Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Life Lately


  • The donation I made to a family in Cambodia back in Feb has finally been totally fulfilled.  I'm still getting used to the cycle of life there and differences in time perception.  Just received the pictures and am pleased with the results -- Turned out better than I imagined.  Hoping there will be an opportunity to meet up with them when I get to return.
  • I'm feeling somewhat lost with what I want to accomplish next year.  Seriously drawing a blank.  Have been trying out various ideas mentally, waiting for some emotional response and have been receiving just lukewarm ones, which isn't good enough.  Maybe I just need to stop trying so hard and trust that it will come.  Continue to think too far into the future is going to wreck my summer.
  • The 2015 dates I've submitted to the potential volunteer placement I mentioned earlier have not been accepted.  Found another opportunity recently with a much smaller organization, less organized who wasn't able to confirm dates until 4 - 6 months out.  That has been difficult for me as I plan a year plus in advance.  Taking a chunk of time off without pay, alone, requires planning, not to mention working around all the other stuff I tend to want to do in a year.
  • D has started interviewing with outside companies, mainly ones that are smaller who offer more direct control, impact and (hopefully) flexibility -- Though he will have to work even harder.  Those types of companies won't be able to offer any defined benefit pension plans but base salary will be higher, not enough to totally off set it but he is OK with that.  I'm OK with it because I've had enough of the negativity.  And financially we will be fine. 
  • In previous years, I have been quite frustrated at the number of changes D seems to make with respect to his work as I interpreted parts of it as an inability to stick with something for the long term along with being a bit of a "work divo".  Maybe I was just lucky that I picked the right field?  Since returning from a number of developing countries, I see it now as how fortunate he is to have the freedom to be able to exercise his options with no real dire consequences.
  • It looks like I will have to temporarily move to a new office location for  3 - 5 months in order to allow for the extensive renovation that the new owners have planned to be executed.  Originally, they said it could be done around us but now it has been determined it would be easier and quicker if we weren't there.  The roller coaster ride continues.  Nothing I cannot manage.  In the big scheme of things, not really even a blip.
  • Got to test out the antibiotics I got from my great new travel Dr on my last trip.  They worked the best out of what everyone else I met (who didn't see one) were taking -- One dose vs 10 days. And taking less specific antibiotics contributes to the larger problem of development of bacterial resistance. 
  • So much for "toning things down" this year travel wise.  Decided that it made sense to move up a short trip slotted for next year to this fall, before Delta's new Skymiles rules change over in Jan '15.  I'm covering a lot of ground this year.
  • On a related note, decided to try Airbnb, to great disappointment.  Signed on and reserved an apartment (have to pay in full) with no issues.  But 2 weeks later, was locked out of my account and forced to go through their "Verify ID" initiative which demands the upload of my drivers license and passport in order to have access again.  Therefore I had no way to even cancel or email my host.  Quite the "Charlie Foxtrot" as they say in aviation lingo.  I did not divulge my information and subsequently called their help desk to sort it out.  They had no idea I was locked out of everything...
  • I hoped to have had short hair for Morocco but there were just enough long layers in it to prevent a solid 8 inches from being cut and donated in time.  Upon closer inspection, I may have to trim it a few time and allow it to all grow to one length before proceeding.  That may mean donation won't be happening until next year.
  • Been gradually changing over personal use products (toothpaste etc.) over to natural sources.  Once you switch, it is scary just how harsh the products I used to use come across now.  Cannot believe I brushed with Colgate and Crest for so many years!  It's "Tom's of Maine" for us now.
  • Have had to replace the fridge at the cottage.  The original one that came with it was old when we bought the place 11 years ago.  It has been dying a slow death so we felt it was smarter to replace it before we lost food.  We went with a very basic model for about $670 taxes in, delivered and old one removed.
  • Starting to look at replacement cars for D, just for research purposes as we had time and happened to be right there.  We are going to stick with Subaru.  No decisions needed for hopefully another 4 years for D.  Test drove about 7 vehicles and decided that the larger engine is definitely the way to go for us.  Learned that if you buy an older Outback model (2008), it will need premium gas whereas a 2010 one, won't.  Also found out that the trade in value on D's car (2004) isn't enough to tempt us to do anything anytime soon.
  • Considering taking a year off of heavy research and traveling.  Think it would be good for me to step away as I've gotten into a heavy pattern in the last 4 years.  Could I actually follow through with it?  Kind of makes me nervous just thinking about it which makes me believe it would be a good thing.  Might ease into it with a reduction year first.  The money part is easy -- To the bank.  The slightly irrational part is, what am I going to do with all that time??? 
  • We finally mastered making homemade broth, from, of all things -- Turkey necks.  Cannot begin to recount how much money and time we've spent on various types of bones etc. and ended up with just watery uninspiring stuff.  Was in line at a local farmer's market and the lady in front of me started telling me how she learned to use every part of the animal in her home country and even though she could make broth with anything she wanted now, she still chooses turkey necks.   And having tried what feels like everything under the sun, we would have to agree. 
  • Need to update our wills.  Not sure if a whole re-write is in order or a codicil will suffice. 
  • Met up with my friend who had asked if I'd be willing to co-administer the trust for their children.  They have a lot of work to do before I can say yes or no as their knowledge of the whole process is too basic to be able to make strong decisions about their estate.  
  • I am trying to get a chimney/fireplace contractor to the house to take a look at our chimney as we've been hearing dripping noises when it rains moderate - heavy.  No damage is occurring (that we know of) other than signs of dampness in the actual inside of the fireplace.  It was an old ornamental coal burning fireplace, not the steel insert ones (like Vermont Castings) we have available nowadays.  The chimney was rebuild when we moved in along with a custom made stainless steel liner and cap.   It's a cosy atmospheric thing but not something that can be used to heat our entire house.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Completed


This picture doesn't look real.
Think it has something to do with the heat.

Sand Storm!
Had my head covered, with sunglasses but that still wasn't enough.

Arrived!

My ride.  He was so gentle.
The camel has superseded the donkey as my favorite animal.

I cannot even begin to describe the quality of the silence.
It was stunningly peaceful.



Goats...

...In Trees...extremely thorny Argan Trees

Shepherd of all those goats

So nice to spend time by the coast

Fishing port

The smell...






Women's cooperative Argan oil.
When I learned about how small the nut was and
how much work went into extracting the oil,
understood why my small bottle in Canada would cost $45.


Missing all the noise and hustle and bustle



Animal market


Could not get over how trucks are loaded.
Scary on the highways.

God, Nation, King

Hurray to all those who guessed Morocco!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Continued Contrasts









Tombs

Look Up

Stork's nest

Getting completely lost





Serene morning view from hotel balcony

Random highway stop







Young Shepherd


Communal water


Cool mail boxes

Serious shopping cart