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Sunday, December 25, 2011

¡Feliz Navidad





For my birthday a couple of coworkers took me out to dinner. They had the waiters sing to me while I was given the appropriate props. Yes, both glasses in front of me are mine, first was a (very small!) marguerita, and then a larger sangria. I enjoyed myself!

Today is quiet, and I will spend the time catching up on my computer work.
This is the time for tying up loose ends and getting ready to head into the new year ready for new adventures.

I wish you and your a safe and happy Holiday season.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pictures and Update




This is a view of the Jesus statue that looks over Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I did go back a couple of weeks aog with my new camera. I have more pictures and I will do a post on the trip. Really. I have the pictures downloaded now.





This is an overlook at the entrance of the park. The park is on the side of the mountain. The new camera is way cool in that you can zoom in and really see some of the city from this picture.




Remember the hammock? This was a couple of weeks ago. I made it half way. I am further than that now, and may even have it finished by the time I head back to the States for 2 weeks in January.

My last appointment for major dental work was yesterday. I may need 1 more appointment to tweek my bite after having 4 crowns installed on one sitting. My mouth was so catywampus after 2 hours that I couldn't reliably tell him if it felt ok or not. Still getting used to it.

One of my favorite former co-workers who left a year ago is now back. I think this will make work a lot more fun. Well, at least a little more fun. It is also slow right now, so I'm getting spoiled with large chunks of time when I don't have to think much during the day.

I'm giving thanks tonight for a librarian in Pendleton, IN back when I was 12. I had read all the books in the young adult section of the small Carnegie library by that point and Mom didn't want to think about keeping me in reading material by herself. She worked a deal with the librarians there (who all knew me cause we stopped there every 2 weeks) where I was allowed to read books from the adult section that they personally picked out for me. One of the first chosen was The Prophet by Kalil Gibran. It became my Bible, and was a rock of sanity during my teenage years. Even now I remember parts of it when certain situations come up. Uniting over a shared experience of that book can make strangers feel like friends. Even when I'm far away in Honduras.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Music



One of the things I do enjoy down here in Honduras is that my cultural assumptions are constantly challenged.  The music I hear on the radio in the taxis as I go about is almost always either 80's American rock mixed in with Central/South American music in sung in Spanish.  Alex Campos is always a favorite.  I believe he is a Christian music singer, but since I don't know Spanish he could be saying anything.  However, the charm of his music leads me to believe his message is uplifting in words as much as the music.  It calls me to get one of his CD's with lyrics hopefully enclosed so I can study Spanish I will use.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Life has changed gears around here lately.  Not sure how or why.  I'm calmer.  I'm getting more accomplished.  I feel better.  Nothing is quite where I want it to be, but I at least don't feel like I'm just sitting around waiting anymore.  No real change in my day to day life other than I'm making small steps in my projects instead of just sitting around feeling overwhelmed.  Next week I hope to be half way finished with my hammock.  I'll post a picture at that point.

Pictures.  Yeah.  Well, I decided to admit that I just don't like the camera I've had for a few years.  I've been looking around.  I bought 2 new ones, a shirt pocket digital point and shoot and a video camera.  I say that like the little one is not much, but its a Cannon Elf 300HS.  Seems to take good pictures from what little I've played with it so far.  No, you don't get the practice pictures here that I've taken of my messy apartment.  The video one is a Sony Handycam.  A co-worker has one and I like his.  I want to play a bit with video, so decided to jump while I'm someplace to take fun videos.  Tomorrow after work I'm headed back down to the capital for the weekend and another visit to the garden/park/Jesus statue with working cameras this time.

And, tonight I caught up with laundry.  Only clothes not washed are what I have on.  I'll see if I can keep up with it this time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finite

Finite is the word of the week here.  It is the hope to which I cling.  There is a finite length of yarn to be woven into my hammock I'm making and which I need to finish before I can leave.  There is a finite amount of laundry I am behind such that soon I can just do the clothes I wore the day before each night and keep up (this is falicy, I know...)  There are a finite number of papers I need to scan, shred, send home or otherwise deal with.  There is a finite amount of items here in Honduras that I need to relocate back to the US, a finite number of items in the storage unit in Nashville that likewise need to be relocated to Kansas City so that at some point in the future my stuff will all be in the same zip code again.  Probably not the one I'm in, but progress.  I need to feel that each thing taken care of moves me to the place where the to-do list at least doesn't keep growing faster than I can check things off.

I am getting things done.  Other things are slipping.  I tell myself that I'm making progress.

Last night I went down to the restaurant here at the hotel for dinner.  I usually don't eat at night, but I was hungry and tired of being hungry.  The waiter here speaks some amount of English.  He likes me and trys to have conversation.  It had the usual reasult.  He kept saying he had one question for me.  He said this for over an hour, in many ways.  I'm still not entirely sure if the question was about inviting himself up to my room, or inviting me to church.  I do know he was being very heartfelt and sincere about whatever the question was about.  At some point a Babtist missionary from Tennessee kept being mentioned, so I decided it was about church.  They will be praying for me, the two of them, pretty much without ceasing, this weekend.  I'm still not entirely sure about the one question even now.  I have educated guesses, and I'm not counting out the original idea.  This is how a lot of my conversations with local Hondurans goes.  It is always friendly and sincere, but I'm never really sure the two of us are discussing the same subject at any given time.  Then again, it's not all that different when I'm talking to someone who shares the same language as I.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No Pictures

No one who knows me will be surprised to hear that when I pulled my camera out of my backpack the battery was dead and I had not (of course) packed the charger.  So, no pictures.  The tour of the city was awesome, and I will go back and get pictures.  Now that I've been to the areas I'm more inclined to go there in a smaller group.  Not alone, but Melinda and I both want to go back and take pictures and visit the gift shop we found.
 
I am on a more strict diet.  I went into the trendy store, inspired to get some new clothes by having the young(er) females around, and largest sizes didn't fit me.  Ok, this is Honduras, where the locals are smaller.  However, when I no longer fit into anything labeled 'L' it is time to regroup and take care of the issue.  It's not just weight, I need to firm up.  The new curves are ok in general, but I got a few curves in places that are actually supposed to be flat.  So, along with studying for certifications and working on my hammock, I am going to exercise.  Really. 
 
I also started antibiotics so that tooth tooth left to work on will numb on Saturday at the dentist.  Down here we don't need a presscription to get antibiotics, so I did my due diligence in research, and I'm watching myself for any adverse issues.  I've never been alergic to any medicines, so I'm good.  I'm drinking lots of water, and I'm staying out of the sun as much as I can.  No long sleeves because it's gotten hot here again.  I guess if I start burning I'll find some kind of long sleeves, or wear my windbreaker when I'm outside.  Sensitivity to sun is the only real symptom I'm concerned about.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More weekend

I'm a day late for the official day, but I want to thank all the Veterans who have taken time from their lives to serve in the Military.  I work with active and retired military people every day.  It is amazing to me to see how much of their lives they commit to the service.  Thank you.

This weekend has been very different from others I've had down here.  Two of the people from post that I work, Louis and Melinda, with came to town yesterday.  While we were running around, 2 female Majors who recognized them at the Mall joined up with us.  I had wanted to check a different casino, and asked if the original 3 of us could go to that hotel for dinner.  We invited the two female soldiers to join us.  5 of us went to the Mayan Hotel for dinner.  The food was awesome. The service was not so great.  The restaurant here at the hotel would probably have been better for ambiance and service, but it was nice to get out to a new place.  The casino at that hotel turned out to be the only place I've seen down here that has on-site table games.  The only other ones I'd seen here are video ones.  However, I'm not a table game person so I was not impressed with the rest of the options.  Louis and Melinda and I went to the Clarion Hotel casino for a short while later, but it was so crowded that we didn't stay long. 

While all of us were together we decided to schedule a tour of the city this morning, so I'm in the process of arranging that.  I'm good at coming up with things to do and arranging them, but most of the time I'm alone so I don't actually get out and do much.  This is working well this weekend because the soldiers aren't in country long enough to really know what there is to do, while I'm enjoying having company to actually do things.  I'll take pictures and let you know what we see.

 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend

Note to self:  DO NOT say to your normally calm, cheerful taxi driver 'RAPIDO' when getting in and thinking about the bus you need to catch soon in town.  This makes the start of the weekend particularly exciting...

The trip up on the buss was uneventful.  The taxi driver who picked me up seemed to know me, as he kept saying the name of the casino I usually go to.  I checked in, and the front desk person, Walter, was falling all over himself even more than usual to let me know how happy he was I'm here.  He walked me up to my room, which is considered a perk I guess, to check in while in the room, not standing at the counter.  I knew I was getting an upgrade since I had filled out the survey about my last stay.  To be honest, I waited until the second time they sent it to me, and then decided that I would mention the two small issues I'd had.  I did tell them that it was all handled by the front desk immediately. 

So, we get to the top floor, a floor above where I thought I was going and 2 floors above my usual rooms (these things matter when you are at a classy hotel).  He proudly opens the door to... the Presidential Suite!  I am awestruck!  I have 2(!) bathrooms, a living room with TV, a dining room with a table that seats 8, a walk in closet that I've gotten turned around in more than once this morning (before coffee...), a water jet deep tub with 2 steps up to it, a separate shower...  wow.  I'll get pictures and post them.

The strange thing is, with all this there are some things I'm thinking are, well, not up to par.  So much effort spent on the WOW factor, and details are lost.  I'm feeling badly wondering if I should mention them, if it will look like I'm angling for another upgrade.  The coffee in the room is still just the one packet, and not enough for the full sized pot, even when I only filled it part way.  The included breakfast in the private 9th floor dining room was mostly just fruit and scrambled eggs.  I was actually hungry, so I wanted some plantains or bacon or something.  The guys working there, both last night and this morning, seem to ignore me.  Granted I didn't come dressed for 9th floor, but I have had to ask for everything.  That is not up to even the service I get downstairs.  I watched the waiter here take a cup from one of the (well dressed...) gentlemen as he drank the last of his coffee not even giving him time to set his cup down before refilling it.  I had to ask for more.

I'll post more later.  Time to get going, the maid is here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Countdown

I am at work, waiting until I can leave for my 3 day weekend.  As usual, I'm going down to the Capital to the casinos and such.  Hopefully some folks from here will join me tomorrow and we can branch out and see a bit more of the city.  No promise of pictures, but maybe.  I also did a project chart of the basics I want to finish up before leaving here.  My timeline shows me ready at the soonest sometime the end of February.  sigh.  I'm trying to figure out when my next trip home will be.  Looks like January.  So, I'm getting comfortable with the idea that I may spend the next year or so here.  Not my original plan, but the longer I'm here the more comfortable I get.  Even Honduras can be a rut it seems.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

blogs

Keeping a blog is a useful exercise on many levels.  In particular recently, when I've realized that all I have to write about is my dentist appointments I know that I don't really need to update everyone.  It's almost at an end, the dentist thing.  End of November or first weekend in December for sure.  Also, I have to decide how I feel about my life being so uneventful that I have nothing to write about.  I'm ok with it at the moment.  It's uneventful because I'm tying up loose ends, getting ready for my next move, whatever that ends up being.  Boring stuff, of interest only to me.  Mostly trying on new realities in my head to see what seems doable.

So, now I'm off to do some of the things that would be nice to be able to post that I've managed to accomplish around here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Better and better

I started waking up a few days ago finally.  I went to the dentist yesterday.  In the process of working on my next 2 crowns, one of the teeth wouldn't numb.  I didn't realize it until later, but that is usually a sign of infection.  That is the jaw that had the swollen gland.  And the ear that sometimes has twinges of pain.  Not enough for me to put it to the tooth, since the tooth itself never really hurt.  Well, I'm having so much work done lately that at least I never focused on that particular one.  Anyway, I feel a lot better now, the gland is no longer sore and in general I feel like I've rejoined the human race.  Not sure what all he did, I lay there with my eyes shut and don't understand the conversation between the doctor and his assistant.  I find it easier that way.  I know he said he isn't done with that tooth yet, but I have 2 temporary crowns now on that side.  I think 3 more crowns after this and I will have my new mouth.

I'm headed to the Capital for just the day today.  It's a government holiday so I'm taking the military bus down and back.  I'll just hang out, which is something I don't feel comfortable doing here.

I'm also cleaning the apartment.  There are a few things that when I'm at that point in cleaning I know I'm making progress.  Like disinfecting the wastebaskets, scrubbing the shower floor with bleach, digging even deeper into corners and sorting things to get rid of.  I don't know where that moving van in my dream was going, but guess I'd better get ready.  Actually, I don't really want to move with the group who was just making fun of me, but when the next adventure shows up I want to be ready!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sick Day

I was having a dream where apparently I was moving with some other folks, all about college age and maybe I was, too.  We were loading all our stuff in a large moving van.  Everyone else had their stuff loaded, but no one wanted to help me load my stuff and there wasn't really much room left anyway.  I kept trying to get them to wait for me to get my stuff together, and they just gave me a hard time.  Then they started just giving my stuff to random kids, which made me mad.  A lot of the stuff I had was old Christmas decorations and furniture and odd bits and pieces and I have no idea where we were moving from or to, just that I couldn't get my stuff loaded on the moving van and the people I wanted to move with were making fun of me and not helping.

Then my watch alarm went off.  The one that says I'd better be within 5 minutes of walking out the door to work.  I have no memory of turning off my 2 main alarms, but I must have because they go for an hour before turning off automatically.  I decided then I need a day off.  I've not felt 'well' in days, maybe weeks.  Nothing that really manifests as symptoms I can say that I have such and such.  Just no energy, no motivation.  I have slept any time I'm not at work, including all day Saturday while I was down at Tegucigalpa paying for a room at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Today I will rest, and take care of details.  And maybe get rid of some of my stuff, since my unconscious mind seems to think I'm trying to move too much stuff around with me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quiet

One of the results of living where I can't join in with general conversations going on around me because I don't speak the language is that I have gotten quiet.  In Real Life, as well as here.  Nothing wrong, just not a lot to say, and I'm losing the art of small talk, which I never was very good with anyway.  I'm still in Honduras, and still no bites on a new job someplace else.  I'm really not trying hard, though.  I need to step that part up. 

I did spend 10 days back in the US.  I got to drive my Jeep, and stay out all nights at the casinos.  I need another trip before the end of the year to get some more of my business straightened out, such as where my 'permanent' address really is and re-plate my Jeep.  My dentist went on vacation about the time I got back, so my next appointment is sometime next month.  We start the whole process on the other side.  I need to balance that with wanting to leave the area.  This whole living outside the US thing gets complicated.

So, co-workers are leaving for new jobs and new folks are coming in.  Not in my immediate area yet, as I'm the most senior, time-wise, there.  But, it is difficult to make friends to hang around and do things with as people cycle out about the time we realize we enjoy the same stuff.  Other than those things, life here is good.  I have an adventure to post about, with pictures even.  Maybe later this weekend.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dentist

This morning was another trip to the dentist.  This in itself is amazing.  I stopped going to dentists about 35 years ago.  My last adult venture with dentists got all my cavities fixed.  I'd had braces as a teen, and everything was fixed and filled.  And, I was done, emotionally and nerve-wise, with dentists.  The few times since that I'd gone to a dentist, they just pissed me off.  I didn't like the attitude of they 'owned' my teeth, would tell me what they were going to do to them, and my only part was to pay huge amounts of money to them and be so very grateful they had taken their precious time to deal with me at all.  I might, just maybe, have some baggage from the years of having so much work done as a kid...

I tried to start the process of getting my teeth back to optimal condition when I was back in Washington State.  It went like a lot of things there.  Very pleasant female dentist, clean modern office, and more money and extra charges than I could even fathom even with very good insurance.  The estimate came to over $30K, after insurance, and oh, in 3 weeks at the end of the year her prices jumped 100 percent.  And, can't even start on the simple stuff until I have a full 'scaling' (they really should rename that...), even pulling my one tooth that needed to come out was iffy until then.  The receptionist treated my like I was one of the unclean to even suggest that an appointment could be made for anything else before the 'scaling' to bring me up to the level of someone they would work on.  That ended badly for them, in that I didn't go back.

Down here I really needed to get some of the work done.  I found a good Honduran dentist who speaks very good English.  He has an assistant who wears jeans, and a wife who fills in if the assistant isn't there.  I feel like I'm a guest in their home since the office is the front part of their house.  He is professional, don't get me wrong, but he also is a human.  I was so nervous the fist visit that he looked at me when he sat down beside me, and softly explained "I'm a Christian, and if you don't mind I would like to pray before we start".  I said "I'll take any and all prayers I can get", so he said a brief prayer that took the tension in the room (mine...) down a notch, and then we began.

So, I now have 2 permanent crowns, a temporary crown over two other molars until next week when the permanent crowns will be in, and today he spent two hours of concentrated work on my top front teeth.  He said 14 cavities.  In 6 teeth.  He basically rebuilt a couple of them.  Total cost today, 5,000L, which is $250 more or less.  He still has some polishing to do, and some shaping.  My two front teeth have outlines that look a bit like a-line skirts and there needs to be some more shaping done on the insides as my teeth don't exactly close all the way.  This is my fault.  I told him it was fine, since after 2 hours I was, as I say, done.  We'll tweek it more when I go in to get the permanent crowns.  Which is why I like him.  He works with me.  What doesn't get done today, we'll do next time.

I usually have the early appointment on Saturday mornings.  Which means I'm there while they open up.  They pull up the metal shutters over the door an windows, then take bowls of water out and wash the windows and outside sills.  They have a guard who watches over the 6-space or so parking area.  One morning I watched as he came in and the wife handed him the pistol in the holster he wears while on duty.  He strapped on the holster then proceeded to load the pistol with bullets.  To guard a 6-space parking area.  At a dentist office.  And I considered it a good thing.  Welcome to Honduras.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some pictures of My World





The above is me, and behind me is the valley where I live. I had Carlos, my taxi driver, stop so I could take pictures at this overlook a couple of weeks ago on our way to the dentist.





Another picture of the valley. It's hard to photograph, and is bigger than it looks here.










These are 2 of the 3 almost identical adolescent cats who greet me each morning on my way into post. If they are awake, that is. They sleep on the porch of the hooch I walk past.




This is the same tree that I posted the picture of when it was all orange. At this point it is pretty much all leafed out. So far it still has the leaves. Soon, it will drop them all for awhile, then start the process all over again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here I am...

I'm in Tegus for the weekend. It is a trip just to get away and do some playing and some thinking. And some organizing, mental and physical. While looking for my toothbrush that I was always carrying in my backpack I ended up cleaning out my backpack. I found some fairly important stuff mixed in with trash papers that should have been cleaned out awhile ago. Not sure if I should be worried that the important stuff was there, or the unimportant stuff was since I carry this pack with me pretty much everywhere. What wasn't there was a toothbrush. Oh, well, there is a mall right across the way.

A note to myself: I don't seem to really get my feet stable in a new place for about 10 months. Maybe it was longer in WA, and the time is shortening as I get more used to being mobile. I am just now feeling like I can make inroads into some projects I had intended to do while I was down here 'with nothing to do'.

Oh, I found my knife in the backpack. It's just a cheap pocket knife. However, yesterday while I was watching the guys mow (we have to do that...) the guy weedwhacking got a weed caught in the strings of the whacker and it pulled them way out. His whacker doesn't have the nifty blade to keep the strings cut and they were too long to work. He had a delima, and consulted the guy on the mower (a zero-radius thing I sooo want!). He looked at me (they only speak Spanish, I still don't speak it). I made a motion of a knife cutting, he nodded and said 'no tengo'. I was a bit amazed at that, but later realized that they probably can't bring even a pocket knife on post. With my own knife AWOL, I was forced to ask one of the guys inside for help. He fixed the issue with a HUGE folding knife, then being friendly with me, suggested how I should really carry a knife, the size of the one he has. sigh. I really just needed my pocket knife, I'm not going to be fighting anyone if I can help it, and I really wouldn't pull a knife out if I was. Normally it is in my pocket. At some point I apparently put it in the pack.

I came down here packed minimally. Not entirely just in my daypack. That is a goal. I only have the rollaway with me as luggage. The goal is to be able to travel with just this setup, anywhere, anytime. I'm working on it. At least one of the tops I brought is too tight. In my defense, it was too tight when I bought it. It was an impulse by at REI because it was on the sale rack and I had not yet realized that I am no long a 'small', or even really a loose 'medium'. I guess it should go into the give away pile. For today I'll wear it, and really know that it needs to go away by the end of the day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Saga

When I last wrote,  L and the racoons has made peace via some wire over the holes that the racoons had been using to get into the house.  It has become obvious that she had been feeding them for a very long time and just didn't know it as they came and went as they pleased.  L just thought her 2 cats ate a LOT of cat food.  A couple of nights ago L decided to leave a door to the screened in porch open as she used to do pre-raccoon saga.  She heard a noise in the night and got up and saw a tail sticking out of the large can she uses to store the cat food.  She promptly put the lid on the can and put something heavy on top and called her grandson (my age) to come get the raccoon.  He said "Granny, it's 3am" to which she replied that no, it was 5am and to get over there (15 min drive).  So, he shows up and takes the lid off to give the 3(?) racoons inside some air, tapes it so they can't get out and off the (now 3) racoons go to the country.  Being soft-hearted but practical, neither Mom or I have inquired into their fate.  So, the next night she hears more noise, and it turns out that at least one more raccoon has pushed out the wire screen over the hole and in again chowing down.  She chased it and saw how it got out, so now the large trap has again been baited and set.  I'm thinking I'll be hearing raccoon stories (and sharing them here) into the fall.  Did I mention that L is late 80's or early 90's in age?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Minor Update

Talked to Mom tonight.  Turns out they are racoons, not opposums.  Two very large racoons.  The conservation officer said to put chicken wire in all the openings to the outside, so various grandsons came over and did that today.  The larger trap set out last night didn't catch them.  The food in the trap was gone and the trap wasn't sprung.  These are smart racoons.  Mom thinks that L. has been feeding these coons for a long time, since she kept saying that the cats sure ate a lot of food.  I wondered why cats needed to be fed twice a day when it was first mentioned.  So, tonight we find out which side of the chicken wire the coons ended up being trapped on.  I didn't ask if anyone has looked for them in the house before blocking all the access points.  And, why are there holes in the first place?  Seems that when L's husband built the place he decided that was a cheap way to get heat under the house to keep the pipes from freezing.  So, there was no floor under the bathtub or something.  Sometimes the truth is just to weird to ask for more details.  No word on if the rifle is still part of the plan.

Unwelcome guests

When my Mom and I Skype I keep up with the goings on in the small MO town where she lives.  A friend/extended family member went on vacation for the first time in decades, and Mom and my Aunt were in charge of feeding the cats, Mom in the evenings and Aunt in the mornings.  The lady has a cat door and apparently other openings to the outside that hadn't been an issue when she was there every day.  However, turns out that 2 opposums decided they had found heaven with her gone, and moved in.  There were countless messes each day, and her son was called in to help with a trap, which didn't work.

When the lady returned, she cocked her bb gun as far as she can (she's in her late 80's and small but wiry) and when she heard them the first night she was back, she crept down the hall and popped one in the head.  Didn't phase it.

Now she's got the rifle out.  He great-grandson told her she can't shoot that in the house!  She says it's her house, she can if she wants.  Family members descended with more traps...  I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday Fragments (on Sunday)

I sometimes like the cute little ways blogs come up with something to post, like Friday Fragments for ideas that don't flesh out to a full post, or Sundays in My City with pictures from around town on a Sunday.  However, those require actually posting on a particular day.  So, my fragments are on a Sunday, which doesn't really rhyme.

I went down to breakfast in the restaurant this morning.  I had the desayuno typical (my spell check doesn't do Spanish, so I hope that is close...), or typical breakfast here in Honduras.  It was really good.  It's fried plantains (done right!), refried beans, and egg over easy, something that looked like a slice of fried Spam, some kind of cheese/cream and fresh made tortillas.  I prefer the creamy sauce rather than a hard piece of white cheese of some sort that is sometimes included instead.  At any rate, the owner of the hotel told them that my breakfast was 'on the house'.  I left a 50L tip anyway.

I'm sorting and packing.  I'm already probably too late to have my stuff arrive in MO when I'm there in September.  I'll set up the storage unit so that all Mom will need to do with the movers is point.  The place here is total caos (spell check can't even come close for that word, so just go with it...) as I pull everything out and decide what to send home and what to leave here.  It is making me think in detail about what I need to have to feel comfortable.  A table is high on the list, it seems.  My kitchen table I bought in WA is going back.  It is a nice, stable flat surface that is doing duty lately as my ironing board.  I'll have to come up with something else.  My hammock stand that has done more duty as a temporary place to hang clothes will also go back.  It's the little details that make a lifestyle comfortable or not.  I'll see how it goes.  I may find that it motivates me to do what I need to do in order to leave Honduras even faster.  That would include having a job someplace else to go to.

No progress on my hammock this week.  I didn't feel good and had no energy.  Once I get the stuff packed I'll start working on it again.

I still feel like I'm shooting an arrow towards the future and I don't have any idea what or where the target is.  Just aim in a general direction and shoot.

Monday, July 04, 2011

What else I'm doing

When it comes to studying, I can find all kinds of cool things to do instead. Last week I started weaving a hammock in the hammock shop on post. I'm slow. It will get done, eventually.

First you load the 'needle' that I think is called a shuttle in regular weaving. Specific terms kinda get lost down here. And with me in general. Anyway, this is the needle, and I'm loading it up.






Then you poke, pull and prod the yard through what you have already done. What you see here got unwoven because I made a mistake. I did this part three times, because after I fixed the first mistake and got back to where I'd left off, I found another one lower down.






The gold/red/black hammock behind me I found out that night is being made by the Chaplain. The Universe does have a sense of humor. So far I've only cussed in front of him once. I'm learning to watch my mouth. I guess that is a good thing. He wasn't offended, and may not have actually heard it as I was cussing that it was raining hard just as I was getting ready to leave. Rain on a tin roof is nice, but not so much when there is a half mile walk to the gate.




I'll post progress pictures as I go along. It will be multicolored as I got what yarn was left over from the post's order. I had to buy it myself since I'm a contractor, but I can use the facilities for free. This won't be an ultralight hammock, the yarn weighed 20lbs.

Happy 4th of July

Yes, they have a 4th of July here in Honduras.  It's a normal work day for them.  I'm off work, getting things caught up.  Mostly I'm taking care of the small things that make me feel out of control of my life on a regular basis.  Laundry and ironing are almost finished.  Then I can put away the towel that has graced the top of the kitchen table for weeks.  Papers are being sorted and scanned and packaged to be sent home.  Most of it is being tossed or shredded.  Piles of papers are shrinking and disappearing.  This is good.  I may be sending my big stuff home in a couple of weeks.  I need to get the small stuff organized so I know what goes where.  The only things left after that should be things small enough to mail home or things that I'll leave here.  I'll be living out of 2 suitcases, something I've said I want to do for years.  We'll see if that is true or not. 

I have no place yet to go to when my contract is up here.  I can stay here until I find something.  I have not been studying, I have not been working on weaving the hammock I'm making in the shop at work, I have not been working on my resume.  I'm still not totally in control.  It's a start.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back Safely

Home Sweet Hotel Suite.  Still seems funny to come home to an empty place, with no animals.  With only a couple of month here and there holes I had cats and dogs, usually both, since about 1974.  The cats I had adopted a few months prior to moving to WA ended up getting to go back to their original home when I moved down here.  They are happy.  I'm no so much.  Oh, well.  Old Fool's videos of his kittens brought this on.

So, tomorrow I'll see when I can reschedule the Microsoft test again, and will head back down to Teguc.  Between now and then I will actually sit my tail down and study.  The trip home was uneventful.  Luckily they seem to be having mechanical issues with the big school buses that the post usually sends on these trips, so we got to ride home in a nice air conditioned van.  Everything worked out really well this trip.  Except for not passing the test, that is.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Away

I am in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, for the weekend.  The theoretical reason is to take a Microsoft test (that I bombed badly), but really it is to give me a break from my usual surroundings.  I'm in the InterConental Hotel.  They take really good care of me here, mostly know me by name, are across the street from the Multiplaza Mall, and have a special rate that I qualify for.  What's not to like?

I took the 'Executive' bus up last night after work.  I was worried about getting into Tegucigalpa in an area I'm not familiar with (which includes most of the city), after dark and having to get a taxi in a city where most do not speak English.  As I was waiting for the bus to leave 2 of the soldiers in their civilian clothes walked up.  We stick out like sore thumbs down here.  They were going to a different hotel in the same area as the IC and so I shared a cab with them.  I feel fairly safe when I have 2 young male American soldier-types to watch out for me. I was glad to have their company as it was raining besides being dark when we arrived.   And so I paid 70L, which is about $3.50 for the bus, and 100L, about $5, (a bit more than my share to repay the kindness of having the protection) for the taxi.

This morning I studied for a couple of hours, but it obviously wasn't enough.  I had the doorman tell the taxi driver where I needed to go for the test.  I was only about a mile away, all uphill.  The people at the test center were nice.  I failed the test, then walked downhill to Dennys for breakfast.  When I asked the test center guy for directions so I wasn't wandering around the hillside lost, he said he could give me a shortcut, but it was lonely and known for assaults. So I asked for the longer way, and it was less than 5 minutes to Dennys.

No one spoke English at Dennys, but I managed to order, eat and pay for breakfast without incident.  I just have to let go of the outcome when I order, but since most of the chain restaurants here have the name of the meal in English, I just can't tweek the basics like I used to do when I shared a common language with the wait staff.

I walked down the main boulevard from Denny's back to the hotel.  That took about 10 or 15 minutes.  Figured out where the Do It hardware store is that I had been to when Chris was here to drive me around.  Walked past the President's house.  It said Casa Presidente and I was wondering it it was the actual place when I noticed all walls and fencing and a couple of Honduran soldiers guarding the gates.  I think it really was his house.

Got back and decided to check out the Mall.  Ended up getting my hair washed and trimmed. One woman knew a few words of English, so I could make her understand what I wanted as we both used hand motions to fill in the gaps.  The woman who was going to wash my hair asked me a question and I think the only thing my attempted answer in Spanish told her was that I didn't understand a thing she asked.  I walked out with what I wanted, and a 10 minute detailed application of conditioner.  I think that happened when I asked her to braid it for me as it had been when I walked in.  Oh, well, looks better down anyway.

A nap back at the hotel, some more wandering around the Mall.  Every display TV is tuned to a soccer game, and there are crowds cheering intermittently around the TVs.  I got a cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and just looked.  If you notice that the restaurants are all US chains (or at least we assume they are originally from the US...), well, that's the way it is here.  It's the US, only in Spanish, on the richer side of town.

Tomorrow I'll catch the free bus from the post back home.  No plans for the evening.  I
didn't bring any nicer clothes to go out in, and I have no real need for entertainment
anyway.  And, I'll be back soon to retake the test.  No pictures this time because
yesterday when I tried to take a picture of the tree with the combination of orange flowers and green leaves that it now has, I found that the battery in the camera was dead, and didn't have time to dig out my charger before I left.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another good link

http://www.packitgourmet.com/home.php

I haven't ordered from they yet.  However, I found that they have black bean flakes!  I used to almost live on those before they got difficult to find.  Mix up some black bean flakes with water, heat up some flour tortillas, and sprinkle on some feta cheese.  Multi cultural good eatin' from things that would stay fresh for a long time (the cheese in the fridge).

As I go along I'll run back across the links I used to look at a lot.  I don't cook, don't keep fresh food around because it just goes bad on me.  Here in Honduras I have a microwave, a rice cooker, couple of slow cookers and an electric skillet.  The dorm size fridge doesn't hold a lot, but keeps my slim fast shakes cool.

I did make some split pea soup in my small slow cooker today.  It turned out good.  I miss the thick soups down here.  It doesn't get cold, so a lot of the slow cooked comfort foods I like are just not available easily.  Wish I'd had some dehydrated carrots and tomato bits to toss in, but it turned out ok anyway with just dehydrated onions, basil and oregano added.

Food

This post is for tffnguy at http://terlinguabound.blogspot.com/ who is dealing with 100* temps and not refridgeration.  I mentioned that the backpacking survival sites have a good selection of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods that don't need special storage or long cooking times.  So, here is a partial list done up quickly.  As I come across or remember other sites I'll let everyone know.

http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/

They have stuff in 1 cup bags with a ziplock, a good way to sample to see if you like
things.  Good selection of veggies and beans, but I don't like their tofu, and anything
that sounds like meat will have -ish after it to show that it's really flavored tofu.  This
is my go-to place to keep veggies on hand.

http://beprepared.com/

This place has pretty much everything.  Not particularly the cheapest, but a really good
selection.  Not everything is dehydrated/freeze-dried, so watch out with beans and such
that you can buy locally probably cheaper.  Make sure you are getting the dried stuff,
which is quicker to cook up with less fuel.  I haven't ordered from here, but they have
been around for awhile.


If the above look like just 'ingredients' rather than food try the next site to see how to
cook with this type of food:

http://www.trailcooking.com/

Lots of 'recipies' and good tips on how to eat well while backpacking or camping.  Or living off-grid?


Some places with complete meals, again not the cheapest but factoring in storage and
cook fuel and ability to keep on hand they are a bargain for some folks:

http://www.wildernessdining.com/

http://www.hawkvittles.com/

I have ordered from Hawk Vittles.  They are really good.  Again, not the cheapest but they store for a long time and you can use the freezerbag cooking style to make them.  Basically add boiling water and put in a coozie (cook it in a freezer zip lock bag if you want...) for the allotted time.

I mentioned in my comment on his site a free to make soda pop can alcohol stove, and miss spelled the type of fuel usually used.  It's denatured alcohol, and its the HEET brand in the yellow bottle.





Sunday, June 05, 2011

Pictures Finally




These trees are amazing to me. The cycle seems to be that they look bare, dead. Then these red/orange flowers bloom. Slowly green leaves start to show, then they are all green. Then they produce long bean-like pods. Then they go bare again. I've watch the cycle a couple of times since I've been here




And here is a closeup of a bunch of the flowers.



And, I promised a picture of the afghan.




A simple shell stitch. Used up 2 colors of yarn from my stash. My next project is going to be knitted slip covers for my netbooks. More to use the yarn than any need I have. Just can't find a useful thing to knit for anyone down here in the tropics.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Still breathing

I'm moving through the dental work.  I got my temporary crown yesterday afternoon.  It is a single piece that covers both teeth.  From the 'outside' it looks normal, fairly amazing since he fabricated it right there in the office.  Not sure if the permanent crown(s) will be the same.  Next appointment is a week from now, and he will take impressions for the permanent crown(s) then.

How does my apartment suite get so messy in a 4 day week?  Started in with the laundry and will start with the cleaning when I finish this.  After reading a few blogs I figured I'd better update this one before I get too sidetracked.  I have some pictures I took of the blooming trees here, and I will take the often-promised picture of the afghan I crocheted.  But, first, housework.

Monday, May 23, 2011

And...

I mentioned the tomato that killed 89 to my co-worker when he walked in and he replied "I saw that movie"...

Hmmmm

I either need more coffee or better bifocals when I read a headline that in MO a tomato killed 89

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not much changed

I am continuing on with the dental work.  Turns out that I had only had half of the root canals on the two teeth.  Yesterday morning he did the second half on the back tooth, the one that was originally broken and that started this whole process.  Wow.  No pain, but I miss my mind-numbing drugs/gas.  I mentioned the idea of having a stiff drink beforehand to the dentist, and he laughed.  The main reason I'm not is that I'm not sure how it would affect my stomach, and I'm having enough issues as it is.  I was concerned about the pain as the novacain wore off, since he had said about the bleaching last time  that I'd have 'sensitivities' for a few hours and I ended up with an aching mouth for about 24 hours.  However, sometime yesterday afternoon my mouth stopped hurting.  I can't explain it well, but it's like something had ached for so long I no longer noticed it and now it no longer hurts.  I'm feeling much better about the entire process.  I do have another tooth to get through the rough part, and then he and I will need to discuss this root canal idea in depth before I agree to any more.  Had I mentioned the bleaching?  That is so that the new porcelain will blend in.  Had to make a decision and decided to make it all look better while I replace all the bad stuff.  I like the looks. It was a painful process, though, and I had no idea going in that it would be that involved.  He wants to do a second bleaching, but I'll put that off until more of the other work is done.

I'm doing nothing else at home while I go through all the dental work.  Today I finally started 2 weeks of laundry in my small pail washer, and I"m catching up 3 weeks of ironing.  The ironing is required now because the spinner works so well at spinning the water out that it leaves the clothes very wrinkled.  I'm working on figuring out a method that is less labor intensive.  I may decide that I have the time to just let things drip dry, they don't have to be spun so that they dry in a couple of hours.

I was reminded as I was cleaning today (told you I felt better than I have for awhile) that I realized a few years ago that all of housework (at least mine...) is just getting rid of trash.  Laundry, washing dishes, sweeping, shredding papers, all of what I do as housework is just getting the stuff I no longer want out of the door and thrown away in a responsible manner.  One would think that by shrinking my living space to the size of one room of my former house and continuing to get rid of things over the past 5 years or so that the time spent getting rid of trash and dirt would get less, but somehow it seems I always have things I 'should' clean, sweep, launder.  However, if there ever was motivation for me to continue the good fight to downsize, it is the fact that I don't like housework.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tears of Homesickness

I still consider Nashville home.  Even though I haven't lived there in over 2 years.  My friend Turtle Lady sent me pictures of my house there that she took on her way home from a hiking get together.  She also had sent me a couple of pictures of friends at the get together.  I am reminded that I have friends.  I have a house/home.  I have a sense of place.  It is very far from where I am now, in time and geography.  I am homesick.  I had just made the decision to sell the house for whatever I can get for it and break at least even, which is more than many can do with houses these days.  I bought it as a foreclosure, so I don't owe as much as some.  Seeing it in the pictures, I want to go back and move back into it.  I had come to the conclusion in looking back that buying that house was one huge mistake.  Tonight, I want to hold it close and say "MINE!!!".  I'm mixed up.  A mess.  I feel good about getting the dental work done, and paying down debt.  The next thought is how the heck have I gotten so far away from everything that means so much to me????

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dental work

I keep waiting until I have the mental energy to write a really good post about what's going on.  That doesn't seem to be happening.  So, the short story is that this morning I had a second root canal.  The first one was Wednesday evening after work.  One of the local Honduran women at work was translating for me to make my appointment in the capital (thanks, Ben...), and she started telling me about her dentist in the next town over.  The selling point was that most of her mouth has been reworked, and he did the work.  It looks natural.  So, next day I asked her to make me an appointment with her dentist and cancel the other one and that evening after work I was sitting in his chair.  This morning he did the tooth next to that one, and on Wednesday I go back.  Guess I'll be doing this Wednesday/Saturday thing for a few weeks.  It's time.  No real pain, and most of the trauma is mental.  He got some pills for me to take this time.  Next time I'll take 2 instead of one.  It helped, but I need to be further away from reality while he works.  Again, no pain, just my dislike of anything dental related.  Which is why I need so much work now.

I haven't forgotten the picture of the afghan.  It will happen soon.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bobbing back up

Nothing bad is happening.  Sometimes it just seems like my desired future is fading into the mists faster than I can make progress in that direction.  This week has felt that way.  I went to the dentist here yesterday.  I need a root canal, and they didn't want to try it in the local office.  I have a name and number of a 'specialist' in the capital to make an appointment with.  No idea if she speaks any English.  Ongoing adventure.  I'm studying for my next certification, test to be taken also in the capitol (is it 'al' or 'ol'...?)  and maybe I can combine the trips.  Or maybe that is a recipe for disaster?  Oh, well. I'm trying to clean up the apartment.  I don't seem to be able to even keep up with a 2 room hotel suite (all furniture and such is mine), and I don't seem to be sending things back as fast as I'd like.  I just run out of energy to do everything.  Laundry is getting caught up, but ironing isn't yet.  Floors need a good sweeping, and I need to finish packing the next Gorilla Box to send home.  That's just tonight.  But, life goes on.  I'll try to get a picture of the afghan put up, it may be tomorrow before it hits the top of the on-going list.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Overwhelmed

I'm feeling overwhelmed with my current life.  This happens every once in awhile.  Usually when I'm on the cusp of major change again.  Simple things on the to do list tie my stomach in knots.  I feel like I'm moving through molasses.  I don't know if it is that I"ve committed to going to the dentist in town on Saturday (arrive at 8am and take a number, no appointments...) or if I have daydreamed about life after I leave Honduras too much lately.  I may dip below the horizon again for a few days, but I"ll be back.  This isn't unusual for me, and I just have to ride it out.

Monday, May 02, 2011

My world




This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago to capture what I was doing at the time. The yarn for the afghan I was making was wound around the cables to my computer. I was Skpying with Turtle Lady. My exercise mat was out and papers I was sorting through were under all the other stuff. I finished the afghan and put away the mat, but life is still pretty much like that picture.

Ben asked why I'm still here if I don't like it down in Honduras. Well, I am primarily here for one reason, to pay off debt. Working outside of the US has tax benefits, in that I don't have to pay income tax on my earnings. That money all goes to paying off credit cards. If I was someplace I was having fun while paying off debt, that would be great. I don't hate it here, I'm just bored.

Another person wondered if comments made on older posts get noticed. Yes, I get an email with each comment when it's made, no matter what post it's made on. Someone else mentioned that they were reading all my posts from the beginning. That prompted me to do the same. It was kind of interesting to me to have the past few years of my life telescoped into a couple of evenings' reading. That is actually the primary reason for keeping this blog, to give myself a record of what goes on, and second to let any of my friends who are interested in keeping up with me a way to do it. I am glad that I have also gotten to know other bloggers who stop by here, but it is icing on the cake.

I'm trying to think if there were other things I wanted to mention that aren't worth their own post. Can't think of any more.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Parade Pictures

Here are the pictures of the 1st of May Worker's Parade:




First was the Honduran flag carried by the two in front, then the band.




I tried to get some pictures of the banners they carried in case anyone can translate.




At least while they were forming the parade they still shared the road with the buses. The 'school bus' is a typical local bus. Some are painted up really nicely.




The lone picture of Che.




The only person on horseback.




And away they go, loudspeakers blaring.

Update

Apparently the shopping center parking lot behind my hotel was a staging area for the 1st of May Worker's Day parade.  They finally just filed past on the main boulevard and I stood up on the top balcony and took pictures.  I didn't understand a word of the very loud and many loudspeakers ramblings nor did I understand any words on the carried signs.  I was impressed with the number of people walking in the parade, seemed like most of the town.  I did see one poster of Che Guevara, and I am surprised that I didn't see more of them.  Probably just as well that I kept my Yankee a$$ up on the balcony.

Pictures later, really.

Still here

There is not a lot going on, so not a lot of things to write about.  Sorry for the 2 week lapse.  I'm also having some carpel tunnel pain in my right wrist, because I've been playing a silly computer game for hours and hours this week.  The reason I'm playing it is because I have these videos online that I need to be watching so that I can pass a certification test so that I can get a job after I leave here, which I really want to do.  So, since I have these videos I need to watch I have started being hooked on this silly gave that really has no redeeming value.  If you don't understand my logic, then welcome to my world.  This would explain why at my age I am working in Honduras. 

For some reason someone is either setting off firewords at 6 to 7am, or there is a small war going on out there.  I'm betting fireworks since I haven't heard any sirens, and even here that many guns would attract official attention.  It is interesting to live in a place where silly things like noise ordinances, litter laws, driver training before getting a license and such are unheard of.  Luckily on the noise issue there really isn't much going on, if anything, after about 10pm, and a lot of the homes outside of the town don't even have electricity, so everything pretty much gets quiet. 

I've been here 7 months now.  In 5 more I can leave if I have a job to go to.  My thoughts are much more on life after Honduras than in worrying much about what goes on here.  It shows at work.  I just don't care, which ironically is actually helping with team morale.  So, I guess I should get to watching those videos.  http://www.professormesser.com/  if you are in need of good videos for basic IT certs.  Free is a cost that even I can afford to study them.  If I just would, instead of doing everything but studying...