Marilyn works as a volunteer missionary with FEDICE (Ecumenical Foundation for Holistic Development, Training, and Education), which is based in Quito, Ecuador. Glenn supports her where he can. We are also under the auspices of Global Ministries, the missionary arm of both the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denominations. Global Ministries lends support to grassroots organizations such as FEDICE worldwide.
Most of FEDICE's work takes place in communities north and south of Quito, helping people help themselves through a variety of activities. A few of the activities include:
making small loans for projects that will raise income of indigenous peoples so they don't have to leave their communities in search of work;
providing technical training to support these projects;
coordinating the construction of needed facilities (such as preschools, community centers at churches, etc.) between local authorities, national authorities, and mission groups desiring building projects;
Olga Yan Pardo rode home with us from the FEDICE meeting in Quito on June 1st and she's still here. (But that was the plan.) From the second day she was here, we have called her Olguita, a term of endearment. There's no doubt about it. She certainly has endeared herself to us, as well as the people with whom she has worked.
Olguita came to FEDICE as a Global Ministries Mission Intern Long Term Volunteer from the Dominican Republic (Repúbica Dominicana). She has a degree in Social Work and is putting her skills to excellent use while associated with FEDICE. I know because I just read her monthly report and could not have been more impressed. Her passions are youth rights, education, and the Lord. She conducts programs on children's rights, child abuse, spousal abuse, sexual education, and life planning.
An interesting thing happened on the way from Quito to Otavalo that first day of June. Olguita told us that her uncle, who lives in New York City (and is loved dearly by Olguita), was in Ecuador for a visit and was coming to see her. "Oh, when?" we asked. "Tomorrow. He's flying from Guayaquil to Quito to see me, but I'm not in Quito anymore. He asked if there were any good but inexpensive hotels in Otavalo," Olguita replied. Well, say no more. We offered to let him stay in our guest room. We even told her that we wouldn't mind going to the Quito airport to pick him up at 6 pm the next day, because we weren't sure if there was a bus from the airport to Otavalo.
If the term "interesting" can be applied to this revelation on the ride from Quito to Otavalo, the only term that can be applied to what happened the next day is "funny." Olguita was having her first breakfast with us when the telephone rang about 9:30 am. It was her uncle. He arrived in Quito at 6 AM, not 6 pm. He also came to Otavalo by taxi from the airport (no small expense). He needed to know where we lived because he was in the central square of Otavalo and could get a taxi to our house if he knew where it was.
We were dumbfounded - Olguita, too.
Marilyn was making breakfast that morning, so she handed Isabel the keys and asked if she'd take the car and Olguita to pick up Uncle David. About 20 minutes later, in walked a tall man - Uncle David. Not far behind him was María, Uncle David's pretty wife. Not far behind her was Erika, María's niece from Guayaquil. For those mathematically challenged, that's three people instead of the one that we were expecting. Surr-prise.
After six years of living in Ecuador, we have become accustomed to surprises like this. Marilyn casually put more food on to cook and Isabel pitched in to help. Soon, a hearty breakfast was ready and we enjoyed picking each other's brains about what life was like "back home," and in Otavalo for that matter. Marilyn and I were interested in hearing about life in The Bronx (especially since Marilyn lived in New York City for seven years, but in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan). We were also interested to hear about Guayaquil, where Erika lives, and which is a metropolis we haven't visited (yet).
After breakfast, Marilyn went into her "tour guide mode" and showed everyone the sights in and near Otavalo for a day and a half. After all, Olguita herself had only visited Otavalo for work until now. But, all too soon, it was time for David, Maria, and Erika to head for Quito, and the rest of us to get back to work for FEDICE.
Besides working with indigenous communities near Otavalo, FEDICE, with assistance from churches in the U.S., is supporting two very needy families. In one, an elderly woman with health issues of her own and very few resources, is raising four grandchildren who were orphaned at a young age. Part of Olguita's job while in Otavalo is to guide both of these families in putting together life plans. In this, her training as a social worker is invaluable. I can say with some knowledge that many Ecuadoreans, though smart, are not accustomed to planning ahead. Olga's teaching this skill to these two families will aid them immeasurably in the future.
Another part of Olga's job is conducting programs on child abuse and youth rights in churches and schools. Yes, Ecuador is not immune to abuse, either spousal or directed towards children. Ecuador has its problems and challenges just like any other country. I'm confident Olguita will guide people with whom she works in alleviating, and solving, some of these problems.
Since being here, Olguita has had a chance to participate in many events of familia "loca" (an affectionate name for the family that has adopted us), including two picnics and a parade. She was even on hand for the airshow performed by yours truly. The family is called familia "loca," but they all stayed on the ground that day! Who's loco?
Olguita with Familia "Loca"
Her infectious smile, deep and joyful laugh, singing, helpfulness, and dedication to her work make her a joy to be around. Even our dog loves her (and Canela gets no food from Olga!) Olguita is supposed to be in Otavalo only a few weeks this summer, but we hope it's longer. After all, Bethany Waggoner was supposed to be with us for three months and wound up staying for eleven months. Never know. If that happens again, Blanca Puma, Executive Director of FEDICE, may start to think of Otavalo as a black hole that sucks in new talent and won't let go!
Olguita makes friends wherever she goes. She went to church with me every Sunday that she was here in Quito, and the people are still asking about her....
Posted July 9, 2016
8 de julio, 2016
Do we do extreme sports? At sixty-seven years of age? And I do mean "we." I may have videos on YouTube about zip lining and paragliding, but Marilyn has her adventurer/explorer side as well.
For one thing, she hopes to hike to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon this summer. And back up the next day. It's on her "bucket" list.
We don't normally think of hiking as an extreme sport. It's basically walking (mostly over rough ground) while carrying gear you might need, right? But when you hike eight miles down one day (which is hard on your knees) descending 4,780 feet in temperatures that can reach 120º Fahrenheit, have a short night's rest, and hike up ten miles the next day (which is hard on your heart and lungs) ascending 4,380 feet in the same temperatures, that is a fair definition of an extreme sport in my opinion.
Zip Lining, November 8, 2014 (Video)
Since we were married thirty-two years ago, we've done things (both together and apart) that seemed extreme to some people, or at least highly adventurous. Come to think of it, on the second day of our honeymoon, Marilyn left me at the top of Haleakala Volcano on Maui while she set off on an adventurous three hour hike into the caldera. Or was it two hours? Four? However long it was, I had time to read everything in the museum three times and push myself around the parking lot four times.
We've been river rafting on the Rio Grand in three of the four Big Bend Canyons. We've rafted parts of the Yampa, Green, Colorado, and Snake Rivers, too, going over rapids as high as Class IV.
I've gone snow skiing. Marilyn has hiked the three day trail to Machu Picchu, reaching 13,000 feet.
Since we've been in Ecuador, I've had a chance to go zip lining twice and paragliding once. The last time I went zip lining, I went in my wheelchair. Marilyn has also done some zip lining. I want to do more zip lining and paragliding in the future.
Zip Lining, April 5, 2016 (Video)
The thing is, we didn't sit down one day and say to each other, "Let's test our boundaries," or "What's the most outrageous thing we can think of to challenge ourselves?" Instead, we were merely open to opportunities as they presented themselves.
But, how do you define extreme sports? Are they activities very few people do because they're inherently dangerous? Or are they activities few people have an opportunity to do? I don't use a dictionary because it's hard for me to handle, but a perusal of the definitions on the handy internet reveals the following attributes: extreme sports are inherently dangerous, involving speed, height, physical exertion, and specialized equipment. That puts extreme sports into the first definition I posited.
I take what I call calculated risks. Always have. I think Marilyn does the same. Maybe most people do that. For example, if I think there's less than a one percent chance of dying or getting seriously injured doing an activity, and there's a way for me to do it, I'll likely do it, providing I think I'll enjoy it. Neither of us would do something if the probability of a bad outcome was, say, twenty percent. An adrenaline rush or feel-good moment in that case wouldn't be worth the high probability of maiming or killing ourselves.
Paragliding, June 19, 2016 (Video)
This description of how we choose activities we want to try doesn't really sound like it fits the definition of extreme sports. So maybe I'm inflating the significance of some of the things we do - in other words, diluting the meaning of extreme sports. On the other hand, it takes physical exertion and specialized equipment to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up. It involved speed and specialized equipment when I snow skied. It involved height, speed, and specialized equipment when I paraglided from twelve hundred feet and zip lined on a cable one hundred fifty to two hundred feet above a river. It involved physical exertion, specialized equipment, and sometimes speed when we river rafted. Furthermore, these were all inherently dangerous activities, though the danger was sensibly minimized as much as possible at the time we did them.
I submit that both Marilyn and I have been, and will continue to be, involved in extreme sports. But, you be the judge.
As for us, we'll stick to our separate but similar philosophies. Beyond the Grand Canyon hike for Marilyn and my desire to take another paragliding flight, I don't know what extreme sports, if any, are in our futures. But I do know that we'll continue to enjoy life and embrace opportunities as they come along.
You guys are wonderful! You just keep on keeping on.....Love you, Lisa
Glenn, it's exciting that you both are so adventurous. I went zip-lining once, but it was too fast (and scary) to enjoy the view. I prefer going on a tram ride through the canopy in a "gondola" where you have time to observe all around you.
I want to go on a steamboat ride from the highlands of Colombia (somewhere?) down the Amazon. You have inspired me to go ahead and do it. Hugs to you and Marilyn.
This post is dedicated to David Hebert, my brother. David, I have always admired you, even during the time we sort of drifted apart. When we were growing up, you treated me as a normal brother, despite my physical disabilities. I admired that, though I may not have had the proper words to say so at the time. I admired you when you worked during summers putting yourself through college, when you went into the Army to fly helicopters because you couldn’t get into the Air Force, when you got a double graduate degree, when you worked your way up to major, when you had children, when you changed jobs after you'd retired from the Army so you could fly again. I admired all that, bro’, especially your ability to fly. Now, I’ve flown without having a giant airplane around me. And I hope to do it again!
This post is also dedicated to the family we live with in Ecuador. From the get-go, the immediate “family,” Marilyn, and I melded together naturally. Eventually, the extended family, better known as Familia “Loca," also allowed us to play integral roles in the family. Without them, especially Isabel, we’d be back in the U.S., maybe living near our blood family, maybe not.
Take me up, Wind.
Take me where you blow.
Show me land, Wind,
Spread out far below.
Show me streams, Wind,
That to the oceans flow.
Take me down, Wind,
Gently, and so slow.
I was honored to be an Honorary Father on Father’s Day, 2016. It wasn’t exactly a shock. For some time now, both Marilyn and I have been viewed as “quasi-parental” figures. To be honest, at first, I thought this was because of the help and support we were able to provide in the form of loans and, sometimes, outright gifts. Eventually, I came to realize that the affection shown us was as genuine as someone would show a, well, a cared-about family member.
We have always stayed away from the patronage system, however, something that tends to be prevalent in Latin American countries. When we help people, it’s with the aim of furthering their self-sufficiency and independence. The patronage system keeps people dependent on a Patron (Patrón) to fulfill their needs. The last thing I wanted was to be a Patrón. That’s certainly not why either Marilyn or I came here.
Yes, we give gifts sometimes, but we are also given gifts. Some are intangible, like the love, support, and faith in God we feel from those around us. Some are tangible, like the gift I was given on Father’s Day.
We live with Isabel and Brayan, her son. Patricia, Isabel’s sister, often stays at our house on weekends. Patricia and Isabel, being the last two daughters of their mother’s six children, and close in age, are best friends. When Isabel has needed help, Patricia’s always been there. When Patricia went through rough times, Isabel was at her side.
These two got together and gave me a paragliding trip for Father’s Day. They had heard me, after our trip to Baños with a honeymooning couple, say that I wished I could find a way to go paragliding (or hacer parapente). Patricia knew a friend who knew a friend in Ibarra who had taken disabled people paragliding before. They called and set it up for Father’s Day.
Believe me, this gift was not lightly given. Neither Isabel nor Patricia have a lot of money. Further, it costs more to take up a person with a disability because there needs to be a large “ground crew” to get things ready and make sure nothing is amiss. But Patricia and Isabel wanted to do it anyway because they both knew how excited I’d be. (I didn’t disappoint them.) I’d say their desire to see me excited was a pretty special gift in and of itself.
The Familia “Loca” was in on it, too. It was one of our regular family reunion days (every two weeks) and we had a picnic at a lake near where I would take off. In fact, I thought I would land near where we had the picnic because I had seen other paragliders land there before. Thus, when it was time to go, I was really surprised when all 22 or so piled into the two cars we had and went with me to meet the instructor at his shop.
Familia "Loca" - Jorge Duque Is Directly Behind Me
When I met Jorge Duque, I liked him right away. He was sure about what needed to be done and left nothing to chance. He runs a school for parapente in Ibarra called FlyEcuador, 25 minutes from our house in Otavalo. After he had gathered his “ground crew,” some of whom would meet us at the takeoff site, he got into his car and led our two-car caravan to the scene of the adventure.
On top of Jorge’s car was a 3-wheeled chair that reminded me of those jogging buggies moms sometimes use to stay in shape while taking their babies out for a ride. Only this was bigger. Adult size. It also reminded me of a 3-wheeled racing wheelchair with a high back instead of a cut-down back. Jorge was proud of having developed it himself.
Chair In The Air
I had a chance to study it as we followed Jorge. It looked pretty sturdy. I liked that the back wheels were canted (slanted) outward so much, providing lots of stability. I did wonder if the front wheel was big enough to go over rough ground. (It was).
Taking lefts and rights and lefts and rights, we arrived at the top of a hill on the opposite side of Ibarra from where Marilyn and I thought we were going. Jorge later told us that we were not wrong about the other site. He uses that one, too. But this site was better for the chair because it had a much more gradual drop off. At the other site, there wasn’t much time to catch a good updraft before the mountain became too steep and the poor soul in the chair (and Jorge behind it) would be goners.
I was put in the chair straight from the car. My upper body was put into a harness, my legs were strapped down, and, of course, I was given a helmet. Then I was lined up with the parasail. Because I couldn’t do any steering, elastic cords were attached from the chair frame to the front wheel to keep it straight (but not rigid) during takeoff and landing. A selfie stick with a GoPro camera was attached to the chair. (This camera got rotated 90 degrees during takeoff but, amazingly, still captured great pictures of Jorge, me, and the chair.) Then the parasail was attached to both Jorge and the chair.
We were ready. The family - my adoring audience - were watching and cheering me on from where they’d been asked to stand, out of the way.
One of the ground crew walked out about 50 feet ahead and to the left with some toilet paper tied to a stick. That was the wind gauge. I had to laugh. In the U.S. they’d probably have some sort of high tech instrument, but a length of toilet paper on a stick was so much cheaper and served the exact same purpose.
The toilet paper started blowing parallel to the ground, directly toward us. It was time to roll! A guy on each side grabbed the chair and pulled it forward… then stopped? Whaat? I later figured out from watching the video that they stopped to let the parasail, now filled with air, get overhead.
Then they started pulling again, faster and faster. It frightened me a bit when Jorge yelled, “¡Corren! (Run!)” because we were already going fast and the hill was getting steeper and steeper. What kind of crash would there be if we couldn’t get airborne in time?
We were off the ground, just barely. I held my breath, half expecting the wind to die and plop us back onto the now steepened hill. But, no. The ground continued to fall away. We were truly airborne. We both gave shouts of joy.
As we banked right to catch an air current, off to my right I could see Lago Yahuarcocha, where we had had our picnic. When we banked left, I once again looked to my right and saw down the length of the Chota Valley, with the Chota River running through it. Amazing! Ahead, I could see exactly where the new highway around Ibarra stopped when they ran out of funds to complete it because the price of oil dropped. To my left, I could see crops below (mostly sugar cane) and the Cotacachi Volcano. Seeing these features from the old highway had always been difficult to impossible (except for Cotacachi), even though the old highway was high. Now, everything was spread before me, like a 3D map - in living color. I reveled at being able to look down at the earth, whose terrestrial bonds I had escaped, without being hindered by the walls of an airplane. I was almost like a bird.
Except we didn’t very much higher. Because the wind was not quite right that afternoon, about all we could do was steadily glide down from a height of about 7,500 ft. to a height of about 6,300 ft. - a descent of 1,200 ft. Those height numbers are guesstimates, but that descent number came from Jorge.
When we were about to land, I got nervous again. There were bushes all over the field which we were headed for and it looked like they were pretty substantial. I couldn’t judge adequately, having never had such a perspective. I also heard a dog barking frantically below. Would we be attacked? After a few seconds of this silly worrying, I decided that Jorge knew what he was doing. So I relaxed and concentrated on touch down.
Dog At Landing Site
I didn’t know what would happen, but I could think of three possible outcomes. Outcome #1: I would stay upright. Outcome #2: I would fall over sideways. Outcome #3: The front wheel would get caught on one of the bushes and cause us to flip end-over-end. Therefore, I concentrated on keeping my arms as close to my body as possible. If you picked Outcome #2, you’re the proud winner of… nothing but bragging rights. We stayed upright for a couple of seconds, then fell over sideways. (By the way, the “bushes” turned out to be mere clumps of weeds.)
Jorge: Are you Okay? (He speaks English, too.)
Me: ¡Estoy Muy Bien!
And I was. Oh, I had a view of bugs crawling up and down blades of grass until Jorge could get the chair (and me) upright again. But I had just been through a wonderful experience. And there was no dog gnawing at me. I couldn’t have found anything to gripe about if I’d tried.
Jorge used his walkie-talkie to call the takeoff site, tell them we were okay, and ask that someone fly down to help us get squared away. Meantime, Jorge had turned the chair so that I could see a rainbow arched perfectly over the hill of our takeoff site. It seemed to signify something, though I still haven’t been able to figure it out enough to put it into words. I'll just say that it signaled the successful end to a wonderful adventure.
My "Blockbuster" Movie On Youtube
I put together a 16 minute movie from video and photos taken by Jorge’s team, Marilyn, and Elvis Novoa. Every time I watch it, I get excited all over again. If you can watch video from Youtube (i.e., you have a decent internet connection), you’ll be able to watch this. Just click on the above picture, put the video on full screen, turn the volume up, and come fly with me!
P. S. If you care to support Jorge’s program for people with disabilities, please contact him through his website: http://flyecuador.com.ec. It does cost him money to develop the right equipment and tailor it to individual needs.
The idea germinated on December 12, 2015. We were at David and Lynn's house in east Texas visiting my brother and sister-in-law on our latest trip to the U.S. On this particular day, we all drove to Gonzalez, Louisiana, to be on hand for Chris's 40th birthday celebration. Chris is David's oldest son and, of course, my nephew. Yes, I have a 40 year-old-nephew, son of a younger brother. Reminds me how old (in years) I am.
In typical south Louisiana December fashion, the party was held on the open air breezeway. I love that about Louisiana. When much of the country is freezing its buns off, the weather there is often balmy. Maybe that contributes to southern Louisiana people's Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler (Let The Good Times Roll) attitude. It’s similar to the attitudes I love about people in Ecuador. The conversation, food, and beer flowed throughout the afternoon and early evening. Ahhh. I still miss Louisiana's relaxing winter afternoons.
But, as the title may indicate to the astute, I didn't start this to write about Chris, or his birthday party, or even Louisiana. One of the attendees was Tessa, Chris's youngest half-sibling. Though not related to us by blood, Marilyn and I have always tried to treat Tessa, Libby, and Logan (all half siblings to Chris) as nieces and nephew. Tessa also had Daniel, her fiancé, with her.
When she and Marilyn got to talking, guess what happened. Come on. If you know Marilyn, guess. It shouldn't be too hard. Got it, yet? That's right. Marilyn invited the happy couple to spend their upcoming honeymoon in Ecuador. Before I could finish my second beer (I've never drunk Mint Juleps), we were showing pictures of Ecuador from our computers to reinforce our glowing descriptions of the country's beauty. They were immediately persuaded, and Daniel's grandfather even said he'd buy their plane tickets as a wedding gift.
Marilyn and I are not wedding planners, but we have planned more than our share of good trips, including trips with friends and trips by ourselves. Planning for another couple's honeymoon wouldn't be too hard. We only had to take one or two additional concepts into consideration, the first being "give them space". The last thing we wanted Tessita and Danielito to feel was that Tia Marilita and Tio Glenncito were keeping an eye on them. It was pretty special to simply share their happiness and take them to parts of Ecuador we thought were romantic.
We made up itineraries (with actual and estimated costs) and sent them back and forth until they decided on what they'd like to experience in seven days. When things were settled, we made all necessary reservations in Ecuador. Then we sat back and waited until April 3rd, the day after Tessita y Danielito were married.
We arrived at the airport on April 3rd, but, while they got there at 10:55 pm, we didn't see them until about 1:30 am on April 4th due to a 2 1/2 hour wait to get through customs. (It usually takes an hour.) What if they missed their connection in Atlanta after all? We knew it was short. I had pulled up a map of that sprawling airport and, to my consternation, had seen they were supposed to land at one end and had to leave from the other end - in an hour.
What if they couldn't arrive until the next day? How would the schedule be rearranged? We did get comfort from the fact that hotel employees holding signs for expected guests stood with us for hours. Eventually, however, their guests emerged smiling (or dazed) and they left. When that happened, Marilyn started asking around and talked to a taxi driver who informed her that, due to Ecuador's budget shortfall, some customs workers (about half) had been furloughed.
Tessita and Danielito finally emerged and we whisked them to the Hotel Ambassador in Quito for a short night's rest. One of the things Tessita commented on was that it was so quiet at the hotel, which was near the center of the sprawling city of Quito. I had never thought about it before, but she was right. Quito is loud in the daytime but is not an all-night city.
Because of the problem with customs, we all decided to sleep a little longer in the morning instead of trying to do everything that had been planned during the first day. Still, we managed to hit some of Quito's most renowned touristic attractions: the Panecillo, the Basilica, Independence Square, and Iglesia De La Campania De Jesús. In the afternoon, we left on our four hour drive to Baños.
Dan At El Panecillo Overlooking Quito - His First Time Away From The U.S.
When putting together the itinerary, we knew they'd like Baños because Danielito y Tessita are adventurous. Baños has lots of fun things to do, including zip lining (canopy), bungee jumping, taking cable cars (tarabitas) across deep canyons, hiking (senderismo), viewing and playing in waterfalls (cascadas), cycling, 4-wheeling, rafting, short guided trips to the jungle (la selva), and, of course, pools (piscinas) fed by hot springs. So we allotted three nights and two days for Baños. That's not enough time to do everything, but it was a good portion of the time Tessita y Danielito spent in Ecuador.
The first full day, we all took the Chebas Cascada Tour, which takes you to four different waterfalls. Sorry. If we have guests and take them to Baños, it's a rule that they go on this tour. That's just the way it is. It's a double decker bus affording a fine view for those on the open air top. It makes stops at the cascadas, plus one or two other places. At practically every stop, one can do things like canopy, tarabitas, and bungee jumping. Tessita y Danielito did some canopy and tarabitas.
Tessita Y Danielito In A Tababita
I got out at one cascada (Manta De La Novia) intending to do a tarabita. The person running the concession asked me if I'd like to do canopy. Of course! To my surprise and delight, I went in my wheelchair, cheered on by Tessita, Danielito, Marilyn, and a host of folks on our tour. I'll describe my experience in a different post.
Glenn Getting Ready
Glenn Ziplining In Wheelchair
Tessita Swinging Over Clouds
After the tour, we went to Casa de Arból. Danielito and Tessita really enjoyed that! It's a huge tree on the edge of a cliff with a treehouse and swing in it. The swing is situated so that when you swing forward you're in the air over a deep valley. It also has a good view of Tunguhuara, an active volcano. Baños is situated on the flank of Tunguhuara, another thing that makes Baños exciting.
A little way down the mountain, we ate dinner at Cafe del Cielo (Cafe in the sky). This restaurant has a great view of Baños, especially at night.
The next day, Marilyn and I hung around our hotel (La Floresta), while Danielito y Tessita did their thing. Actually, Marilyn had planned to hike but was tired. Therefore, I had company while I worked on my computer and read. The lovebirds went cycling. A little while later they came back with hang-dog looks, saying they couldn’t find a taxi to take them up the “hill” so they could bike down. I suggested they look for a white pickup truck with a green stripe. These often perform taxi services within a “parish”.
That did the trick. They were driven as far as Cafe del Cielo, where we’d had dinner the previous night. The driver asked for $10, but Tessita and Danielito were so pleased that they gave him $20. After that, they said, they biked down the mountain at “breakneck speed” in under five minutes. I have my doubts about the time, but I have no doubt that it felt that fast to them.
Danielito Ready To Tear Down Mountain From Cafe del Cielo
Tessita and Danielito rested in the hammocks of the hotel after that little adventure. Then they went to get a couple’s massage. We ate separately that night, primarily because Marilyn and I couldn’t find them. Later, they told us they’d walked by the restaurant and seen us eating but didn’t want to disturb our privacy. Sweetly, they were looking out for our privacy as much as we were looking out for theirs.
Tessita Resting At Hotel
The next day we piddled around downtown a little in the morning and saw a parade before leaving for Otavalo. That’s another thing about Ecuador that reminds me of New Orleans - anyone here will parade about anything, anywhere. And parades may not be scheduled in advance. This particular one appeared to be staged by healthcare workers.
We stopped at Bosque Protector Jerúsalem (Jerusalem Protected Forest) on the way to Otavalo. Marilyn, Tessita, and Danielito went on a hike with the park naturalist, with whom we’ve become casually acquainted over the years. We had picked up Isabel on our way back through Quito, so she and I walked around a flat area near the administration buildings.
Good thing we had picked up Isabel, because we were about to stop at our favorite tienda de flores in Tabucundo to get roses for the house and bodega (shop or storage area) when she told us she’d already gotten some in Otavalo. After all, that saved us a whopping $4.00-$5.00! Except at special times, like Easter, Mother’s Day, or the funeral of Hugo Chavéz, we can get 25 roses at this place for $2.00-$2.50. They last a week or more. I always laugh at Marilyn when she doesn’t want to spend $5.00 for 25 roses. I know husbands who might very well visit here just so they could shower their wives with roses at that price and become princes!
Arriving in Otavalo, Danielito y Tessita got to meet Cesar y Luz, Isabel’s brother and sister-in-law, because we stopped at their restaurant to give them candies we had bought them in Baños. Next, we drove to their house and delivered candy to Maria Augusta, their daughter. We also needed to pick up Brayan, Isabel’s son, because he was visiting Maria Augusta until Isabel returned.
Finally, we made it to our house and Tessita y Danielito got to see their digs for the next two nights - a two-room bodega. We’ve converted one room into a comfy, cozy bedroom and installed a half-bath in a corner of the other room. We figured the bodega bedroom would give them maximum privacy at our house.
On Friday, Tessita y Danielito got to go to a couple of preschools where Marilyn teaches English as part of her work with FEDICE. They had brought some school supplies to hand out. They also brought fun stuff to blow bubbles as another way to interact with the kids. Tessita is an artist, has a degree in art, and has been working as a preschool teacher. Danielito is an electrician, but has an artsy side as well. They were both in their elements at the preschools.
Children In One Of The Preschools Where Marilyn Teaches
Danielito y Tessita then went with Marilyn to Cotacachi to look at leather products because they’re less expensive than in the states. I think they bought at least one jacket, but I’m not sure. At night, we ate at Sisa, one of our favorite restaurants in town. On Friday and Saturday nights they have indigenous music groups performing, and we thought that Tessita y Danielito would enjoy hearing this often joyous music.
The day before they left, Marilyn took them to the huge Otavalo market and let them loose. They didn’t buy too much because of finances, but they had a wonderful time exploring.
For lunch, Isabel, Brayan, y Patricia (Isabel’s sister) joined us for tilapia at an open air restaurant across the road from Lago Yahuarcocha (Blood Lake). A famous battle between the Incas and local Caranquis is said to have spilled so much blood that the lake, as big as it is, was tinged red.
Brayan told us about a new attraction, called Botes Choqeuanda (Bumper Boats) that he was anxious to try, so we went there next. A small portion of the lake is roped off from the main body. The Bumper Boat consists of a platform surrounded by an inner tube-like structure. The platform consists of a seat and an outboard motor on a swivel. Once the motor is started, the driver guides the boat by turning the outboard motor on its swivel. They have seven of these Bumper Boats, so all of our crew (except Patricia and I) could participate at once. Looked like a blast! Just like Bumper Cars, except you could get wet.
Then we took Danielito y Tessita to La Estelita. La Estelita is a hotel and restaurant high on a mountain with spectacular views of Ibarra and Lago Yahuarcocha. Marilyn and I had decided to give Tessita y Danielito one night there - alone - as our wedding gift. But, of course, we couldn’t just drop them off and leave them in peace. We just had to have a dessert there. When I noticed Tessita y Danielito fading fast, I said,”¡Vamanos!” and we finally got out of their hair.
Tessita at La Estelita
After they ate their dinner later, they went back to their Honeymoon Suite to find rose petals strewn artfully across their bed. With that, and the views, Tessita y Danielito said it was a perfect way to spend the last night of their honeymoon.
I wasn’t feeling well the next day, so Marilyn went alone to pick them up at 11:00 am. Before getting home, they went to 1) a cultural museum in Ibarra, 2) Rosalie Suarez for the best sorbet you’ve ever had, 3) our veterinarian for some medicine for Canela, our dog, and 4) a grocery store. With those last two items, it sounds like Marilyn was trying to gradually transition Tessita y Danielito to “real” life!
We had a late lunch at the house when they returned. They rested and did some last minute packing. We ate a little more. Then we took them to the airport, an hour and a half drive. I was still not feeling up to par, but I was determined to say goodbye at the airport.
We received an email from Tessita y Danielito saying that their honeymoon was unforgettable (in the best sense of the term). It is our prayer that they continue to make many wonderful memories together.
¡Dios Les Bendigan!
Now, Terry and John, I’m calling you out. We know a wedding is in your future. We’ve already invited you to spend your honeymoon in Ecuador. We’ve added Honeymoon Planner to our resumés and gotten very good reviews. Coming?
Wow, it sounds really awesome, neat, fantastic, etc. Of course Marilyn invited them to your country. Ya know I can believe that Marilyn had an issue with the high priced roses. That is our girl:) So glad you went ziplining over yonder rather than in CA because you know if GLenn can do it then of course I have to do it too:) I am one big chicken, cluck, cluck.
Once again, a delightful description of your gracious hospitality. You are both special people. Blessings to you both and on the work you are doing. Cheers, Pat
It's 6:58pm on Saturday, April 16th. I'm reading on my computer at my desk in the office. Marilyn is working on her computer at her desk in the office. My desk starts to shake and my wheelchair starts shaking side to side as if I'm in a baby's rocking cradle. Only, my chair's not tilting, thank God. Marilyn's experiencing much the same. Marilyn looks at me and I look at her, both sets of eyes wide. The Nazca Tectonic Plate has just moved again, on its inexorable dive beneath the South American Tectonic Plate. We find out later that this causes a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
We run to the back door to get out of the house, but Marilyn has to get the keys from the bedroom because she's already locked up for the night. Just then, the lights go out.
While she's finding the keys in the dark, I'm sitting in the kitchen still swaying. I hear and see the back door rattling in its frame. This makes me keep my eye on the kitchen ceiling, watching for cracks. It seems a lifetime before she finds the keys to unlock the multiple locks on the back door.
Finally, the door is open and Marilyn and I waste no time in getting outside. Neither does Canela, our dog. I'm not sure if she wants to get out of perceived danger or simply join the chorus of barking neighborhood dogs. Later, we notice that she's jittery throughout the night, so we assume she got out because of her intelligence rather than her sociability. Isabel and Brayan are in Quito this weekend, so we're on our own.
We go down to the end of the driveway, past the house. We feel pretty safe here because the nearest part of the house is only one story tall. We are near a corner of our property, where two 6-8 ft. high cinder block walls meet. But we feel that, if any of these structures shows signs of collapsing, we'll have time and space to get out of the way.
By the time we've stood at the bottom of the driveway for a few seconds, the world seems stable again, the earth solid once more. Total elapsed time: FOREVER (about 4 minutes). For us, it's over, though that's definitely not the case 200 kilometers or so west of us. We wait a few minutes to see if there are any aftershocks (though we know they can occur at any time during the next few days or weeks) and then go back inside.
It's hard to find our portable sources of light, and then replace the dead batteries, but Marilyn manages. We also resort to a couple of candles on wide saucers.
Cesar, Isabel's brother, calls to check on us to see if we're okay and we really appreciate it. Neither Isabel nor Blanca can get through to check. Either cellular service between here and Quito is disrupted or call volume is too heavy. We will talk with them, as well as other friends, tomorrow and in the days following.
Marilyn takes a flashlight and does a walkthrough of the house looking for tell-tale signs of damage and doesn't find any. Neither did we see exterior cracks in the house when we were outside in the moonlight. We're thankful that the house appears to have been well-constructed.
After using our computers on battery power for an hour or so, we decide to go to bed. I briefly think about staying in my chair all night due to the possibility of aftershocks but quickly discard that idea. Logically, the aftershocks won't be as strong as the initial earthquake. Ergo, if the initial earthquake didn't cause any detectable damage to the house, we should be okay. When we wake during the night to relieve ourselves, the lights are back on. We'll be busy the next day assuring family and friends that we're okay.
This isn't our first rodeo, but we haven't been through this much shaking and swaying before. Almost surprisingly, neither of us are scared. That's because, after one about two years ago (which made the kitchen table come to life for about a minute), we have all talked about what to do. Of course, there is concern (hence, my watching the ceiling for cracks), but there is no panic. We're a little proud of ourselves actually - until we realize there are preparations that have yet to be made.
1. Hang a set of spare keys on wall near backdoor.
2. Only use one of the three key locks when we're home for rapid egress in case of earthquake or fire.
3. Check batteries, flashlights, and other portable light sources regularly.
4. Put together a "Grab 'N Go" kit containing clothes, medicines, important papers, a little money, and some food and water. Have it easily accessible. Check it regularly.
EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS
As you no doubt know by now, the earthquake of April 16th devastated the northern coast of Ecuador. The death toll is now well over 600 and the number of missing is well above that. There are thousands injured, 10,000 to 30,000 homeless. The coastal towns have been flattened, the highways rendered all but impassable, thousands of buildings are lost or damaged beyond repair, businesses stand shuttered or don't stand at all, thousands of people (both poor and well-off) are now unemployed. A reconstruction estimate I heard was three billion dollars. This at a time when Ecuador's economy is already in the doldrums due to low oil prices. Ecuador urgently needs help to get through this so it can continue its 8- or 9-year streak of lifting people out of poverty.
A week and a half before the earthquake struck, we had the good fortune to meet three people from Canada while we were in Baños. After visiting Otavalo, they went to the Galápagos Islands. One contacted us the day after the earthquake to check on us. He related that their alternative plan (if they couldn't get to the Galápagos) was to go to some coastal towns, including Canoa, which was reported as having been 90% destroyed. Some of their countrymen didn't have such a stroke of good fortune - they were found among the dead in collapsed hotels.
We were at the grocery store the Monday after the earthquake and ran into some casual acquaintances. They are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Otavalo and were buying supplies for a sister church on the coast. Friends of theirs had moved to the coast a month previously. The house they had moved to was destroyed. Fortunately, the congregation was at a service in the church, which did not fall down. So, most members do not have houses left but do have a place to shelter.
Blanca told me the other day about a dog being rescued from a building. When it was pulled out, it promptly returned to the rubble. As the rescuers were sort of scratching their heads, the dog reappeared carrying a cat (alive) in its mouth.
Isabel and Brayan, along with Patricia (Isabel's sister) were visiting a relative in a bar in downtown Quito. When the quake struck, Isabel thought she was dizzy from medicine she'd recently begun taking. She looked up, saw the lamps swaying, and they all ran outside. (She says it was the first time she's ever been in a discotheque - and the last.) It may have been worse outside because she looked up only to see surrounding highrises swaying and had no idea which way she'd go if they started to topple. Marilyn and I didn't have that problem to worry about.
There have been over 400 aftershocks thus far, a few of magnitude 6.0 or greater. Neither Marilyn nor I have felt any, though Isabel and Brayan have felt a few. More buildings keep falling down on the coast. These aftershocks communicate that the earth is finding a new equilibrium at the boundary between two tectonic plates. This equilibrium will then hold - until forces somewhere in the Pacific Ocean force the Nazca Plate to take another dive beneath the South American Plate.
These are only the stories I know personally. If I went to the coast, I could learn thousands more. Of course, there's no way I'd go. I'd just get in the way of the thousands of volunteers trying to help. I went to my dentist yesterday, who is a volunteer for Ecuador Red Cross (Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana). He's been organizing the Red Cross response from Imbabura, the province in which we live. He says that some volunteer groups are organized and others are very disorganized, mainly seeking publicity. I think that's probably the case the world over.
HOW TO HELP
Many people have asked how they can help, so I'm including some information here.
FEDICE will be using monies designated for earthquake relief from its donors in an effort to provide both short and longer term relief. We have already collected donations from the staff, bought supplies, and donated the supplies to the Municipality of Quito for proper distribution. But we're focused more on finding ways to help in the long term. You can donate through through these Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ organizations and/or programs:
I was probably wrong about the Nazca Tectonic Plate moving beneath the South American Plate, although that is the general motion. Instead, because there was no tsunami, the plates like "slipped by" each other at the boundary between them.
Thank you, Glenn, for sharing your experiences and suggestions for "next time". I thought about you and Marilyn when I heard the news about the quake, and thankfully I am now assured that you knew how to take care of yourselves and made good choices.
In Houston there are several areas where homes have been flooded by steady rain and overflow of bayous and dams; my house continues to be safe and dry. I do experience 2-3 inches of water that slide down my driveway into my garage instead of recognizing that the street drains are in the other direction. No problem really; my Minnesota snow shovel pushes the water in the correct direction after the rain stops, and my skills as a Girl Scout have me always prepared inside and outside my house for whatever Nature might encourage me to discover. Take care of each other! gg
It seems like these natural disasters always come in bunches. I've heard from many friends in Houston. They say, "Are you okay?" I reply, "Are you okay?" Glad to hear that your high and dry, and that gg is a good gs!
Yes, that was definitely one of the longest earthquakes I have ever been in, and I have been in quite a few (probably at least 20, the worst of which was the 8.5 earthquake in Mexico City in 1985, where at least 6,000 people died). So, I wasn't afraid either, but it certainly kept going on, and on, and on, and on....Lisa
I'm surprised there were no cracks! That is amazing given the construction materials.
I've since found a few more cracks in the house. But they, like in the bodega, appear to only be plaster deep. This house was built 19 years ago. Maybe they used better techniques, despite the construction materials. We do know of a preschool near Lago San Pablo that suffered damage. However, you probably don't remember where that is, since we didn't take you.
Regular readers will be happy to hear that my disability is improving. When we were in the process of buying a new car recently, the salesman told us that we could save an ungodly amount ($15,000 or so) in import tariffs and other taxes if I had a government issued card certifying that I was disabled. It's called the CONADIS card and it establishes my "disability bona fides", if you will. (I obviously look, talk, and move like anyone else and therefore certification is crucial. Just kidding, Ecuador). So, the very next day we went to a neurologist to start the process of getting that card.
He told me I had an 80% disability. I laughed because I had always thought of myself as being disabled. Period. 100%. Therefore, since it's now officially only 80%, I'm getting better. I'll be speaking clearly, using my hands, and walking in no time! I asked if 100% would mean that I were bedridden. The neurologist said, "No, it would mean that you had physical AND mental disabilities and, obviously, you don't have mental disabilities." Well, at least that's cleared up.
The card probably won't help with this car purchase (though a friend claims the law says I can get a refund), but it will help with the next car purchase, assuming there is a next car purchase in Ecuador. Meanwhile, I get a myriad of other perks, including refund of all the value added tax we pay instead of the upper-bounded amount of refunds we receive each month because we're over 65. I could also get discounts on most things from movie tickets, to Ecuadorean airlines, to a new car every five years.
Before going to the neurologist, we went to the Ministry of Public Health to find out what the process was. What the lady explained was pretty simple and straightforward. What we've encountered so for has been a mass of government red tape. Why did we think it would be as simple as the process the health worker described? Why? I guess we're just too optimistic.
Let me line out for you what has occurred so far. It can boggle the mind if you haven't had the pleasure of dealing with a thoroughly bureaucratic system before.
1. We went to the Ministry of Public Health in Ibarra to find out what to do. The woman we talked with said that, since IESS (Ecuador's Social Security) didn't have a neurologist in Imbabura, I could go to a neurologist in a private clinic and he could certify my disability. Then I could turn that certificate in to a certain doctor at the public hospital in Otavalo to get the process started. Sounds simple, but this is Ecuador.
2. On Feb. 6th, I got the certificate from a neurologist in Clinica Ibarra.
3. I can only apply to the correct doctor at Otavalo's public hospital on Fridays. So we got to the hospital at 8:00 am on Feb. 19th and waited.
4. First, Marilyn had to run out and make a copy of my cedula (which we really should have anticipated because, well this is Ecuador, where they need to use reams and reams of paper! A cedula is a national ID card.)
5. Only after Marilyn gets back with the copies do the doctor and assistant tell us (suurr-prise!) the government changed its procedures. He hands us a three-page form to take back to the neurologist to fill out, sign (not stamp - no, no, no), and also have signed by the director of the clinica. The doctor tells us plainly that the neurologist can either fill out the form he gave us (which was printed so lightly it looked like it was mimeographed) or find the form online and fill it out.
6. The neurologist lives and works in Quito and only works in Ibarra on Saturdays. So Isabel gets an another appointment for us the next day, Feb. 20th.
7. Isabel has to go Quito on Saturday, but we're competent enough to go to the neurologist by ourselves, especially since we were in his office two weeks earlier.
8. We explain the situation, and the neurologist resignedly shakes his head before muttering something about the government. When I see that, I know we'll become fast friends. He half-heartedly looks on the internet before deciding to fill out the form we brought. (We also have another copy with us, trying to anticipate problems, like the neurologist making a mistake while filling it out).
9. It's Saturday afternoon, so naturally the director of Clinica Ibarra isn't there to sign his John Hancock.
10. We go back Monday the 22nd to get the director's signature (or is it Tuesday?) Things are starting to run together at this point. Marilyn comes back to the car after about an hour, frustrated. She's got the signature, but the director doesn't know the RUC (tax ID) of the clinic. I say, "Well, why didn't he just call down to the business office and ask?" She decides to go to the business office herself and they politely stamp the RUC on the form.
11. We're back at the hospital at 8:15am on Friday, Feb. 27, with our filled out and double signed form. When we're finally called it's just the assistant, not the doctor also. I think this is his Power Trip Day, because I swear I can hear glee in his voice when he says, "¡Incompleto!" Besides that, he says the process has changed again just this past week. The forms now have to be filled out online! But, and get this, he also tells Isabel it will be okay if we can transfer the information we have to computer (basically recreate the form) and print it on Clinica Ibarra stationery! Huh? Which is the correct process? Online, or the paper form we have been working with?
12. Marilyn and I recreate the form and information and put it on a flash drive so the neurologist can print it on clinic stationery and sign it. I also research and write down the pertinent websites in case the neurologist wants to look at them.
13. We get another appointment with the neurologist on Saturday, Feb. 27th. Third Saturday this month. I ask him if he's getting tired of seeing us. He smiles and says, "No." I think he's being very polite. We also have to get the director's signature again. Today we're in luck because we're there on a Saturday morning instead of afternoon and he's working. All we have to do is wait about an hour until he finishes his rounds.
Ten to one says that our papers won't be accepted at our next (now weekly) Friday morning pilgrimage to the hospital. Will you take that bet? How much ya gonna put in my pocket? Come on now. Don't be stingy. I got tolls to pay 'tween here and Ibarra!
One disturbing thing is, after all of the efforts described above, my application hasn't even made it into the system. Who knows what awaits if that miraculously happens?
I was feeling pretty depressed about this when I started writing this post. The opportunity to find the humor (albeit ludicrous humor) as I was writing brought me out of that depression. Writing can be so therapeutic.
All the setbacks have also given me time for reflecting on the morality or propriety of taking advantage of the CONADIS card. Yes, Ecuadorean law says I'm entitled to all these discounts because I'm disabled, even though I'm a resident instead of an Ecuadorean citizen. And, yes, a savings of $15,000 on a car would be yuuuge (according to a yuuugely popular demogogue). But I can't stop thinking about two things. 1) The money I save is a direct cost to an economically struggling government and how much it can help it's people. 2) Fortunately, I can afford to buy a new car every four or five years without that discount.
This situation is an example where I think entitlements can have adverse or unintended effects, and the reason I'm cautious whenever I hear that term bandied about. It would help if the government had a means to test in this case, though I can't begin to imagine what a nightmare ball of red tape that would be.
It would also help my dilemma if I thought the government was really corrupt, but I think it's run pretty responsibly. For sure, I don't agree with a lot of what the Ecuadorean government does, but neither do I agree with everything the U.S. government does.
So, if I decided to drop my quest for a card establishing my "disability bona fides," would I be leaving money on the table? It depends on my point of view, my priorities, and my moral values. I'm leaning towards continuing the process simply because a bunch of people have put so much effort into it but, at the moment, I honestly don't know what I'll end up doing.
I almost laughed out loud. Apparently Governmental "red tape" is world-wide. I'm sorry to find out you are disabled physically as you certainly are NOT mentally disabled--Ha!! Good thoughts to both of you. Enjoy your writings so much!!!
Paperwork delays are not just in Equador, but it is here in the Philippines also. In fact, thinking about it, the U.S. is bad in that area too. Even if you don't need to save the money, save it and use it in your mission which does go directly to the people that need it.
I know, but it's so much fun to bitch. Glad to hear from you, Greg, and know that you're doing okay in Indonesia.
We take the refund of VAT taxes we pay because we're over 65. We split it between FEDICE and Isabel, though the government hasn't paid in four months due to low oil prices. One of the options I had thought about was doing the same with refunds on new cars. Everyone involved would really get a boost!
Today Marilyn said, "Happy Birthday," when I woke up. "Oh, yeah," I said. "It is my birthday." That may not have been as polite as saying, "Oh, thank you!" But, whatcha gonna do when your brain is not fully engaged yet?
67. Who woulda thunk it? I remember being somewhere between 10 and 12 and thinking that I would be 50 when our calendars turned to the year 2000. It didn't matter that I would turn 51 just 16 days later. With a child's enthusiasm for math, I liked the fact that 50 and 2000 were both nice, round numbers, one divisible by the other with none of those pesky remainders.
But 67? Who woulda thunk it? I only vaguely thought of 67 when I turned 66. It is the next sequential whole number, after all. I can no longer get my kicks on Route 66. That joke may be obscure to some of my younger friends (and to my wife from CA, who finds my sense of humor alien).
So, why do I feel like 45 or 50? (If not for decreasing physical capabilities after age 50, I'd still feel like I was 30.) It's not that I'm a person who tries to erect a levee to hold back the hundred year flood (of age). I know I'm going to die one day and accept it. It might even be today, at exactly 67 years of age. Or maybe it won't be until I'm 100 and the year turns 2050. Two more round numbers, though not as beautifully symmetrical as 50 and 2000.
Of course, one reason I still feel like 50, or 40, or 30 is that I'm still in good overall health. Another reason is that I've had a wonderful partner for the past 31+ years. Then there's the fact that I live in Ecuador, where enjoying life in the present is more important then anticipating the next big milestone (job, love, trip, etc.) - a lot like New Orleans was when I grew up. My friends and family are a joy to be around. I'm friends with people who are my age and older, as well as many who are younger, often substantially younger. This forces my mind to be more elastic. Come to think of it, though, if I have Alzheimers, I don't know it. (Maybe I should start putting that last sentence on the tag line of my emails.) I've had a great job, which allowed me to retire at age 55. I still travel a good bit, adding to a treasure trove of memories and experiences. I still look forward to tomorrows.
Unlike Ponce de Leon, or whoever it was searching, searching, searching for immortality, I've found the Fountain of Youth. I know that's true when I read the above paragraph.
My birthday fell on a Saturday this year - a perfect day to have a party. I've had some great birthday parties in Ecuador, but this year I wanted to skip it. Imagine that. A New Orleans boy bypassing a party. Stranger things have happened. But, I did want Marilyn to bake me a cake. She makes good cakes, even at an altitude of 8,400 ft. And, I can custom order what I want (yellow cake with orange and lemon, with a coconut frosting this year). We also had a special breakfast including sticky cinnamon rolls and Yummy Eggs this morning. If you don't know what Yummy Eggs are and want to try them, you'll have to come to Otavalo, Ecuador (even though it's a recipe from Marilyn's childhood). To top things off, the new blinds I ordered for the office were installed today and are wonderful. Also wonderful are the LSU shirt Marilyn gave me and the box of bonbons our Ecuadorean family gave me. Party? I don't need no birthday party to be happy. Maybe next year.
Oh! And there are two NFL playoff games today. The only way the day could get better would be for my pathetic but beloved New Orleans Saints to be in one. And then win it! But, like I said, maybe next year.
Yesterday, the idea of writing a blog post about turning 67 was not born, hatched, conceived. It was born and grew (to maturity?) only when Marilyn wished me a happy birthday this morning, before I had any inkling that I was officially another year older. You have her to thank for this blog post, or not.
So, here's to being 67 years old! It may be memorable only for this blog post, but it's a definite fact of (my) life. Now, where's my glass of wine?
Happy Birthday! Sounds like life is going really well. Please tell Marilyn "hello" from us. We love Colorado; family, the mountains, four seasons, great schools and lots to always do! Take care!
Hello Glenn and Marilyn and Happy Birthday to you Glenn! I love reading your posts, hearing the Good News, and seeing pics of you and your friends. You are blessed! Would you believe Jasmine & Jamal are about to turn 16!!!! Much love and prayers for you both!
You are so right! Our mind still thinks we are 30 or 40! Here I am 70, galavanting around like I was still a kid! Love my job!, love my great health!, not sure I love getting older, but it`s better than the alternative....
Happy Birthday, Glenn! My next birthday party will be June 2020 -- I only celebrate decades and June 11, 2020 will be my second gala to raise funds for Project Row Houses (historic African American community in the Third Ward of Houston). I'll be 80 in 2020; I'm still very healthy and dance 4-5 times a week to live music by zydeco bands. Most of the band members and the dancing Creoles were born in Louisiana and are part of the diversity of Houston that I enjoy every day. I expect to be dancing at my gala in 2040, Glenn, and you and Marilyn are welcome to attend! gg
HAPPY BIRTHDAY--and may you have many more!! What a great picture of you. You are as young as you feel, so that gives us lots of leeway in our life journey. Maybe the Saints and the Dallas Cowboys will have a playoff game next year! YAY!
Saints & Cowboys? You're more of a dreamer than I am! I used to be feel confident saying I couldn't die until the Saints won the SB. After SB XLIV, I changed my tune. Now I say I can't die until the Saints win 5 SBs. That ought to keep me kickin' for a while longer.
Hey, I remember yummie eggs! Doris would fix them when I had breakfast at Marilyn's house when we were teenie boppers. Hey I am still 66 for 6 more months. My gosh seems like only yesterday Marilyn and I would walk to and home from school. Time does indeed fly! What kind of car did you end up getting?