Friday, August 14, 2009

Books, Games & Food

When we lived in Vancouver on the boat, once every 2 weeks we'd go down to the main public library and take out 14 books. Shelley'd pick out 7 and Brian would pick out 7 and that'd keep us going. This was before we had TV & internet. When we finally did get TV it was in the same room we'd sleep in, so in the morning when Brian got up, hours before Shelley, he'd read. Shelley still goes to bed before Brian and reads while he watches the news on TV & she also reads after her computer time while Brian's having his afternoon nap. Brian's reading time is basically now cut down to about half an hour before nap time and half an hour between bedtime and sleep time, but nevertheless he still reads.

These days we go to the CB Carolina bookstore and pick our books. They're still important; even though now we've got the world wide web and a TV. Shelley's currently reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone about Michaelangelo. Brian & Shelley both agreed they've read this book as teenagers or young adults (who remembers specifically). The copyright is 1961 so that seems reasonable; but Shelley finds the book fresh (read so many years ago it's new again). We were worried when we came to Ecuador that we might have to buy our books on line and pay for shipping etc. and were very very pleased to find the CB Carolina Bookstore here for us. It's a place to meet people, find old book friends & discover new horizons; like any other bookstore in the world.

Shelley has discovered a game on FaceBook called Farmville. You and your friends set up a farm. You can gift trees & animals to your neighbours and plant crops determined by what level of the game you are on. Shelley's currently on about level 9 or 10 and her son-in-law (the one who got her into the game) is on about level 22 or 23. We don't know how far up the levels go. These days Shelley can't wait to get to the computer to harvest her soy beans and she went into a spiraling despair ;-) when there was an attack on FaceBook and she couldn't harvest her pumpkins. Her entire crop failed! The size of your farm depends on how many neighbours you have. Shelley's currently looking for new neighbours so she can expand her farm. Is this any way for a grown woman with grown children to behave?

"Words" have been presenting problems for Shelley lately. She got into a Twitter discussion and used the word "precedent". The person she was Twittering with didn't understand the use of the word and took her meaning for exactly opposite to what she was trying to say. We had company for dinner the other day and they used the word "ritualized" to describe our day to day routine. A simple error but it does change the meaning a shade. Both Brian & Shelley have children that will put the worst shading on just about anything we say. Can these things be helped? As a youngster, Shelley was taught that if one used precise language then generally the individual and the world would be better off. This isn't always the case. Try as we might, we won't ever be able to make a world that is totally safe. In the end, this is probably not a bad thing. Language always presents potential pitfalls. Often, however, working through the pitfalls we discover new paths & build new bridges. We can't begin to imagine what misunderstandings we foster in our fumblings with the Spanish language! Nevertheless, we continue to fumble and try to enjoy just about every minute of it!

We had to go to the post office to pick up a prize Shelley had won through Twittering. We have a PO Box that we rent at the main post office for about $20 a year. (Note: In Canada it cost us $95 a year to rent a Box.) It was only a sticker, but the fellow had mailed it all the way from Virginia to Ecuador, so the thought certainly was wonderful. Shelley had told the fellow not to bother since it was such a long way, but he insisted. On the way back from the post office we ran into a couple of friends and chatted on the street corner for a few minutes. When they asked where the post office was (because they wanted to pick up stamps) we told them, and then gave them a piece of advice: Write your card or letter and then take it straight to the main post office for mailing. It seems if you mail stuff anywhere from other than the main post office it greatly reduces the changes of it ultimately getting through. We learned this through trial & error but so far haven't lost anything we've mailed directly at the main post office. Ecuador is not noted for having mail boxes dotted on street corners like in Canada & the U.S. in any case, but the few times we mailed from a box in a mall or an artisans shop, the letter or post card did not get through.

The bakery at the SuperMaxi here makes sometime between a croissant & a flaky roll. It's not crescent shaped but is made in layers. When these go slightly stale, Shelley makes french toast of them. Because we had company a few days ago and gave them pecan pie, we had a can of Rediwhip left over. We also had a container of chocolate sauce in the cupboard. Imagine a croissant dipped in sugar & egg & vanilla & fried to a golden crisp, topped with whipped cream & drizzled with chocolate sauce. On the side we had a banana drizzled with chocolate sauce as well (you know) for the vitamins. Needless to say, despite some people's complaints about the blandness of some of the food in Ecuador, we are managing to maintain our weight just fine (thank you very much)!

PS: - The pictures on this blog have all been taken from our front room window at various times of the day. We were telling a friend the other day that when you rent an unfurnished apartment here, they truly come unfurnished (without fridge, stove, curtains, lighting fixtures, etc). We had a man come from a blind store and measure our windows & we had blinds put up in all the rooms. To tell you the truth, the only blinds that ever get closed are the ones in our bedroom when we go to bed at night. We've never closed the blinds in our front room & we never tire of the view!

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