Sunday, July 31, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Our lot is basically 120’ X 240’ with the back half or almost 2/3 on a 30 degree upward slope and basically unusable but is in effect, our own wildlife sanctuary. As well, there is a 100’ long driveway down to the “Old Island Highway”. This driveway actually extends across the highway to the waterfront, giving us ownership of 16’ of waterfront. This is really good for nothing but it prevents any development across the highway which would block any view we have.
The slope at the back is home to an eagle nest and a pair of deer. These are the deer who used to feast on Norma’s flower garden before the electric fence went up. I don’t know where they go to eat now but they have had to change restaurants! There are also some raccoons and a wild cat. At least there was a wild cat but I think he tried to take on one of the raccoons one night and I have not seen him since. This suits me fine because he sprayed the inside of my workshop earlier this year and I had to buy some very expensive deodorizer to make the shop inhabitable again.
When we bought the place in 1989 there were two very small lots on either side of our driveway. One was vacant and the other had a very low profile house on it. Our view was unobstructed. The empty lot was for sale but they wanted more than we could afford after having just bought our house and I really did not think it was large enough to build a house on anyway. The other house was owned by a local pilot as a rental property. The owners put it on the market many years ago and I made an offer that was not accepted. I was not too concerned about this one anyway because it was quite a bit below our house and did not affect the view at all.
Well. over the years the empty lot sold and a house went up. They found a way around the city height restriction by bringing in a bunch of fill before measuring the height and our view suffered. The other lot and house also sold and the owners did the same thing! What was a full front window view is now interrupted by two houses in front. We still have a view, but not like we had.
I was one of the early members and the site is growing rapidly. It seems, so far at least, to give an honest look at RVing in Mexico without the alarmist tactics of the USA media. Have a look and join up if you think you like it.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We know a Mexican who lives south of Mexico City who is very well off. He was telling me that even with his preferred interest rate he still pays almost 30% on his Visa card. This was when I was paying 6.5% on my card. Neither of of us ever lets the balance go unpaid after the due date but those are the rates we would each pay if we did.
The other consideration is that these people would probably find it impossible to get a loan from any other source. All the loans I have made have been paid off quickly, usually in three or four months in order to limit these interest payments. So yes, I am concerned but considering all of the above, I still feel Kiva is a worthwhile effort.
For an opinion from the field, read here.
Yesterday Norma took the girls shopping so I used the time to finish staining the benches. They look pretty good if I must say so myself! They are very heavy and it takes three people to lift them so they will not be moving very often but that also means they will not be walking down the driveway either.
Today is Norma's birthday so we will be able to sit around a fire tonight. Our neighbour Pauline and the girls baked a cake for Norma yesterday which we all enjoyed last night after a feed of fish and chips down on the dock. It was a very pleasant evening.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Here is the La Siesta RV Park in San Miguel de Allende that was recently closed to make room for Sam's Club. This was the only RV park in SMA that was accessible to rigs larger than 26 feet. I think this will work well. You can zoom in and out.
View Larger Map
Monday, July 25, 2011
Our granddaughter Sierrah and her friend Courtenay, the granddaughter of our neighbour, Pauline started staining them today while Norma and I built two coffee tables out of leftovers.
Brooks also got me a great deal on a sliding compound mitre saw to replace the one that finally packed it in after cutting about 2000 square feet of flooring and completing many other projects. This one is bigger, heavier and has more bells and whistles than the old one and just may last as long as I do!
Thanks Brooks and LindaLee! And thanks Sierrah and Courtenay for the staining! Now we are all picking slivers out of our hands...
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tickets were required but were available free for the asking at most businesses. The majority of people stood, but there was preferential seating for the disabled and for youngsters who had demonstrated outstanding academic or sporting prowess. Teachers and coaches were previously invited to nominate students for the treat. 150,000 tickets were handed out! There were no riots, no looting, no fires lit. Why? Mérida is civilized!
"Good evening, Mérida! Tonight is yours!"
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
"Here Honey, I found the perfect stick to repair that hole!" "Oh darn, I dropped it! That's what I get for talking and flying at the same time." "It's OK, I will get another one!"
Monday, July 18, 2011
We then got five windows and the front door of the suite in and trimmed and siding put up on one side of the building by dinnertime Sunday night. A job well done but my trick ankle was really raising hell last night. Working on a ladder is just about the worse thing for it and that is just about all we were doing for a day and a half! I have to remember I am not 65 anymore! This morning we headed home while Brooks and Linda headed into town to put the finishing touches and pick up cheques on two paying projects.
They are keeping their fingers crossed on a new job they bid involving new fences around all the hospitals on Northern Vancouver Island. If they get it it will mean having to hire a second crew, rent a truck and have them spend six months on the road staying in hotels. He has mixed feelings because he has not had great luck sending a crew out to work without close supervision. Not enough work gets accomplished and projects always take much longer than he and Linda could do them, affecting the profit margin! They cannot go themselves because they have to run the main part of the business in Victoria in order to keep their regular customers satisfied so they are trying to figure something out. The two of them seem to have the "Midas Touch" so it will work out.
Here is the workshop / rental suite this morning as we left. The blank space at the top right is the bathroom and they have decided to add another window to it for aesthetics, It will be over the sink. One window at the rear living room goes from a foot above the floor all the way to the ceiling and gives a beautiful view of the forest behind the building. They have no close neighbours and the site is very isolated.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Mary is a 38 year old woman in Cusco, Peru. She has four children who she is supporting by operating a tiny grocery store out of her house. She sells the basics plus snacks and cookies. Her store is open from 6:00am until 10:00pm (that is a 16 hour day)! The loan is to purchase more stock for her store so she can increase profits.
I have added a "clicky" to the Kiva ad on the right hand side of this page. Clicking it will take you to a registration page. If you want to sign up to help some of these folks, this is a good place to do it. I will get credit for bringing in a new member which gives me nothing except bragging rights. Here is Mary with the rest of her Kiva Group:
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
- Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
Expediency asks the question - is it political?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.
- Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Several of you have asked if we are heading back to Mexico this winter. Well, that is the plan. We are assuming we are going to Mexico and unless things really change down there, that is what we shall be doing. There is no doubt that Mexico has it's problems but it is also clear that these problems are being overblown by the media. Once you eliminate all the deaths of those involved in the drug trade and those fighting these people, Mexico is safer than the USA. We have learned the tricks to stay out of trouble both in Mexico and anywhere else.
We always cross the border early in the day while the bad guys are still in bed and drive south until we need gas. We are now in relatively safe territory and the further south we get, the safer it is! Other rules we follow are to stay off the streets at night and to always be aware of our surroundings. Our US retired military friend "Belgique" calls this, "Situational Awareness" We do not hang out in late night bars and have nothing to do with drugs or with those who do. We do not flash money around and always smile at and greet our Mexican hosts and treat them with respect. We have never had a problem and do not expect one. There is always the off chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time but by following our rules we keep the risk at an acceptable level. These risks exist wherever you go and being overly cautious of them does nothing but keep you at home! Not for us! Viva Mexico!
EDIT: If you want to read an article on the safety factor in Mexico, My friend John Calypso sent me this: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/04/20/mexico_mix_safe_travel.DTL
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The comments section in the last post is interesting with all but one poster in support. The lone dissenter quotes Mother Theressa on her own Blog so I can see where she is coming from. Even so, I do not think Mother Theressa, if she were still alive, would condone this kind of blatant discrimination.
I deleted one supporting comment simply because it quoted a letter on the Internet that made the rounds some time ago and was too long for inclusion here. If you are interested, it can be read here. Sorry anonymous, it was simply too long.
Monday, July 11, 2011
It is not a big deal here in Canada where same sex marriage has been allowed nationwide since 2005. When Canada joined this "Club Of Tolerance" only four other countries had this enlightened legislation. This club now includes Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden as well as the Federal District (DF) of Mexico.
This is the new Human Rights battleground! I can't understand why so many remain opposed. Even Obama is dragging his feet on the issue, saying his position is "evolving". Well, as the t-shirts say, "Evolve Already!".
The Catholic Church is opposed.... I'm not sure why. The Old Testament is not big on it but the Old Testament also OK's selling our daughters into slavery, tells us it is a sin to get a tattoo, that we are not allowed to wear clothes of two different fabrics, plant different crops in the same field, cut our sideburns or trim our beard. There is also the Old Testament demands that we stone to death women who are raped in the city and children who curse or strike their parents.
There are also the people who are not allowed into a church. These include women "immediately after giving birth, and for thirty-three days thereafter, a woman is unclean, and shall not be allowed in church. Anyone with a blemish, or who is "lame," or who has a "flat nose, anything superflous, crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eyes, or be scurvy" shall not be permitted to partake of church rituals."
These are all rules imposed on you by your Bible so if you follow all the rest of them, then you can come talk to me about same sex marriage! Until then, come up with a reason that makes at least a little sense!
End of rant...
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
He met his demise while attempting (and failing) to swim under Niagra Falls, a feat many observers considered suicidal. They were correct!
The other day I Googled him and found a reference to the Find a Grave site where someone had posted a photo of his grave. Alongside the photo were comments left by visitors to the site. One entry caught my attention as it said the poster was a direct relative to Matthew Webb. It was a woman who lived in Norman, Oklahoma and she left an email address. Here is an unknown relative of mine! I emailed her and after a lengthy exchange of emails we ended up talking on the phone.
One of my nephews had previously made an attempt to trace the family tree as it applied to Capt. Webb but reached a dead end when he read that Webb had no children. The woman from Oklahoma refuted this, saying her mother had done the same search and had found several offspring in various areas of the USA.
This woman is most likely a cousin of some sort and it was great talking to someone from that side of my family.
Captain Webb's image was featured on a box of Bryant and May matches and is said to be the inspiration for the character of Inspector Clouseau, portrayed originally in the Pink Panther movies by Peter Sellers.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Today Norma came in from the garden and told me she got a shock! She reached through the fence and touched her arm on the wire. ZAP!!! She pulled her arm back and hit it again. ZAP!!! She said it was "not that bad". I told her she was now the official electric fence tester!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
As carts were loaded, the kids stared at each item that went in, knowing that it was theirs and would mean food on the table every day and an end to the starving and begging cycle. All six kids got brand new shoes for the first time in their lives! Leah reports the kids were very well behaved but it was as if they were in Disneyland! They also stocked up on school supplies. Yes, they will be going to school now!
Leah also reports that medically, the three girls will be fine but the physiological damage caused by being sold by their own mother as "party favors" will take a long time to overcome.
Leah tells me that there was a noticeable influx of small donations after that post and that many small donations add up quickly but let's not stop here, it is a new month and we can all do without another Starbucks or a breakfast out to help this family. They still have a long way to go. The father, a mason who loves to build and wants to work is currently unemployed and the mother helps out by making antojitos (small snacks) and other yummy homemade stuff which she sells from their house and on the street. However, times are tough in Xico and income is hard to come by. It is a bump in the road we can help them get over. Thanks.
Here are a couple of photos from the Sam's Club shopping trip:
"Help me tie my new shoes please!"
"I am hanging onto this until we get home!"
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Last night Norma noticed a deer laying on the back lawn of the condo next door and looking in our direction. She called me to look and told me the deer was waiting for us to go to bed before it tried to sneak in and eat her flowers. She checked on it a couple more times and tried to get me interested but by then I have to admit I had her kind of tuned out. I was afraid she was turning into the "Crazy Deer Lady" and ignoring her was the best course! As I went to bed I did look and the deer was still there, watching the bedroom window.
We watched TV for an hour and turned out the light. All was nice and quiet for about a half hour and then there was a high pitched scream and some thrashing around right outside the bedroom window! The damn deer HAD been watching us and had tried to get through the electric fence after the light went out! She did not make it...
I guess Norma is not the "Crazy Deer Lady" after all. Sometimes life is like a Monty Python skit.
A local electronics dealer, Madman McKay, is selling the older PVR's for $199 (half of their original price) so I went down and bought one for the motorhome. It will be nice to be able to record programs in the winter and to be able to receive the high definition programs as well. I will have to run an additional cable to it from the Utilities bay on the motorhome but that just involves drilling a hole through the floor in the bedroom. Easy! Life is Good!
Friday, July 1, 2011
For my American friends, Canadian football is similar to the US variety and many of our players come from the US. The big differences is we have only three downs and there is no "fair catch" rule. Many a US import player is stunned when they signal for a fair catch and immediately get clobbered the instant they touch the ball. They learn quick! We play tough up North. For our guys, the raised hand before the catch means, "Here I am! Come and nail me!"