Coming to an End

As the clock ticks away, I am headed for retirement whether I want it or not.  This includes reams of paperwork, for not just retirement, but packing out of the apartment, transferring back to the States and dealing with Green Card paperwork.

Right now I am waiting for paperwork so I can schedule my apartment to be packed up and sent back to the States.  Without it, I can not move on plans.  The paperwork is two weeks late, and I don’t know whether I will get it in time to make it to Texas before Thanksgiving.

But I have been able to start the process of sorting out the apartment.  I am a collector of things that I will throw away someday, so it has been a slow process.  But it has begun and here is the first evidence of it. * Update.  Just today, I received the notice that I will pack out on Monday & Tuesday. It will be a stressful next few days.

BUT … this weekend is the Marine Ball, and although I am not a party person, it will be good to have a distraction.  I will post what pics I take.


Holambra is a town in Brazil known for its annual month-long celebration of flowers.  I will post a butt-load of pictures, but in the meantime, go to the Wikipedia site to find out more about this small town, by clicking here.  

Then … the other day, we went into the downtown area of the city and had lunch.  The images below are from all the booths set up selling food.  Notice in the first one, there was a guy softly playing a saxophone while people ate. This last picture is a typical tree that I see all through the city.The end of my tour here is coming quickly.  I have been extremely busy with paperwork out the wazoo, and trying to set up the necessary logistics for the move home.  We will talk more later.     In the meantime, kick butt.       D.

A Couple of Grillings at the Apartment

This is mostly a mess of pictures from two separate gatherings at the apartment with good people.  The apartment has a place out on the balcony to grill meat, and I had never used it.  So, when someone offered to do some cooking on it, I agreed.  First, pictures of the meat, and then pictures of the people. Next, I will have a mess of pictures with flowers.   Stay tuned.  D.

Demonstrations and Graffiti, etc.

Occasionally, the Consulate gets a demonstration outside its gates, usually due to something that we have no control of.  A number of months ago, there was a demonstration of employees who were laid off unexpectedly by a company that is owned by a rich American.  The law in Brazil states a company has to give so much notice before it can lay people off.  Evidently, this rich American thought it didn’t apply to him.  Don’t know what the outcome was but the Consulate General took  the information and passed it on to the Commerce Department.

A few Saturdays ago, we had a demonstration to protest America’s sanctions on Cuba. They kept chanting Vivi la Castro!  … the idiots.

Then a few days later, there was a sudden demonstration to protest US sanctions against Venezuela.  These are from mostly young people that have no sense of reality.

A few weeks ago, my Brazilian buddy put together a beer crawl in which we went to six different places to drink beer and eat, than move on to the next one.  It was slow moving and relaxing, but the tour was in the downtown area where there were ample exhibits of graffiti.  Sao Paulo has it all over the place, but downtown was most interesting.  Below are some of the art work. And the city has very old trees.  Talking to the Facilities manager at the Consulate, he said the compound alone has over 900 trees. And I always notice the architecture of the city. As with any large city with populations in the millions, there are homeless everywhere.  Driving through Sao Paulo, you will see hundreds of make-shift homes everywhere.  Here is a rather successful homeless family that acquired a tent which is planted on the sidewalk.  As I walked by, the father was relaxing and looked quite content.  But on the cold nights that we have had recently, I wonder how they keep warm.There is a lot going on now, yet there isn’t.  My replacement is here and it has been busy, but things are moving forward.  I am now looking forward to retiring and finding a place to sit and relax at whim.  Plus I want to start writing again.

Kick butt and keep looking for the next adventure.     D.



Well, I took a 5300 mile (8530 Km) trip and then had BBQ

I took three weeks in the States to drive from Texas (The Greatest Country on Earth) up to Virginia, visit friends and learn my retirement is not very healthy.  So, as I told my four kids decades ago, I plan to spend three months a year with each or you.  I hope they remembered.

I took my little Barbie car, as MotherDear calls it and completely enjoyed the trip.  Yes, there were a few times that I was boxed in by several huge trucks and was able to stomped the pedal and squirt out of the impending doom.  Most fun since I set off fireworks in the high school during a home-coming game.

… and there were a few other times that I had to deal with arrogant truckers which made it a bit difficult to move my bowels the next day.  But seeing me now, you would never know I had to deal with any of that.

On the way home, I stopped for the night in Tulsa with a brother and his gracious wife and enjoyed the peacefulness of their backyard.  I hope I can do that in my backyard someday.

…. and last week, I got myself invited to another BBQ.  Best I can do, is show you a mess of pictures. In November when I am pushed into retirement, I will throw a massive BBQ and use this guy and one other to do the cooking for me.

And then there was this card game that I have yet to figure out, so what I do is try to video the more physical aspect of it instead.


One of the local police officers who works at the Consulate and is fluent in English, tried to explain it to me, but all I heard was, blah, blah, blah ….

Okay.  Until next time, kick butt, look for another adventure and don’t look back.

A Few Odds & Ends Before I Head Off to the Great Country of Texas

The other day as I was walking home, I was behind this guy who was bundled up for a blizzard while jabbering on the phone.  The outside temperature was a comfortable 66 degrees.  But what you see with the guy bundled up is normal for people who live in this climate.  When the temps get below 70 F, everyone dons their cap, scarves and gloves.  Same as Ethiopia whose weather is similar to Brazil’s. _______________________________________________________________

Here is something interesting …

During the past 5-6 months, I kept having a run-down feeling that I couldn’t shake, like I was coming down with the flu.  Normally when I had this, I would pop 3-4 pills of ibuprofen and a gram of vitamin C, and within twenty minutes it was gone.

But at this time, that didn’t work.  I had to get some of those probiotics “gummy bears” to help get me back to normal, and even those only lasted a few hours.

And since I had the run-down feeling both in Brazil and Texas, I determined it was nothing I was eating.  So, what could it be?

When you take to time to “listen” to what your body tells you, a great deal is learned.  The only thing that I have not changed was my underarm deodorant.  And I remembered that I switched to a particular scent about the time the persistent “trashed out” feeling raised its ugly head.

So, I switched to a different scent, and the trashed feeling seemed to subside.  After a week or so, I tried the deodorant again, and sure enough, I felt like crap throughout the day.

That’s bizarre, right?


Remember my dear little friend Hiwot in Addis Ababa?  She was the nursing student who served us pizza while she was going to nursing school.   We had fun talking and joking with her, even invited her to our house for dinner a few times.  While Terese helped her to have the courage to deliver her first baby, I just joked about it.   Here is a picture of her with Terese. Then she became a doctorate student in Sweden and then England.  This is what she looks like now:I have no other word except “stunning!”…. and what you see here is what many Ethiopian women look like.   If I was 30 years younger, I would fly to England and bring her home to Mom.

But seriously, when I see a picture of her smiling, I feel good inside knowing this Beauty was a simple, but a most enjoyable part of our lives for a few years.

Carry on my most beautiful friend.  Life wants to hold you close to her bosom.  Keep smiling and accept all that she offers you.