La Iguana Perdida, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala – R and R or Social Epi-Centre?

Arriving at La Iguana Perdida, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Arriving at La Iguana Perdida, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

This little village of Santa Cruz de la Largo Atitlan is a stew of Mayan Indians, ex-pats and travellers resulting in a unique little dish. Some say the lake is a vortex energy field similar to the pyramids and Machu Picchu, attracting people from all over the globe. I don’t know about that but my body used  it as an excuse to rest, even if it made me sick.

Nesting on the balconyFor most of my visit to La Iguana Perdida I dealt with a cold keeping me mostly stuck in a nest on my balcony made up of two chairs, a quilt, pillows and kindle books on my Air. Hours were spent reading vampire love stories, writing and staring at the water and the volcanoes. I continued to read long after dark, occasionally closing the lid so I could stare at the stars. As I let go of all my expectations for this trip it got easier.

I had thought that it would be in the vein of a retreat, all quiet and lacking in any kind of sensory overload. There would be few people and adventures to distract me. I would sink into myself, do yoga, meditate and maybe explore really writing for long periods of time. Yeah, right.

Sunset from my balcony

Sunset from my balcony

What I had instead was a large lovely room on the second floor with a balcony offering a stunning view of the volcanos and the lake. Good so far, right? Yeah, well this picture perfect space was right behind the kitchen and bar/restaurant and up from the public docks. The kitchen started chopping, rattling, chattering and crashing from about 7 am till 8 pm.

All day long the hawkers on the dock yelled  “PANA! PANA! PANA!”, to let you know that the boat to Panajachel had arrived. Panajachel was the main town on the lake and is the landing point for shuttles around Guatemala to spit out hordes of travellers who then take one of the multitude of boats that daily criss-cross the lake from dawn till dusk, going from community to community.

The busy docks.

The busy docks.

The dock was also the converging point of the fleet of tuk tuks who were responsible for moving people up and down the mountain to the village, so there are always a gang of young men hangn’ with their hommies. And, oddly enough, there were a few car taxis whose car alarms occasionally go off. It is odd because there are no roads to Santa Cruz so I didn’t expect cars, let alone car alarms. Go figure.

La Iguana Perdida is a very social scene. Very social. That meant from 8 am, when the restaurant opened there were people eating, milling and chattering. It meant at 7 pm there is a communal dinner with music and more chattering and such. Sometimes after dinner there was jamming with instruments and voices, which has been known to tumble outside. The old Iguana next door is now used as a lounge with over stuffed couches, hammocks, pool table and a stereo. Yeah, a stereo. And you know what young people do with stereos? Play them loud… at night. The worst night was when I was treated to a 3 hour heavy metal ordeal, cranked. I loath heavy metal, I really do. It is akin to jamming a screwdriver into my head over and over again. I had all the windows, the balcony door and curtains closed, ear plugs in and a pillow wrapped around my head before I could dull it enough for sleep.

Another night the lounge lizards decided to yell their conversation. They didn’t sound angry, it was just regular chatting at a high decibel. Finally they stopped and sighing, I started to slip into sleep. Then my neighbour and her pick up for the night came stumbling up the stairs. NO NO NO… but yes, apparently the yelling was foreplay. Treated to the lovely sounds of OTHER people having sex for over an hour is not the best way to sleep. Please note: if you choose one of the deluxe rooms, be aware that the walls are actually paper maché. Making the experience even more special? Girlfriend was a squeaker, through the whole thing, over and over again. It was like having a Golden Retriever next door with a big squeaky toy going at it for an hour+. All I could do was lay there and laugh. The icing on the cake of  mirth was  we left Santa Cruz together. I don’t think she knew I was her neighbor or that I had audio witnessed her fun and games. As we chatted, waiting for the Antigua shuttle, I tried hard not to hear ” squeak squeak  squeak squeak  squeak squeak .…” in the background.

Dive shop.

Dive shop.

The ex-pat community also uses this place as their social centre and people from other hotels also joined us for dinner. I quickly realized there is no sense in skipping dinner as it only means that I have to listen to it with none of the fun stuff, including awesome food. There was always a vegetarian option as well as a carne version and from watching people lick their plates clean, I think meals were a 2 thumbs up. 2 thumbs upAn odd thing  happened with me and the whole dinner experience. I am shy, truly. I dread being put in a group social situation. I travel alone so I am usually the odd woman out. But I accepted the inevitability of just doing it and getting it over with and somehow I ended up enjoying it. The scene was not couple focused even though, of course, there were couples, they weren’t those kind of couples. And there is a trend of friends  travelling together. Somehow I slipped into the small spaces that were created and connected to some really awesome people.

A group of nurses volunteering at the clinic run by a Western doc.

John and Monica were part of an non-profit that is teaching Mayan women to install solar panels and start their own businesses.

Kids travelling for extended periods who decide to stay for a while work work behind the counter at the hotel.

Anne and Lisa, an older English pair who had spent 6 weeks exploring Central America. Lisa was going home in a week and Anne was continuing on her own for another month. Just retired, she was coming into her own and blooming into another “travelling crone” :) .

A group of young people from the US volunteering to build things in the villages like wells and such.

The English gentleman who created La Iguana Perdida 20 years ago, whose multitude of lives from an architect to a hotel owner to an artist and a lot in between made for entertaining stories. He sold the place to Deedle 16 years ago and now has a home at the back of the property. He is often seen enjoying happy hour in the evenings where I spent time in his delightful company.

Deedle, who bought the hotel when it was 4 rooms literally in the middle of nowhere and has turned it into not only a wonderful hotel but also an experience and the centre of the community. You can see an interview with her talking about how it all got started and what it was like.

So it was a very different experience than what I had anticipated. And, as per usual, I railed against it, causing so much angst that my body decided to take things into its own hands. It rendered me sick enough to stop me from spinning around trying to “fix” things and just accept the gift that I had been given. To accept seems to be my life lesson. I am a fixer of things, solver extraordinaire. Not always to my benefit. But I  also learnt (ok “learnt” is more of an ongoing process than something that happens the first time)  that sometimes it is best to cut your loses and just leave. I get stuck in the stay and fix mode but I do have a choice, I can leave and find a better fit. Travel is such a good teacher, no?

I finished the slideshow of the Lake Atitlan portion of the trip if you’d like to check it out. If you want to watch it photo by photo just click “esc” , click on the first photo and then use the arrows on the side to progress. Remember the quality is crappy since I had to use my phone camera because I forgot the camera battery at home. This was the worse trip for forgetting stuff!

Categories: Guatemala | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Dear John Letter to Mr. Godaddy

Ok so it sometimes takes me a while to get with the program. This would be one of those times.

godaddy-ceo-elephantsApproximately 3 years ago Mr.Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com decided to shoot and kill an elephant in Zimbabwe. He video taped the night hunt including the killing shots. There was also the now infamous shot of him standing over the body, gun in hand grinning. We watched  the villagers, sporting Godaddy hats,  cheering when the animal died and then descend on the body, stripping it down to the bones.

You know, a typical vacation vid everyone loves to put up on FB or youtube.

The resulting fury by animal activists was of tsunami proportion. Mr.Parsons was surprised when it actually started to affect his business. Misunderstood, he wanted to set the record straight. See, we just don’t understand the situation in Africa, these damn elephants are causing some serious damage which results in hunger because of their insistence on eating and moving around. He was just helping. He was a hero.

head exploding

But shit happens and I get distracted. Plus my account with Godaddy was on auto-renew, so easy not to pay attention.

But then I got an email from Godaddy warning me that my visa card had expired and that I should get right on it and send them my new one. What’s that? Mr.Parsons needs more money from me so he can go rescue a bunch of Africans from starvation. head up assFinally I get my head out of my ass and get with the program. The fog lifts and I start doing some research.

So here I am, a passionate animal advocate paying money to a known animal slaughterer. Nice work Crone. Well people, no more.

Dear Mr.Parsons;

I have a problem with your extracurricular activities. Killing elephants disturbs me.

In addition to  killing that elephant you then compounded your sins with issuing a defensive condescending missive. You say you were just trying to help the villagers save their crops from being destroyed and causing starvation. Really? The fact is  they were living in what used to be an amazing fertile country until President Mugabe moved into office. Since then he has raped and pillaged his country to decimation. It will be a miracle if anyone, animal and humans, survive. So if you wanted so much to help the villagers your bullets would have done more good somewhere else.

Watching the video and listening to your defence gives the impression this was a desperate act on the spur of the moment. Yet you have been going to Zimbabwe for 6 years and witnessed first hand the desperation of the people there. Did it ever cross your mind to work with conservation organizations that are on the ground working on ways for humans and animals to co-exist? They are doing this on shoe-string budgets and little government co-operation. But no, you decide to Rambo in and rescue the poor black man. Yah you. Well congratulations Mr.Parsons, you join a proud tradition of foreign, rich, white men eager to teach these poor souls that if you have a problem, the solution blow it to pieces with a gun. Barring that, a machete. The black man has learnt well over the years. The level of violence in some countries of Africa is staggering.

But that kind of solution doesn’t feed into your ego as much does it? That kind of stuff is for those pansies like Bill Gates. No, you’re a MAN!  I can just feel all that testosterone and adrenaline pumping through your system, shit there are no drugs to do that. Oh and we can’t underestimate the rush of having all those villagers cheering and calling your name as their saviour. Damn, I bet you thought your head (both of them) was going to explode with the joy and the power of it.

I am soooo small potatoes, my measly $24 a month for my domains won’t even rate a blip on  your billionaire radar. But it means a lot to me. I donate money every month to organizations that work hard to save animals from death and torture. The thought of my money going to support your activities makes me nauseous. And it isn’t just that you slaughtered a magnificent animal for nothing, it is your attitude that I find even more disturbing. Your attitude towards the people of Zimbabwe. That is bone chilling. You are not their saviour, you and your kind through history have been the problem, why that continent continues to struggle. Too many of their leaders learnt your lessons all too well at the cost of their people.

So Mr.Godaddy, colour me gone.bye bye

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Musings On a Church

Beguiled by Santa Cruz’s Church

The hike to the village.

The hike to the village.

The “road” to the village is multiple 90º switchbacks that instantly puts your pulse into the aerobic zone. Of course the little Mayans zip up and down it like they are on level ground, in fact they are probably uncomfortable on anything less than 70º.

I decided I needed an alternative from sloth so with no particular goal in mind up I trudged. And as with most Latino villages, all roads lead to God’s house. The square in front was the site of a very important soccer match between the 7 year old boys momentarily released from the school. Their little legs and big voices tore back and forth, charming even this curmudgeon. I weaved my way through them to the church thinking I was here anyway, I really should pay my respects.

The church and the soccer game.

The church and the soccer game.

It is a gentle church, adobe and white and small. It doesn’t yell at you and call you sinner. No, it is woven into the village by the women like they weave their beautiful cloths.

I moved from the bright, sunny boisterous square into the dark, hushed space. Alone except for the ghosts, I am convinced still linger here. The side walls are lined with carved wooden statues of Saints about 4 feet tall. Somewhat coarse but still I see the considerable skill in the folds of their robes and the lines on their faces. Some paint still lingers and some have suffered amputations. I gently touch, wanting to connect with these long dead artists. Were they thinking pious thoughts or hoping to make enough money to feed their family? I don’t know since they deigned not to talk to me.

All dressed up for Christmas.

All dressed up for Christmas.

The room was still dressed up for Christmas with wonderful wide woven banners draped from the ceiling in pastel colours. Simple bright tinsel decorations that we would find in the dollar stores at home were hanging from the banners, the ceiling and the altar. There was a dude in a glass coffin to one side, I think (hope) it was a statue. Two large doll-like statues stood at the front, maybe 5 feet tall dressed in elaborate satin-ish costumes in glass cases. A simple altar draped in a local woven cloth. I wandered and touched and took pictures and enjoyed having the room to myself.

 

Finally I decided to just sit in the quiet. That is when a family of tourists wandered in but I just waited them out and they finally left me to my contemplation. I closed my eyes and opened my heart and tried to absorb the energy. You see I believe that all buildings of all faiths absorb the energy of hundreds of years of prayer/mediation as much as the slaughter houses absorb the terror and panic of the animals. I believe that on some level we can feel it if we can still our minds enough. Even as a non-Christian I can appreciate the result of thousands of prayers. Tears sprang imagining all the joy and all the pain that those walls have witnessed. These people live and die in simplicity, enduring and enjoying everything between birth and death. And most of it ends up in this church. From the baptism to the funeral.

I got a glimpse of this cycle when I was with the old woman teaching me weaving. Her grandchild, Elizabeth, arrived with news whose effect was immediate. Tears and grief bloomed on her lined face. The word morté was the only word I understood but the pain I understood immediately. All I could do was touch her arm in sympathy. I wanted to offer to come back the next day but I lacked the words and she soldiered on with the task at hand.

I wish I could have meditated in a temple in Thailand but I don’t have good enough boundaries to block out all the energy of the inevitable hordes of people. When I return I will search out a quiet remote temple to sit in and listen to the monks chant.

Maybe I will sit through a mass in this tiny church and see how it feels. Maybe not.

How do you feel in churches, temples and such? Are they just museums or do you feel their energy?

Categories: Guatemala | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

1 More Sleeps Till ….

… Lake Atitlan, Guatemala!

Since Elephant Nature Park I have realized that I choose my holidays based on the desired experiences and not site specific. I chose Thailand last year, not because it was Thailand but because Elephant Nature Park was there and I wanted more than anything to volunteer with elephants. If it had have been in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan… welllll… no no, I would have gone there too.  Honest. That realization went a long way in making my next trip choice much easier. I had thought of the Yucatan in Mexico since I have wanted to explore it for some time but going alone with no structure didn’t feel right. So I thought about what I wanted/needed out of this trip and then proceeded to track down accommodations that would support it. Now who knows if it will, that is the joy of internet travel planning. You can only go on one’s intuition, experience and what the web site looks like.

What I wanted was some down time, space to get grounded and try to make peace with my diagnosis. Even though it has been a few months, it has been so busy  I really ‘get‘ it yet. So I needed quiet, cheap, people around to socialize with but not crowded, beautiful, isolated but not so that it would take me 5 days to get there. Finally, after much trolling, I came up with La Iguana Perdida, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. And when I read up on the lake I was sold.

Lonely Planet writes at the beginning of their introduction to the lake:  “Nineteenth-century traveler/chronicler John L Stephens, writing in Incidents of Travel in Central America, called Lago de Atitlán ‘the most magnificent spectacle we ever saw,’ and he had been around a bit.”

Aldous Huxley famously described this lake as, “really, too much of a good thing.”

Found this vid, that I hope represents the kind of folk I’ll be meeting there,  “The Chicken Bus” .

So Saturday I am off to see if Lake Atitlan lives up to it’s reputation. My plan is to do yoga, learn weaving, kayak, hike, swim. I’ve even played with the idea of getting my PADI. Or maybe lay in a hammock and do nothing but stare at all the different shades of blue and green in that world. Oh and there will be wine.

I am curious, how do you choose where you go on your trips? Is it because you have dreamed of gliding down the canals of Venice? The galleries of Paris? Or do you close your eyes and flip open an atlas and stick a pin in it? (I have always wanted to do that :) ).

I am sooo not going to bother with dealing with carry-on this trip.

I am sooo not going to bother with dealing with carry-on this trip.

Mighty Mouse! - A favorite as a daily travel bag and I got a smaller laptop so it is coming! Yah!

Mighty Mouse! – A favorite as a daily travel bag and I got a smaller laptop so it is coming! Yah!

Categories: Guatemala, Traveling Single | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sun Salutation a la Chet

In an experience chock full of surreal happy moments, the daily sun salutation led by our intrepid volunteer coordinator, Chet, came in just behind all things elephant (even elephant poop patrol, sorry Chet ).

There is a moment sometimes, just before I do something really different where there is a pause, a nanosecond really, when I get to choose whether to throw myself into the experience or play the critic. It took a mere breath before I threw myself into Chet’s Sun Salutation lock stock and barrel. I loved it with not a shred of irony, sarcasm or even my trademark raised eyebrow. I refused to look at anyone lest they were less enthusiastic and would then taint my experience.

Volunteer Coordinators at Elephant Nature Park, Thailand.

3 of our wonderful VCs- Mix, Chet and Dew.

Travelling Crone and Chet - Warriors for the Elephants!

Travelling Crone and Chet – Warriors for the Elephants!

Volunteer coordinators  make the experience of  the grunt work part of volunteering so great. They create teams from 60 strangers haling all around the world and help create an army for the elephants. Can you imagine trying to organize 60 volunteers? VCs are the difference between chaos and actually getting stuff done.

Chet - Elephant Nature Park lead volunteer coordinator

Chet – Elephant Nature Park lead VC

And through all this is the magical elf named Chet, Elephant Nature Park’s  lead volunteer coordinator. I am sure a book could be written about him and I’d like to write it, just to get the goods on him. He is whip smart, clever, funny and willing to pose endlessly for all the volunteers. His claim to fame (because he is a fame monster) is his outfits. He could easily give Lady Gaga a run for her money. Flamboyant doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Chet - Elephant Nature Park lead VC

Chet, in one of his famous sunglasses. I think he gets a discount at the night markets. :)

Mornings are when Chet is at his most Chet-iest, spiritually, physically and, Goddess bless him, wardrobe-wise. Imagine it is 7:30am and he has us in a circle to do our morning exercises. He is dressed in fluffy animal slippers (seriously, I think they were bunnies), a big hat with ear flaps, animal print jammies and likely, sunglasses stolen from Dame Edna… and he is doing jumping jacks and cajoling us to join him. Conga lines are also a favourite.

Finally it is time for the Sun Salutation. We all turn to face the sun with our arms out and our palms open. The soft Thai light slants across across the field where the elephants are starting to move around and greet each other, their feet causing the dry dirt to rise, smudging the air .  Chet urges us to close our eyes and deeply breathe in the life force, the sun, air and love. He tells us to always follow our dreams, that if we don’t love ourselves we will be lost. That, even if everyone turns against us, as long as we are true to ourselves, we will thrive. There are often 40 people in that parking lot, all with the common intent to do good in this world and  we send out our love and gratitude for this moment, this experience and for all these wondrous people. Chet’s Sun Salutation  helped ground me in the moment and kept my head from flying off, over-whelmed at the freaking awesomeness of this whole experience. His monologue of love and acceptance was the perfect start to my day.

chet with basket SabineSomeone said one day that Chet seemed to channel Lady Gaga in the morning, that sounded about right.

Then he would get us to breathe deeply three times, then open our eyes and smile!  And we would. And we would clap. And Chet would yell at us to love ourselves. And I would feel part of that wondrous place and those amazing people.

Thank you Chet, your Sun Salutation added yet another flavour to that wondrous dish that is the Elephant Nature Park.

Categories: Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Pursued

This is not my usual post but a response to a prompt from Tipsy Lit, a writing, reading and drinking site that offers up weekly prompts to challenge writers of all sorts. This is my first effort and of course it is late. But, whatever. Here it is and I’d love me some critiques. Hope you enjoy it.

Coffee in hand, I stood and looked out over my city from my 15th floor suite. She was still in her jammies and snuggled into her pillow, reluctant to rise. Which meant I had the streets to myself for a little while.

Adrenaline was starting to rise, I could feel the small breathy catch in my chest. I went over and over the plan in my head, making sure I wasted not a minute, cause I had none to spare for sloppiness. After carving off a few seconds here and there I started getting dressed to leave, all the while with an ear to the sky, fretting that the person in charge of that segment wasn’t as anal as I was with timing. But the quiet held and I left.

Bursting out of the lobby door at a jog, already looking for my bundles on the corner. The van that had dropped them was just squealing away, onto the next meet. I scooped them up, barely slowing down… a quick furtive look over my shoulder to reassure that I still had time. I looked around, noticing that barely-there shift from darkening to lightning and the adrenaline level took a jerk up a notch. Dark meant safe, they wouldn’t dare take the plane up in the dark.

In and out of the murky yards, peering at the ground to make sure I didn’t fall victim to uneven walkways or errant toys while dropping off what some would call propaganda and I called a way to make extra money. Today was different, today I had a hard-edged time limit that I couldn’t afford to challenge, it would mean the difference between life and death, or at least life and health. I had no desire to gamble with either, no way. So I pushed myself harder, heart now full of breathy anxiety.

It wasn’t until I was no longer on the moving away from my sanctuary part of my loop but the towards it part that the anxiety was joined with the growing sense of the win.  Could I really pull this off? Against all  odds?

The day was quickening, I could now actually see the multitude of obstacles in my way, which allowed me more speed. I would need it, that same increase in visibility meant the same for the pilot and I did not want to experience intersecting with him while I was on the ground, vulnerable and without a gas mask.

Job done, my feet and heart were pounding in time with each other. I was sure my heart could be heard a block away… it was all I could hear. I was getting close, so close… oh gawd, was that an engine? The streets were so quiet, so unnaturally still for this time of the morning, like how the forest goes silent when a predator is on the move.  Crap, it was an engine… the sour taste of panic was starting to invade my mouth and I dug in, willing myself to make it to the lobby door.

Damn key, why does it not work… is it the right one? Did I grab the wrong one? The throb of the engine is getting louder, I felt like there was a dark hulking stranger breathing over my shoulder, I cringed, anticipating the blow.

I almost fell into the lobby, into safety. Gulping air, trying to soothe my jangled nerves I moved to the elevator. Now secure I was  looking forward to watching the show.

But did I remember to shut the balcony door? Surely I would have, right? That made the ride up a tad unpleasant.

The elevator doors open and I rush to my apartment. Relief at the sight of the closed glass doors and the smell of coffee helps settle me. I was ever so glad that I had had the forethought to set the timer on the coffee maker. Grateful that I was here to enjoy it.

I grabbed a cup and moved to the wall of windows just in time for the first flyover, the billows of gas dimming the growing light. He is so low we are almost eye level;  I imagine I can see his face…. I strain to see the expression on his face, curious as to what it could be.

As I watch him cris cross the city, my heart is still trying to calm down, still not convinced we are safe, needing time to really believe it. But we are, at least as safe as anyone can be in times such as these.

Categories: Travel insights, Writing Challenges | 15 Comments

Poets, Horses and a Friend Day

Sometimes the simple days are the best, eh?

On my way to meet my friend, Meri, I spotted some strange stuff in my fav tree. This tree is so magnificent all the other trees in Vancouver (and there are a lot of trees in this city… you almost can’t see the city for the trees) are jealous. So of course I had to investigate… and people wonder why I am always late. Well now you know – I am investigating. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that poets had claimed the tree and were urging people to add their poems to the rope. It was sooo hard to not just plunk right down and start poeting. (new verb)

Meri on her trusty steed.

Meri on her trusty steed.

 

 

Finally I dragged myself away and after a quick stop at the grocer to pick up a huge bag of carrots I met up with my awesome friend, Meri.  I was so excited! Our great adventure was to visit the Vancouver Police horses!  Meri has the inside track and was going to slip me in and I was also going to use the carrots to bribe my targets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way we discovered the bee sanctuary. As most of you know the bee population is on a downward spiral, which, if not stopped, will cause us to downward spiral into oblivion. So the city of Vancouver has put up these bee condos and urged the citizens to do the same. Sweet that they get a free condo in this market.

Bees Bee's knees tucked into the garden.

Merlin (aka London) and Turbo

Merlin (aka London) and Turbo

There’s a cool story about Merlin and Turbo. The VPD Mounted Squad helped during the 2011 riots in Vancouver and London Drugs management was so moved by their efforts to bring order to the chaos they decided to donate $7000 to the squad. From those funds they were to buy a horse and after a nation-wide search they decided that Merlin, from Calgary, was the right fit. The problem was that his owner stipulated that he wouldn’t sell Merlin with out his buddy Turbo. period. Ok then. So now they have two new horses. They even renamed Merlin to London but no one seems to use it. You can go check it out on London Drugs blog (does everyone have a blog these days?).

What a wonderful day – poets, trees, bees, friend, horses, coffee. Thank you Meri!

Categories: Local Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cruel Curve Balls of Shit

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? Yeah it’s a cliche but have you ever really experienced it? I have physically a few times and last week I experienced it emotionally. I have 1 goal really for the next 5 years and that is to set things up so that when I retire I can travel a lot. I always assumed that financial restrictions would be the only thing between me and my dream. Well I was wrong. Since I have always been so healthy that it never occurred to me that my body would betray me…that only happened to other people. So I was taken unawares this week when I was diagnosed with age related macular degeneration… dry in the left and wet in the right. Continue reading

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Breaking news: Tulsa, Oklahoma Starts Sex Education Classes!!!!

Yes, you heard it here… maybe not first but 3 days after. The headline reads

“Tulsa Schools to Include Sex Education in Regular Curriculum For the First Time!!!!!!!!!!!!! (my emphasis)”

Seriously? Oddly it has the 4th highest teen birth rate in the nation. Colour me stunned!

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“83% of Oklahoma’s teen births are to unmarried mothers.”

I’m frankly surprised that 13% were married, being that pregnancy is the #1 motivator of teens TO  marry.

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“I think ignoring the issue is something we don’t have the luxury of doing any longer,” Kim Schutz, director of the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told KOTV.

Uh I don’t think you ever had that luxury, more like you just had ignorance to guide the way.

Credit: jupiterimages

Credit: jupiterimages

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So sarcasm aside, I am all for cheering this cutting edge educational radicalism but it starts to fall apart about here:

“Parents will have ability to choose whether or not their children enroll in the course.”

Does anyone else see a problem here?

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The article ends with this belly-laugh inducing  fyi:

“The Department of Health and Human services ranks Oklahoma’s teen birth rate behind that of Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico. And Alabama also does not mandate sex education; and while Mississippi and New Mexico do, the classes are not required to be medically accurate, (emphasis by moi) according to the Guttmacher Institute.”

What the F***K do they mean, not required to be medically accurate? I don’t know about you, but I want a copy of that text book. I googled that and got some interesting sites. I think I am missing the gene that allows me to believe that ignorance is an intelligent option.

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Now I am sure that I have read more astounding articles (being an avid reader, surely? ) but I just can’t be sure. I actually had to check the date on the article twice to make sure it hadn’t happened in 1960, but nope – Sept 4/2013. And, it is a pilot study… a pilot study. (shaking my head, clucking my tongue, rolling my eyes, head exploding) Yup, we don’t want to get too radical now, got to proceed carefully because… why? Are they really still scared that sex education will actually cause teen sex? Kind of like if we allow teachers to talk about homosexuality, it will cause orgies in the gym bathroom? Do they still not understand that teens are born knowing how to have sex? Hormones flooding the plains and *poof* no need for a hand book. Of course they don’t know how to have good nor safe sex. Just enough information to build a human or get a disease for their significantly shortened life… or both.

Having read the article I leaped to FB but realized that I just couldn’t cram it all into that little space. If you want to read the whole thing it is at Huffington Post, of course. (is there any real need to go anywhere else for news?)

The abstinence method worked well for Bristol, eh?

The abstinence method worked well for Bristol, eh?

This is all likely way more than you wanted to know about Oklahoma’s failed abstinence program, but heh! Now you’re more informed than the average teenager there.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Epiphany #3569

Epiphany #3569 (what can I say, I love me a good epiphany) – I am NOT a multi-tasker matter how hard I try. Oh, I can putter with the best of them, creating a vortex of meaningful surrounded by a storm of trivial. But playing twister with multiple complex tasks,  I just can’t. Without intent, I submerge myself into the latest and greatest, experiencing mere wisps of guilt for abandoning the rest. Even idle, my inner mumblings are only of IT. I can barely stretch to include the funder of all these projects: employment. Even there my mind is mauling IT.

So what is the latest IT? I mentioned it in passing on fb; I bought a condo! And have decided to rent it out! Since I am so far out of my comfort zone I need my passport, I decided it fit right into my travel blog. ;-) Continue reading

Categories: Financing the Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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