Life Lessons

I would like to get some input from the readers of my blog on something. As some of you know, I have been working for some time now on a book framed around our decision to hike the Inca Trail, and our preparations for the journey. For me, most of the preparation revolved around losing enough weight to go from the morbidly obese category down to merely fat. That is only the framework, however. The heart of the book is...

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There's a moment of clarity, just before you begin, when you think calmly to yourself, "Why am I doing this?" Then the calm is shattered by sheer terror as you are flung out over the abyss. Now your brain is screaming "WHY AM I DOING THIS?!" This was my experience with the "Casa del Arbol" in Baños, Ecuador. Sometimes called "the Swing at the End of the World", this site was made famous by a 2014 photo taken for a...

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I am an American. I was born in Annapolis Maryland, one of the oldest cities in the nation. I've lived and worked in her small towns, her big cities, and some of her beautiful rural lands. We own property in America, pay taxes, and are registered voters. I did tech support in the US Senate, where I shared an elevator and chatted with Ted Kennedy, helped Susan Collins with her Blackberry, talked with John McCain about his break with Jon...

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Today I celebrate my second fifth wedding anniversary, by which I mean the fifth year of my second marriage. It seems a good time to reflect on a few things, and I've been trying to sort out and identify my feelings about "the institution of marriage". We hear a lot that the "institution" is threatened by the behavior or actions of one group or another; whether it is the LBGTQ community and same-sex couples, or hetero couples that change spouses...

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I saw an interesting post on Facebook over the weekend. Someone asked if anyone had seen the movie "The Shape of Water" and liked it. OP apparently did not like it at all, and wanted anyone who did enjoy the movie to explain why. I almost commented - in fact, I did post something, but within seconds I had reconsidered and deleted it. After all, at its heart, this post was a futile request. When it comes to art, you...

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We have been spending time each day now preparing for our written Ecuador citizenship tests that we will have to take later this year. This involves working on our Spanish, in addition to trying to cram some information into our old, tired brains. As I struggle to try and memorize the names of Ecuadorian Presidents and their accomplishments, the provinces and their capitals, major geographic features, dates of holidays, and random cultural facts, I find myself thinking about both the...

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I've got some good personal news to report, and another important milestone in our quest to prepare to hike the Inca Trail - now just 53 days away. As I was able to announce to the attendees at International Living's Quito conference, "Hooray - I'm Fat!" Constant Readers among you may remember that back on October 11 of 2016, I was able to announce that I had cracked the 35 BMI barrier, and was then considered "obese" rather than "morbidly...

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At the risk of sounding like saps or even worse, fuddy-duddies, we have always tried to follow the correct paperwork procedures in each step of our lives overseas. When we applied for Visas, we collected all of the documents according to the Consular website and our Ecuadorian attorney's advice, and took no shortcuts or "money-saving" steps. Maybe it is just coincidence that our Visas were ready for pickup at the DC Consulate's office three weeks after filing, but I think...

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I've been thinking a lot lately about women's rights issues. It is not an easy thing to do for a person of the male persuasion, much like how a white person who grew up in a middle-class suburb really cannot understand completely what is it like to grow up black in a ghetto. But with all the things going on politically in the US that seem detrimental to women specifically, you can't help but wonder exactly what is going on with...

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Happy Anniversary to me and Rita! It as 8 years ago today (May 3rd) that we had our first date. Although to be honest, I did not know it was a date at the time. Let me explain. I got married in December of 1983 to Carolyn, and we had two children. We had a happy marriage, which ended in December of 2008, just a few days short of our 25th wedding anniversary, when she died of complications arising from breast...

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