Life Lessons

I'm no stranger to Death. I have had to deal with the Grim Reaper on all too many occasions. I watched my older brother drink and eat himself to death before the age of 35 when I was in my 20's. I lost my first wife of 25 years to cancer. More recently, Rita lost a brother, my mother passed this last Thanksgiving season, and there have been at least four in-laws and acquaintances who have left this earth in...

Read more

Ten years ago today on May 3rd, 2009, my life changed. Not that I was aware of it at the time. In fact, I was not aware of much of anything. Mostly I was in a kind of an emotional limbo. My wife of 25 years had finally succumbed to a battle with breast cancer just five months earlier, and although I appeared to be functioning in public, I was still in the last stages of what I came to...

Read more

Since I made the decision to resign as International Living's Ecuador Coastal Correspondent back in March, I've been ramping up the attempts to find more freelance work. I'm still writing articles for IL's magazines and website about places we have lived and visited - in fact, look for a Feature Article I co-authored due out in the May issue - but I'm looking to broaden my subject matter when it comes to writing. I'm now officially a "freelance writer". What...

Read more

We are about to leave Knoxville, Tennessee to return to our home in Ecuador, and this time it is a little bitter-sweet. You see, the sun may be setting on our Ecuador adventure. We have our oceanfront condo on the market now, and if all goes well, we hope to have a buyer before the high-season is over. Salinas, Ecuador It is not that we don't love it in Ecuador. In fact, after living there for five years we love...

Read more

Once you have made the decision to move to a foreign country, the next thing most people start to think about is “what should I bring with me?” This is an important question, but like most decisions when it comes to moving abroad, the answer is different for different people. When we decided to move to Ecuador, my wife and I shipped a 20-foot container. But I know several expats who brought only a couple of suitcases and are just...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more