ chicken and ribs, that much more rico (uh, better) for our empty stomachs...
We then spent two hours, going to three different shopping centers, looking for tickets to a Carlos Vives concert for ourselves, and K's 13 year-old niece, Lauris. Gad, what a pilgrimage, me driving around, looking for parking in the rain (oh yeah, did I tell you? It started raining again at 3:00pm, and it's still raining as I write, at 8:20pm...), not finding the right tickets, bla, bla, bla, until we finally found what we were looking for.
--- And then we got in a fight because she suddenly had to rush to her parents' house such that we didn't have time for me to look at an iPod in a store where (finally! finally!) we had found the tickets. Big yelling match, and she IS a match for me, 120 lbs to my 165, and we're equals, in spirit, and many other things as well.... We ended up making love (parents be damned, when it comes to fucking), and made up, all this in the space of oh, 45-50 minutes or so....
So now K's visiting with her mom and dad, whom I've met (and THAT was an interesting experience, but for another post), while I write this, and finish it, to more rain, and waiting for her phone call.... Buenas noches....
Saturday, March 11, 2006
This year has been the rainiest year I've experienced since I arrived in Quito in August 2001. It has rained almost every day and every night since the beginning of November. Needless to say, everything is green, green, green, but alright, already, everything is also muddy, semi-moldy, and just, well, wet.
- And that's here in the Sierra, where everything is on the side of hills - or IS the hill, for that matter - and so the water runs off to wherever. Down on the coast, the weather's been pretty much the same, rain without letup, and so coastal areas from Colombia to Peru are turning into immense rice paddies, without the rice. I was down there last week, south of Guayaquil, and the edges of the roads have become a series of long, long cattle ranges, because the raised roadways are the only places where the poor beasts can stay reasonably dry.
Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil has a fairly good drainage management system, luckily, but even so, there are large parts of the city which have been under water for days and weeks... Total, wet, bummer...
Attached picture: I haven't learned how to put on captions, but this one might read: But WE'RE doing alright!
Friday, March 10, 2006
Coincidentally, they did postings yesterday on racism, with the difference that Rollertrain (or Chagres, as she calls herself) was into the I'm white, therefore I'm guilty, mode of thinking on the subject, while Hiromi was into the chip on the shoulder, I'm Asian, therefore the injured party, mode.
The funny thing about these sorts of things is that you get articulate, smart people saying ignorant things and sometimes, just dumb things. I guess the good thing is that you've got a lot of people concerned about an important subject but aside from carrying a chip on their shoulder, as I say, I don't think any of them have really lived the racism thing for true.
Hiromi, for instance, talks about speaking English in Japan and freaking people out. But I don't think she's really run into the Japanese brand of racism, which sees people like her as mutant, racially impure folks who've been contaminated by western culture. She's got a lot learn, I'd say..
Chagres, on the other hand, seems to take the, "We're white, therefore racist", mode, albeit in a nice way...
Guys, really, give it a break, just be decent to people, call people on any overt racist actions/statements, etc., and please, please, please, stop generalizing/lumping people in set groups and/or presupposed modes of conduct. Anything to contrary, and well, you're just, uhm, prejudiced, at the least, if not racist yourself..
Like I say, give it a rest and be decent to all people with whom you deal, in the expectation that they will treat you likewise...
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Today is a big day here in Ecuador, and in a lot of other countries here in Latin America. I don't recall that it was ever a big thing in the States, but it's been a long time since I've lived there, so it may be that it's widely observed there now - although I see no mention of it in today's LA Times, NY Times, or Washington Post (love the web!).
Anyway, heeeereee... We celebrated by making love, and then this morning, for Women's Day present (morning version) I gave her her very first vibrator (plus free batteries!), an early morning wake up quickie, and then held her while she fell asleep. Tonight, romantic dinner at her specific request, and then who knows? Maybe take the vibrator out for its trial run!
I enjoy being with K so much, and ok, so you've noticed, I like the sex part of the whole equation as well! I told her this morning that I love the way that she makes me feel alive, and horny, and how she completes me as a man. After so many years of a sterile, almost sexless relationship, god, I can't tell you what it means to have a woman in my bed (well, her bed a lot, too, since we don't live together), who's warm who doesn't mind sleeping naked, who's comfortable with her body, who loves my body, and who's funny in bed, who jokes, who's tender, and sweet, and likes to hug me at night.
It's just really, really nice...
And I love her for it, so much. I tell her that a lot and sometimes I think I sound like a broken record, because I repeat myself.
Right now, typing this, I have tears in my eyes, because I'm writing about enjoying something so basic and so nice, that I missed (and didn't even know I missed) for years... I told her I feel like I'm making up for lost time, and sometimes I even feel desperate in my love making, because I'm 59, and I don't know how much time remains to me..
I went through 23 years of marriage. During that time, I didn't have one affair, not one. I'm not a religious person; I dislike organized religion intensely. But the conservative culture of the governmental agency for which I worked, the same conservative nature of the people with whom I worked, my own wife, and my OWN personality, all conspired to keep me in a marriage which just got more and more sterile, and finally, somewhere along the line, it just sort of quietly died, without rancor, violence or even harsh words.... It just went away and left a vacuum which K, who was my secretary, filled, in the just the same sort of subtle way..
K is 36 years old and she's got a body that won't quit, with lovely legs, tits that make men drool, and an ass and belly that... well, I enjoy the whole ensemble a lot, lot, lot...
Some other day, when I've got more time, I'll write about how we came to be as a couple, and how we see each other, but for the time being, I'll just leave the picture of her enjoying the Big Sur sunshine and sea, absorbing their energy, and just being the woman I love, my K... Happy Women's Day to you, K!
Monday, March 06, 2006
How many thousands of millions are - have there been - of us on this planet? Lots, I'd guess. And still.... for those of us with children - for me at least - parenting and the hassle/pleasure of having children is the first and only time it's happened, it's that special.
Case in point is my son.
Every time I look at this boy, I marvel at our lives, at the fact we are in each other's lives, that we are so alike and so different... I guess you could say that our relationship, compared to that of other fathers and sons, is no big thing. Neither of us like baseball or fishing, so we don't have any of those classic male bonding stories to tell of the big one we caught together, or the Little League games won or lost.
The fact is that for most of my son's 16 year life, I was more of the OTHER kind of classic dad, the one who's not there, who's off at business conferences and/or the office such that I might have seen my son briefly in the morning, while he's getting ready for school and I'm getting ready for work.
....And at the other end of the day, I'm coming home late, and he's on the computer or in front of the xbox, or on the phone, or doing his homework (although most of the time, he's so conscientious and smart, he's done his homework long before I get home).
It's only been with my retirement and, ironically, his departure for another country, that we've begun to develop a relationship wherein we talk and share thougths and ideas. We're not very profound the two of us. When I look at all the things, deep and not, that people talk about in their blogs, I consider our chats and conversations to be pretty mundane, talking about Limewire, or the latest laptop, or his surfing in Panama, or my mountain climbing, etc. Not impressive stuff, by any means.
Still, it's us, the two of us talking, and that's a lot more than it used to be, and I wish/hope that we talk a lot more in the future; he's such a wonderful person...
Friday, March 03, 2006
It's been, oh, 18 months, since I last touched my wife, and it's been eight months since I last saw her, when she left for Panama along with my 1 year old son.
Those milestones are basically two of the last major steps marking the end of my 23 year marriage to her. To be clear, I'm still legally married to her, and we've got the children and some property which still link us.
We separated emotionally years ago but the usual considerations, children, job, money, etc., and the simple intertia of avoiding conflict, unhappiness, stress, scandal, etc., all contrived to keep the arrangement together for all of those same years.
All of this came to an end, in slow motion, over several months, in a classic denouement involving my secretary, clashes with my bosses in Ecuador and Washington, and a growing sense that I needed to change, change everything, and move on. In other posts, I'll get around to the secretary (K), and work, and the whole messy thing....
Today, though, I just woke up with with one of those recurring feelings (weaker, and less frequent, though, all the time) of sorrow and regret over all that happened in losing the marriage and the pain it caused my (soon to be) ex-wife. I don't know how many people have told me, in trying to comfort me, that both actors are equally responsible for a marriage staying together, or not. Whether it's true or not (and I hope it's true), I still wake up feeling bad, on occasion, and regretting the pain I caused the woman pictured in this post. The picture is small and faint, and my image/memory of her grows more like that every day. But still.....
Pictures haven't been coming out lately in postings. Let's see what happens with this one. Looks like it came out ok... This is near Hacienda La Zuleta, around 9,500 feet up in the Ecuadorian Andes. Guess this poor old truck couldn't take the altitude....
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I'm putting a picture of the long entrance into this place to give you an idea of the scale of the place - and this isn't the whole length of the entrance, btw...
I started this posting on Tuesday, but I've been so busy on my business projects (cacao and chocolate; more on these things in later postings) that this posting has languished in draft for most of the week, in fact for so long that the weather, at long last has improved, and we've actually had a day and a half of sun, for god's sake.
In the meantime, I've had a couple of great chats with my kids in Washington and Panama, and it's nice to grow closer to them, especially after years of my not paying much attention to them, because of work, fatigue, and the general, chronic blahs...
The events of last year, which saw my retirement from a 30 year job and the breakup of my marriage after my affair with my secretary, threw me into a whole new lifestyle which I'm starting to enjoy after the first few months in which I was essentially in shock.
I gotta say that I feel much more relaxed, and what with the various nascent business ventures, photog classes, volunteer work and my girlfriend (my former secretary; yes I'm still with her), life is beginning to be fun. As well, as I say, I'm growing closer to my kids and writing/chatting with them more often. Given all this, the fact that I'm 59 and my acute sense of irony, this probably means that I'll be having a fatal heart attack in the near future - just when I'm starting to enjoy life....
Still, the last three/four months have made it worthwhile, so what the hell..
OK, I'll close this out so that something shows up at least every 10 days or so.
I hope the photo comes out this time!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
On the other hand... I'm brand new (see the way I handle this blog!) to this business, so I have the real luxury of operating in anonymity and obscurity (no comments so far!).
It's kind of funny, paradoxical thing, I have not/not told anyone close to me in any way about this blog, because I sure as hell don't want them to know about it, but I feel kind of lonely because of.... the same lack of comments. Just can't make myself happy, huh?
In a little while, I'm going to my photo lab where I think we're doing contact sheets of the negatives I developed (first ones!) last week. I'm also taking four rolls of undeveloped film to develop, as well. I've been using Ilford 400 film which always comes well recommended, but when I scanned it and put it on my big screen Mac, it comes out really grainy. So I'm going to develop some Kodak Tmax 100, which has a much more efficient emulsion (t plaques), and the next time, I'm going to push it to 400 the next time I take photos to see if it really does come out nicer on the mac, as I'm told.
As I write this, I'm watching a B movie, "Terminal", with Tom Hanks. It's not all that well done, if you're into critiquing movies, but it's schmaltzy, and I'm a sucker for schmaltzy flicks. In fact, I get teary over these kinds of movies, which K finds very endearing; she loves my sentimental streak, and I love it that she loves that.
I like schmaltz because always (ok, usually) has a nice, happy ending, even uplifting, on occasion. And that appeals to me because I ultimately believe that things will turn nice for most of us. And you know what? Things do have a habit of turning out good. In fact, I believe that's the way things are going for me right now here. I've got my chocolate projects going ok, not great, but ok, and I'm doing volunteer work for a couple of local NGO's, and of course the photo class, which will go on for nine (9!) months (I tell you, it's a serious class).
And K, my K...... Well, that's going good too, real good, truth to tell. But my guess is that of all my projects, this will be the longest one of all, because I want to make it work, so that it's the last relationship in my life (long enough for you, dear reader?).
K's been taking the parallel digital photography class, and I'm attaching one of her photos, since mine aren't downloaded onto my laptop yet. The photo is of the interior of the old San Augustin convent in Old Town Quito. Quito is a treasure trove of Spanish Colonial and Republican architecture. This convent is oh, about 400 years old and has been beautifully restored. If you ever get a chance to come to Quito, do it, and bring a camera; it's a beautiful place. LATE NOTE! For some reason, I can't get the photo to upload; maybe next posting, with a little more experience in understanding how blogging works! take care.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
At the end of a miserable, rainy day, all day, K showed up with hot chicken soup and while I was scarfing that down, she proceeded to hand squeeze a big mug of lemonade, which she heated, piping hot for my drinking pleasure - and to fight this shit cold I came down with on Sunday.....
Oh, K, my woman, my darling woman, you are an angel, I swear. We have our squabbles, that's for sure, but when you make me sit down, con calma, to drink my (her) soup and lemonade, I know that I am one lucky person. I guess, as time goes by, I'll talk more about how K and I came to be together. Suffice it to say right now, that I love this woman, I enjoy her, I care for her, and she cares for me. As I say, she gets on my nerves sometimes, but that's me, and my lazy need sometime to be alone, even after 23 years of marriage.
Right, marriage... In fact, legally, I'm still married, with my wife and son off in Panama setting up a new life for themselves (maybe; and I'll have to explain THAT as well, later). My plan right now is to ask for a divorce this coming summer, and after that, we'll see what happens with my relationship with K. She'd dearly love to marry me, I know, but we'll need to take this one step at a time - and that should NOT be taken as code for: later, much later, if ever...
K is a wonderful,loviing, and sexy woman (see photo, attached for concrete evidence of this last), and we see each other every day, and sleep together almost/almost every day.... We've gotten to be a steady item, as they say, and I hope it goes on for a long time to come; we'll see...
OK, I'll close out on this with photo of K (for inspiration, of course!)
Boy, do I have a headache - and a cold - and a cough. And this is the second time this year. It's been a shit weather year here, with rain, cold, fog, and sometimes hail virtually every day. I should say that I've been here in Quito almost five years and this is absolutely the worst weather season I've seen. Anyway, I'm taking hot lemonade, and pretty quick, at the behest of my girlfriend, my maid is going to make me a combo lemonade, ginger root, and cinnamon (homemade remedies rule here!), which, if it doesn't cure me, will certainly take my mind off the cold. Blah.
I just got through writing my younger daughter an email in response to a craigslist posting she sent me. The gist of the posting was "nice girls" (defined as - I'm summarizing here - girls that don't go down on the first date, girls that try to help screwed up guys, only to be dumped, etc.) almost always finish last because they're well, too nice.
OK, I'm male, so I confess a certain bias on this, but I wrote my daughter to say that not ALL males are self-absorbed, dysfunctional, sex-crazed beings whose only goal is to bed as many women as possible and then leave them.
The most important point I made is that she (my daughter) is a wonderful, intelligent, pretty, engaging, self-secure, and just damn nice person. I told her to rely on her sense of judgement of people, and obviously, their intentions, in dealing with men. I told her that she needs to take care of herself, and try not to get hurt (not guaranteed!), but not at the cost of becoming cynical, burned out, or distrustful of all men; there are some nice people out there, after all..
Well, we'll see how she responds. She's such a great person, and I'm really proud, proud, proud of her. I've inserted a photo of her and some friends (hope it comes out right side up!) That's her in black, third from the left, 18 years of age when this photo was taken a school last Halloween. I'm so lucky that I'm her father!
Friday, February 17, 2006
The last couple of days have sort of been technical days, if you will. I spent a little more time learning how to use various aspects of blogger, including settng my first link to a blog I've always admired, Sahalie Falling. She's a hell of a writer; it's always nice to read her postings.
There are several other blogs I'll link up to, time permitting. I say that because I'm involved in a couple of business endeavors involving chocolate, one a chocolate/coffee cafe which I'm setting up with some partners, and a second which involves one of the first serious, purely Ecuadoiran efforts to manufacture world-class, gourmet chocolate and export it to the U.S. and Europe.
On top of that, I'm taking film photography classes for the first time, years after I'd stopped taking film photos. I developed my first three rolls of film, just days after reading a NYT article that noted that film sales are just 15% of what they were six to eight years ago. Boy, talk about catching a dying fad - just kidding, I've had a digital camera since 2002. Anyway, the photo classes have been interesting, and it's also given me reason to take up the use of my Mac G4 and Nikon slide/film scanner which have languished in the family room for some time.
The Mac and scanner got a lot of use when the kids were with me, but not since they left for the States and Panama last August. Anyway, I just got through cleaning up the slide and film trays for the scanner and I tried the film tray out on the first film I developed earlier this week. It's all black and white stuff developed at the nice labs of the Aliance Francais, where I'm taking the classes.
K, my Ecuadorian girl friend is taking the digital photo class at the Aliance, which allows us to go out together taking photos together. It's fun, and so is she.
Speaking of her, here's a photo I took of her when we were in San Francisco last November:
I've taken some photos of her in black and white which I'll scan to the Mac later, and I have any luck at photo management, etc., eventually they'll show up at this address as well. One thing I do know for sure, I'll have to learn how to put photos in the blog, right size up, but bear with me, one step at a time...
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Let me tell you a story.
On this day, one year ago, I sat at the head of a table in my office and looked at 45 of my colleagues sitting and standing around that table with puzzled looks on their faces.
Four of the people in the room already knew what I was going to say; the looks on their faces ranged from sad to tearful....
I took a deep breath and proceeded to shock the room by telling them that it had come to the attention of my bosses that I was having an affair with my secretary, who sat to my immediate right in the meeting. While my bosses had done nothing, I announced that I was relieving myself of my responsibilities and turning them and my post over to my deputy effective immediately. I told all assembled I wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to my wife, my secretary, and my colleagues for having let them all down.
The response from everyone was not what I had expected. People began to cry, and others came forward to say that I had nothing to apologize for, that they cared about me and my secretary deeply, and that everyone stood behind me. My secretary cried, reasonably enough and some came forward to comfort her. Others came forward to shake my hand, and hug me, with many of them crying as they did so. One guy told me that what I did was the bravest thing he'd ever seen.
We stood up and entire room formed a kind of receving line (or more like a condolence line, I suppose) to say goodbye....
And we did, and that was last time I saw my crew, in tears and me too...
Anyway, it's a year later now, and I'm still here in Quito and so is everyone else. I'm separated from my wife, not surprisingly, and while I don't live with my secretary, we see each other every day and most nights, but not all, we are together.
Things are calmer now, and I daresay, happier. At the same time, the scars are there, and healing, but still sensitive, very sensitive. Time has gone by, and the trauma is fading. But more time will be needed for me to really get my bearings, I think...
One year later, and where is this all going?
Don't know yet, but maybe these postings will help answer that question.....
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Anyway, I posted to that blog for about six weeks, as I recall, and then dropped it with nary a comment. I should say that I started that blog as a result of a series of tough personal problems, and at the suggestion of a lady who didn't even know what a blog was, but who, apprised of their existence and nature, thought that I might benefit from setting one up; and so I did.
As I said, after resounding lack of response to that blog, I stopped posting to it around August 21.
I should say that another reason for stopping had to do with that fact that my emotional state was slowly improving after several tumultuous months which saw the end of my marriage and my retirement from my job after a 30 year career. My family and I had split up, and I was living alone for the first time in almost 23 years. Those events threw me into an emotional tailspin, and caused me, an ordinarily unexpressive person, to start writing a blog.
The thing is, I tend to be lazy, frankly, and after a certain period of healing, I no longer saw a need to continue with my posts - so I didn't.
After another period of time, though, it occurred to me that doing something, anything, might be worthwhile, so when I stumbled across the google/blogger site, I opened one up and...... did nothing for over three months.
Now, after all that time, I'm going through another stressful period, less stressful than the last, I'll admit, but stressful nevertheless, and so, after months of silence, this posting.
More later, L
P. S. I don't know why, but the profile section shows me as being in Equatorial Guinea. I'm not there, I'm in Ecuador!