Saturday, July 31, 2010

More 'out takes' from previous blogs (Pictures)

More pics of friends...some oldies, but goodies...for the Mom/s, part 2.

Jenny and Chris.

A birthday party.

Jason and Rhonda.

With Rhonda.


Another birthday party with Bruce and Charlie.


Brian and Shelley.

Jefferson at Tiestos.

Chuck at the Fair.

Carol, Jim and Susie.

Christa and David.

Chuck, Larry and Linda.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Pics of Friends (for the Mom's)

We've gotten an email that just re-inforces the phrase:  "Pictures are priceless"!

The email is from a Mom of one of our readers, but we have also gotten similar notes from family members of other expats/locals, too.  All looking for more photos of their friends and family.  We suppose they just want to see the happy faces and be more assured that everyone is happy and content in their lives here. 

Some of our friends here have blogs of their own, but they are usually behind the camera...which means there are few, if any, pictures of themselves on their own blogs for their friends and family.  So -- we're happy to accomodate all the Mom's out there, looking for more pics of their children!  Never can have too many pics of loved ones. 

You can see we're all still having fun...and be sure to go back in our blog for even more.  We'll do another 'medley' from our picture collection periodically.  This is fun for us to re-visit all the fun, too.  Thanks for the great idea!

With Donna, Patty and Michael at the Kook one morning for breakfast.

Jenny (Kookaburra Cafe)
and Carol (CA Kitchen).
With Fabian and Chuck.

Some fun at Tiestos with Bob and Rox, Chuck and Nancy.

Who knows what struck the funny bone.

Bruce, Clarke and Brenda.

Dinner at our place awhile ago.

With Charlie.

Charlie, Bruce, Donna and Jason.

Brother Bob.
Merlyn, Patricia and George.

Carol and Lee (of Carolina Book Store fame).

With Shell.

Jim, Susie and Carol, serving customers at their California Kitchen.

Liza and Larry.
Matt taking pictures of us, taking pictures of him!
With Barbara and Howard.

Stay tuned for more later.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Catching up on Sundays

We love our traditional walks to town each Sunday.  Always something new and interesting.

Our Sundays begin really early, we catch up with our walking partners, our friends Chuck and Nancy, and then we head on out. 

Here's one of our favorite routes:

We walk up our street, across Av Ordonez Lazo, up around the corner toward our SuperMaxi (taking a break or 2, to catch our breath from the incline).  Then, up the street some more to the traffic light...past the Punto market (where sometimes we stop to get bottles of water) and on to Av La Mar (where we give treats and pets to one of our favorite doggies).   Then, it's almost a flat, straight walk to town.  We always give a sigh of relief at this point in the journey!  Flat is good. 

We love the quiet and peace of a Sunday walk in the early mornings...The air is clean, hardly any traffic...we're able to enjoy it all before the City wakes up.  Normally crazy-busy streets, with heavy traffic and pollution, are almost empty.  We meander along the cobblestone streets,  marvel and admire the old buildings and always wonder what treasures and stories are behind the doors...

Our walks give us a great opportunity to visit with our friends and catch up on all the news of the week...We saunder and chat (no power-walking!) and decompress from our busy-ness.  And, then we reward ourselves with a good breakfast and sometimes a visit with friends at the main square afterwards. 

The 2 Nancy's are posing with some favorite street art. 

Right outside this shop, there are carvings in the cobblestones. 

Always a surprise and delight somewhere.

This cute little elephant is 3D, attached to the building.  Elephants are seen in both homes and shops as they represent good luck.

More small paintings on the building.

One Sunday we tried to capture the sun peeking around the New Cathedral...a glorious sight!

So much more to see and enjoy if you're on foot! 
It's a totally different perspective if you're on the bus or in a taxi.
You might get from here to there faster on wheels, but on a slower walk you'll see more.
We like slow!  Good for the blood pressure, too. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cobbler's children

There is an old saying that the cobbler's children have no shoes.  This saying refers to the cobbler being so busy making shoes for others, that his own children go barefoot.

We can relate!  We've been so busy getting the rentals ready, that we've just put off the maintenance tasks for our own apartment.  Not that we've neglected any serious's just those little annoying things...

Our story is a little bit different from other newcomers.  When we bought our apartment, we had the good luck and fortune of buying the apt from other gringos (originally from Hawaii).  The sellers shipped a container from the States when they moved here and decided to only ship some treasures back when they returned to the US. Which means we had the opportunity of both buying or being 'gifted' of many items that make an apartment a home.  From furniture, appliances, window coverings, a complete kitchen (including her fabulous spice collection!), linens, plants for the porch...  all those items that you need to find and buy when you move into an unfurnished place and start from scratch.  We are so grateful we had more than enough 'stuff' to get moved in and get settled. 

The upstairs already had beds and the office had a desk and filing cabinets.  We had towels and sheets in the linen closets...We already had a complete kitchen!  Over time, we have added or replaced some of the items...we also managed to fill the (then, empty) downstairs with comfortable furniture and treasures of our own.  We added music, too.

But, there were some jobs we just kept putting off...  just minor maintenance-type issues.  Like the burned out light bulb over the stove...the dryer that needed a good cleaning out (and seemed to take forever to dry clothes)...  bed linens that were adequate, but needed replacing...

You know how it goes...pretty soon you just adapt and work around and the tasks just get moved to the next day...

Well, happy to report, we've gotten some of those pesky little jobs DONE!  Thanks to Bob, he added a couple items to his to-do list and focused!  He found the special light bulb for the stove...he pulled out the dryer and uncrimped the hose.  What a good guy!  

Rox also added 'new pants for Rich' to her list from, Rich now has a new pair that looks great and fits just right...  What a good gal!  Bob and Rox even thought of getting and hanging a medicine cabinet for the guest bath.  Of course, they knew we needed one since they have had to struggle without one each visit.  We love it!  And, then there were all the other little chores that both just jumped right in to...  they were the perfect guests.

And...we now have beautiful bed linens!  When we ordered the linens for the rentals, we also had the 'smarts' to also order for our own place.  Gold brocade comforter/pillow shams and luxurious custom fitted sheets...heaven!

We still have that ugly ceiling upstairs to fix from the leaking roof from a few months back.  Now that our painter is winding on down with other jobs --  (including some touch-up painting in the rentals), he'll swing on by soon and get the ceiling fixed and painted, as well as painting most of the upstairs, too.

Slowly but surely, we'll get all caught up. 

Celebrate as you go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Country Drive (Part 2 -- family visit)

This is part 2 of the fun week with Bob, Rox and Coquita.

One day last week, we took a road trip to some of our favorite towns outside Cuenca:  Gualaceo, Chordeleg and Paute.  We hadn't been there for awhile, sun was shining (just a little chilly), so we hopped in the car and took off...

On the way, we remembered that our computer counter just that morning had said we'd been in Ecuador for 500 days!!  So, our trip was just right...we always say:  Celebrate as you go!  Always something to celebrate...good excuse for lunch at one of our favorite places, too.

Some of the churches have been updated and painted...very nice:

Beautiful windows.

Here's a close-up of the carved wooden the details!

Rich got his shoes shined while the rest of us shopped.  The shoe-shiner did a really good job!

Some street scenes.

A heavy load.

Each town has lovely gardens and flowers in the central plazas.  Lots of flowers in bloom.

The girls have their shopping bags!

Here are the brothers relaxing with Coquita in the sun.
(Artesa/Vega pottery in the background.)

We stopped at our favorite restaurant in Paute for lunch for more outside dining in the back garden. No pics of the food, but we really enjoyed the pastas and grilled shrimp. 

Love the street art in the neighborhood.

For an adorable picture of Coquita flirting with her favorite Uncle Rich, see Bob and Rox's blog:


On the last day of our visit, we started the morning with delicious rolls and jam and coffee out on the porch.  Here we are talking about the weather...

We were debating the fog over the Cajas Mountains...but we all agreed it'd burn off soon.

And, here's Bob and Rox all set to go...You can't see Bob's shorts or Rox's cropped pants in the next picture, but, believe us, both were dressed for the beach!  (As Bob says...wearing shorts is a state of mind!)

We had a great visit.  The 3 got back home just fine and we're already planning the next visit...  Thanks Guys, for the fun time!  Always fun to have a little 'touch of family'!

See you soon!!

One more cute pic of our 'niece' Coquita...all ready to go home. We're sure she was looking forward to seeing her buddies and playing in the warm sand at the beach, too.