Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Near the flower market downtown we ran into two women (maybe sisters) and a young girl (maybe 6 or 7) who was obviously a grandchild. The young girl was entranced with Fredi in her carrying case and Brian brought Fredi off his shoulder and held her down so the young girl could pet her. The usual telling of names ensued and the 2 women and Brian got into quite a discussion. Shelley was standing about 1/4 of a block away, watching all this. At one point, as the women were leaving, Brian held out his hand as if he was begging and said, "Vienticinco centavos" ($0.25). Both women giggled and one of the women gave Brian an "oh you!" slap on his arm.

When Brian caught up to where Shelley was standing she said to him "You really crossed some sort of barrier if they'll touch you now".

Brian was quite pleased.

If we were going back to Canada just to visit the kids and see our friends, we'd be going together and we'd be excited and happy about the trip. Brian's looking forward to seeing the children and his brother and meeting up with his old work friends, but the purpose of the trip puts a damper on everything. Shelley's been anxious for the last couple of weeks and only wishes Brian had already gone and come home again. She's having another bout of home sickness. Brian's not looking forward to 24 hours of travel twice in a week and a schedule jam packed once he gets there. He's also anxious on Shelley's behalf at leaving her behind. As a consequence, neither one of us has been sleeping that great the last week or so and we take turns sitting up in bed, turning on the light and reading for an hour or so in the middle of the night. Poor Fredi sensing something's up, insists on cleaning our faces for us, which we've got to admit always bring a smile, but ultimately doesn't take away the anxiety. All of this is not to say we resent making the trip; the trip's necessary and it's important for Brian to see his brother. When it's done and over with, we'll both feel the better for it having been made. The only thing to do, of course, is march on.

Most of the time when they put a Notice up in our building we can cobble out the meaning, but recently there was a Notice that we were obligated to take a picture of and then run it through Google Translate. That's because 2 words we were unfamiliar with were dotted throughout the notice: reciclar & basura ~ recycle & garbage. Apparently the people in our building weren't recycling and the powers that be were going to impose a sanction on the building if we didn't start. We were actually quite pleased to discover we could recycle and then set out to find out exactly how this is done. We bought the light blue recycle bags at our local SuperMaxi and apparently they pick up these bags every Thursday (at our building). Unlike Canada, where you have to separate all your recyclables, here you put your paper & tin cans & even computer print cartridges all into the blue bag and presumably they have people who separate it all out! We'd asked about recycling before and it had been pointed out to us that quite often individuals would go through the garbage and pick out cardboard etc. and we'd always been careful to put this type of garbage in separate bags. Now, we can recycle officially! Small things make us happy apparently.

Over the last 365+ days Brian & Shelley have been separated only for a couple of hours once in a while. Shelley was in the retirement industry during part of her working life and saw the stress that constant togetherness brought on newly retired couples. This is not a problem we have.

We studied our Spanish and after the lesson Brian complained of having a tight stomach and a mild headache.

"What are you thinking about?" Shelley asked him.

"My trip" he answered. "I'm not comfortable about leaving you alone. I'm surprised" he said. "I think I'm having an anxiety attack."

Fredi, every vigilant to our feelings, had her feet up on Shelley's legs begging to be held.

"Here" Shelley said to Brian picking up Fredi "Take Fredi and lie down for awhile. Everything will be OK. You'll see."

Note: He did feel better after his nap.

Off we went to the giant hardware store near the airport to see if we could find Super Glue. They had Super Glue and several others that claimed to be better than Super Glue. Most of them had their instructions in English. Shelley was wishy-washy about buying a strawberry pot ($35), breaking down the display and eyeing it placed on the floor next to her leg. In the end, she decided against it (too much money, too big) and then was in the process of rebuilding the display when a sales woman came over and shooed her off. Fredi is not welcome in Malls generally but the giant hardware store not connected with the Mall welcomes her with open arms. The ladies at the till always coo over her a bit. We needed Super Glue because the back of one of our office chairs was cracking and we figured Super Glue would do the trick. It did.

We've been getting emails regularly from Brian's brother's spouse. To say we appreciate being kept in the loop regarding Brian's brother is an understatement; one that cannot be expressed. The courage and grace that is being shown in the emails is something too that cannot be expressed. Life is good; life is bad; life is hard; life is's all there. We all of us struggle along in our own little worlds, insular for the most part but touching some from time to time and leaving us breathless.

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