Saturday, October 26, 2013


While visiting with my mom in Oregon, my niece and great nephew came up from California to visit.
It has been quite a few years since I have seen either of them so it was a very special visit for me!
After we took this picture, his mom said Max.. turn your shirt around...

Max, Kelly, me and mom

In mom's house.

Max & Great Grandma

 We had a nice visit, reminisced quite a bit and caught up on the last few years, but then it was time for them to go.  Mom made sure we all went through the photo albums first and took our favorite photos home with us.. there are a lot of photos!


I have been trying to post for the last few weeks and have been having issues with loading photos.

Here is some from my trip to the US in July! Lets hope this works.
Hooray it worked! OK, on to the rest. This is a basket in one of the towns.. I just love these flowering baskets.
I am not sure about this goats horns... aren't they incredible.. they are flat and curved.

Mom and I ate GOOOD while I was visiting!

 Oregon Coast!
 View from our room!

Holy Moley it was cold this day at the outlet mall on the coast!
But mom stopped for a great photo op!

Brother on the right, and cousins!
While in Oregon I got to go to our Family Reunion. Here are some pictures from that.
We were in Pioneer Park in Brownsville Oregon. 

Cousin Jack

My brother and his dog Hoss

Cousin Danny always is asked to sing

Mom and my crazy cousin Nancy

Cousin Jacks boots.. I just love them
More of those beautiful flower baskets!

It was sooo hot mom and I stopped for home made ice cream. These were the flowers spilling down a wall on the outside of the creamery!
I have more photos, but this blog is long enough.. will add more under another proper heading!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I was on my way to the US, and had to go down to Guayaquill the nite before.. I did not want to stay in hotel.. I called a friend.. Graciella Wakefield.  Gracie is from Guayaquill, lived in the US for years and years and then returned..

It amazes me that we can talk on email and feel an affinity for someone.. know that we like them, and they like us.. then when we meet its like old home week!

I called Gracie and she say SURE come on down.. then she went way out of her way to show me her city. (side bar... Gracie had just recovered from being sick).

We went all over! All day! Here are the photos I took. But my camera battery was about dead...I was exhausted by the end of the day.. She loves her city and it shows.

She took me all along the famous Guayaquill Malecon (boardwalk along the bay). She stopped and talked with kids along the way. Its so wonderful to see the respect and love the kids have here for their "elders". They ask questions and are honestly interested in the answers.. its pretty cool.

After the Malecon she decided we needed to climb this hill that is famous for its 444 steps.. Oh did I tell you that Gracie had just gotten over being sick? She is a fireball.
Yeah, each step is numbered... how sweet.

We were lucky that along the way there were seats, and we rested and looked at the view, talked about the people who live in the houses along the way, or have their businesses.. There is no road.. just those awful steep steps.

I am glad I did make it too.. I guess this top area used to be where they watched for incoming ships way back when. There was a cool Cannon up there, awesome old trees, a church and of course the awesome view.

At the top there was also a church! Of course!

I had a wonderful vist.. Thanks Graciella.. it was a nice stop over!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


July 1, 2010 we landed in Quito, Ecuador.. our whole life in 5 bags. We had made it through the luggage embargo with an extra overweight bag; they all made it with us, and we were meeting with our attorney the very next day to begin the VISA seems soooooo long ago.

Alot has happened since then, but nothing to make us consider leaving this country. I have made many trips back to the US for family reasons, and each time, I sigh with relief that I do not have that daily grind each day and have "escaped" from the rat race... OH Thanks Randy for being a smart guy and having a deferred compensation savings for us to live on!

I am about to make the 5th trip back to the US for almost a month! My mom is alive and well at 91, but misses me. So this is a trip to just "hang" with mom and enjoy our time together. I have even told my kids if they want to see me, they have to travel to Grandma's house.

There are many new folks from the US arriving daily in Ecuador. The coast is starting to be discovered, as well as Loja and other outlying areas. Cuena is still seeing alot of new faces. Either visiting to check it out or just moved here and extremely excited to get to know the town.

When we arrived we had just those suitcases.. now we have settled in quite well. We have our furniture, out motorcycles, and a dog! This is our home. We love it, and we will talk with anyone honestly about the good and the bad of living in a foreign country. It't not for everyone, but for us it was the perfect solution to our delimma... STRESS, WE HATE WORKING..what do we do..

I am eager to see my mom, to see if the economy is turning around in Salem, Oregon. To enjoy the weather and all the flowers and the trees that are abundant there. I will be thrilled to go to the Oregon Coast with my mom, and also to see all my relatives at the family reunion.. but I will be really happy to know that I will be back on my HOME soil in a few weeks. Because this is home.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


We are coming up on 3 years here in Cuenca, and sometimes I just have to smile as I listen to those who are new, all the changes and unexpected oddities they talk about... what? Those are just normal now.

I was talking to my mom the other day telling her about a few modifications we had made to accomodate an ongoing problem.. She said.. well when I was young I could live like that, but no more.. Does that mean I am young? I hope so.

When we first saw our home, I was aghast at their idea of a venting system in the bathroom..
Now when we have guests I point it out proudly, and state it works very well and it does not use electricity..
Yep... its a window kind of thing vented into the attic. The light you see is from the skylights set into the roof itself.

Most all of the lights were just free hanging or just the bare bulb sticking out of the fixture. Randy worked alot of them over in most of the house, but in the bathrooms we chose to just leave them bare.. we don't even notice them now...

Our laundry room has a great glass ceilng over it. We grow nice plants in there because of the warmth.. which comes from the sun, as well as the dryer vent.. yep. It is not vented to the outdoors..
It took me a bit to figure it out, but now we have a nice way to use the heat without lint all over the laundry room.

I knew I would find a use for those old black knee high nylons!
In the states there are a bunch of regulations about placement of outlets and what needs to be in a kitchen.. like a vent hood over the stove..and plug-ins not too close to the water...not so much here.. Now these seem normal and I don't even comment on them to "newbies"


As you can see in the  photo above.. off to the left is that nasty plug in. We use a tub in the sink cause we cant find a plug for the sink.. also that yellow thing is our dish drainer. Oh and the black line along to back of the sink.. yep.. mold. Water from the faucet splashes on the back whenever we use it, so the water is seeping under the clear calking.. I get a nice view of the mold. The mold will be removed soon... by someone else while I am out of the house.
We had an ongoing issue with water coming into the house and POURING down the wall..  and some near our electrical components. That is fixed. But we still have our fix in place... just in case.
Surge protector on a box..
While we had guests the water came pouring into the guest bedroom so hard we thought the ceiling tile would break... so Randy poked a hole so the water could come out..we then added this other great idea so we would not have to worry about it when we are not home.. or home for that matter.
The hole for the water to escape.
A place for the water to go
Being renters we are responsible for small repairs.. like the toilets. This house is about 40 years old. The toilets have never been repaired. Only parts fixed as they broke. Randy had enough and called our handyman to come over and replace all the guts of all 3 toilets. We were so excited. Then the reality set in. These were all low flow flushing components. This is our fix
Remove tank lid, flush while adding one liter of extra water..
 We do love our house.. but I thought it would be fun to point out some of the oddites that we now do not even notice, or just go with. We love our life here and have learned to "adjust as necessary".

Friday, April 26, 2013


Frankie and I were headed out about 3:30 to walk... gorgeous day.. Randy says hey wait up I will go with you.. Well we walked for about an hour and headed home.. and oops guess what... neither one of us had our keys or phone.

I valiantly tried to climb over the fence, but because we put up a privacy wood covering on the inside I could not reach the concret lip on the opposite side with out serious damage to parts of my body that will not be named..

We walked confidently around the corner to Manon's house as she has our spare.. and she regularly uses our services of "the extra key", so we knew she would get a big kick out of being able to repay in kind.   Manon was not home... WHAT NOW?

I walked over to another friends, who I thought might have a key to Manons place... nope she did not, but she did have a phone and Manon's number... no answer... grrrr.. Ok, no problem we will wait..the dogs are in the house she can't stay out too late.

TICK TOCK... we sat in the park with our eyes glued on the only two ways she could reach her house.. nothing.

It was getting a bit nippy now, so I walked with Frankie up to Manons house to "just be sure we did not miss her". We did not miss her... so I kept walking . Around the block, I stopped at Jon and Barbies house.. they did not have an extra key to Manon's either, but again a phone.. so they tried to call her.. No answer ( it is now 4:55 and getting cold). Barbie offered me her sweater,  after my polite refusal of the use of her house, yard and food till we could get in... this is such a great community!

As I walked past my other neighbor, Teresa's house, I ring her bell.. nope she is not home. I know she does not have a key but maybe she has a ladder.

I went back and waited with Randy and Frankie...  I tell Randy that I noticed that we left the front door open so all we have to do it get over the fence.. Several variations of a theme are discussed but none are really going to be a reality ( One include me going back on the wall.. leaping out onto the papyrus and using is to slow my decent ..)

It is now closer to 6 than 5 and we are getting real chilly, and Frankie has had more than enough of this sitting around, so we decide to head up to Jon and Barbies to wait for Manon. As we walk past  Teresa's house we hear her voice.. I yell though the peep hole in her fence.. "Teresa we are locked out do you have a ladder"?? YES! Hooray we are saved!

I managed to get up on the fence, Randy holding on so I did not wobble off. He handed me the ladder,  and as I am easing the ladder over to the inside of the yard I said, "oh we are going to be so @#$% if I drop this ladder.." I did not drop it... I got over with more assistance from Randy and we obviously got in.. Whew..

I do not think we will forget our keys for quite a while... AND Manon... you are fired from being our holder of the keys... :) any one else want the job?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


We were notified about the first big ride for the local Royal Enfield dealer here in Cuenca. Great, another moto club to hang out with! We were given free Tshirts and stickers to start the ride out right!

17 Royal Enfield motorcycles, 350 cc and 500 cc. Two of us were sidecar rigs. But only one had Frankie as the high flying doxie! This was his first outing, and he did excellent. Unfortunately I only have this one photo, as I was his seat belt.

We took off with our merry group, on a wonderful sunny day. We headed out to Gualaceo, then Chordeleg and a fast trip back to Cuenca... 100K.. We arrived back in town about 2:00.  
We deviated from the group as they were going off to eat lunch.. we were watching the oncoming clouds and decided it was time to bail for home. Besides, most restaurants wont accomodate Frankie. :)

Frankie is exhausted from 4 hrs of standing with his face in the wind.. I am windburned and sunburned.. and Randy is now snoring soundly in his chair.. all adds up to a wonderful day.

Monday, March 11, 2013


We have lived in our rental house for 2 years. We really like this house but it does have some issues.

Here in Cuenca, when there is a problem you have to work with the landlord to convience them to fix those issues.. most of the time you fix them and just go on.

We have had a major issue with leaks in our house.. We have a wall that we called the Weeping wall because when we had huge rain storms it would just pour down the wall.. towels were pulled out and laid on the floor to catch the water.. then all of a sudden we had water that just poured out of our skylights..

Fast forward to this year..We discussed with our land lord that we would not renew our lease because A> we could not afford the increase he wrote into the lease.. and B> the leak we have been whining about has gotten so bad that it bored a hold through the ceiling tile in the bathroom.

I have been trying to tell the landlord that they just needed to cover the HUGE skylights with something because the system that they installed 40 years ago is now leaking... he just would tell me that is was the whole roof and he could not afford it.. Well now he agreed, after another MAN told him it needed a cover over those skylights.. I know.. it does not make sense to you but if you were here you could see what I am talking about! :)

SO! Exciting News.. We negotiated a deal where we would pay for the fix upfront and then our landlord would deduct from our rent this year and then next year (we were going to move next year remember?) He would not raise the rent and we can stay here WHOO HOO!

Tranquilo... it got done! Now to hang those cool Ecuadorian tapestries on the DRY Weeping Wall!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


While we were in the states this last month attending our daughters wedding, our friend Manon, received a call.

"Manon, we rescued a black dachschund, and was wondering if you would like to give him a home"? Manon already has two mini long haired doxies, so she thought her house was full up, but knew I was pining for one.. Hold that dog, she said. My friends will be back from the states and I am sure they will want to consider him.

The culture in this country is very different from ours where dogs are concerned. There are many dogs wandering the streets, some are mangy and skinny, others look well fed. We found out that alot of dog owners let their dogs loose during the day.

All the houses here have gated yards with fences, and it is very normal to find that as you walk by some of these houses, a dog will charge and attack the fence like he is going eat you if could get through. At first this scared us and concerned us, but now it seems "normal".

There are a few organizations here that try to make a difference in the street dogs life. One, ARCA takes dogs in and trys to find homes for them. Happy Dogs, trys to vaccinate and neuter as many as they financially are able.

The custom here is to not neuter any pets. So going against this tradition is sometimes a very long road.

One friend said her vet just tied her females tubes.. She ended up going to another vet to get the hysterectomy that she asked for in the beginning.

So now to our little guy Frankie. We came home from the US on a Thursday and on Friday afternoon we went to visit him. I had told Randy whether we wanted him or not he was not coming home with us... today was just a look see.

From the minute I walked in I was a gonner. I have always had a dachschund, and to see this cute, black and tan guy wagging his tail was quite heart melting.

On Halloween day, Ken had been walking his dogs along the Yanuncay river, when his dogs ran up to a bag sitting on the grass. As he called his dogs back he noticed the bag wiggling.. Ken returned home and got Judy and they opened the sack. Frankie popped his head out, hopped out of the sack, walked over and peed on a tree and then came back to them. Judy says poor Frankie was a rack of bones, and so starved that he had no hair on his ears. They looked like black elephant skin.

Ken and Judy took him in and named him Franken Weenie (being halloween and all it seemed appropriate.) They fed him wonderful food, and had some immediate issues taken care of.. His teeth and had him neutered. Looking at him here, 3 months later, you would never know he had once almost been at the brink of death.

Bringing a dog into our home was a very big decision because Randy has allergies to both dogs and cats. He, being the sweet guy he is, wanted me to have a dog and was going to "deal" with any allergic issues. Amazingly enough those have been very minor. The greatest one was that Frankie cannot sleep with us.. way too much for Randys system.

Here is Frankie settling in..

Today, Valentines day, we took Frankie to the Vet around the corner. We wanted to get his teeth looked at and get his vaccinations up to date. As the Vet looked at Frankie, he inspected his ear (the one that has a hunk out of it) and asked me where he was found. I told him and then the Doctor sat down and began to write on his computer. He asked me to read.

Amazingly enough, he knew this dog. This little guy was his brother in laws dog. The brother in law moved and could not keep him any more so had given him away. Frankies first name was Brat. He is 8-10 yrs old and the chunk out of his ear was from a rat (?)

Dr. Juan was so happy that he had been rescued and was being well cared for. He said he would tell him family, as they all loved "Brat" and always wondered how he was. He  then took a bunch of pictures to send to his brother in law and family.

Frankie got all his shots and a new harness type collar. As he knows how to slip out of the other ones. Here is  Randy and Frankie having a little nap, recouping from the tramatic day at the vets.