Friday, October 31, 2014

You Can Take the Girl Outta Kansas...

October 31, 2014

But there is at least one cheerful Kansas City gal in Ecuador right now.
What a great World Series!
And (ahem…arggg) a big congrats to the Giants.  Well played!
Yes, we lost. But I am so proud of my hometown!
As I mentioned the other night on FB, there is a caveat:
“I’ve never been a big sports fan and generally would prefer scraping off wallpaper than watch baseball on TV” …but…

The good news is that I’ve been able to watch the games. The bad news is that my announcers are speaking in español.
Like I would understand baseball in any language?
Yet, I’ve been glued to the screen during the games. After 29 years, the Royals make it to the World Series. Who wouldn’t be?
I know the basics of baseball, but my ignorance is thus that early in the Series, I had to Wiki “the top and bottom of innings” because I always forget which one means the “start” and the “finish” of one of them.
And I’ve finally figured out the plastic earpiece/earmuff placement over players’ ears.

By the sixth game on Monday night, I was on pins and needles.  Third inning, I think.  Royals have the bases loaded, and I’m watching the next batter step up to the plate…YES!  YES!  YES!
And then… My new TV dish satellite reception GOES OUT.
I got on Facebook right away to beg for updates or a quick-fix stream link on my computer to watch it live.  I want to thank all those who had their laptops nearby and responded to my S.O.S.
In particular, Emily and Scott Bloomquist (they have a great blog at “Time for phase three”) for giving me this MLB link until my satellite reception came back on.  Emily and Scott are good friends of mine, live in Puerto Lopez, and are Giants fans.  We had a good-natured bet on this game, involving the loser traveling to the other’s town to buy the winners a meal.

My, my…  Watching those little robots on the MLB site gave me an education.  I was desperate.
First time I’ve ever become acquainted with the terms “on the deck” and “in the hole”.

And during the last game, my brother and I had a back and forth email conversation that went something like this (see below - heavily edited for curse words).
For the record, I am currently on the same time zone as Kansas City, and my brother lives in California.

All the games started at 7PM here.

I’m a little confused (remember, I’m watching this en español – as if I would understand the game better if it was in ingles).
But the Royal's batter who got hit by the ball – what happened…..did they walk him?  Did they substitute another runner or batter?   And what is his name?
This is getting to be a really fun game now!

He is the catcher and he has played the entire season (meaning his back-up has not played at all).  He chose to play through the pain, because in baseball, once you are subbed out of a game, you are out the rest of the game.  So yes, he walked to first, and while most other teams would have then substituted him for the back-up, I guess the Royals feel he is too crucial to leave the game.

His name?

It is either Salvador Perez or George Clooney.  I get them totally mixed up.....

Ha ha. Very funny.
Now it’s the bottom of the fourth and I have a question.
Are those Giant pitchers (now on the second one) trying to castrate our players with those throws?
Is that legal in baseball?
Another Royal's batter just got hit with the ball.

It is not illegal, because it is hard to determine if the pitcher did it intentionally.  That said, an umpire does have the discretion to toss a pitcher out of the game if he thinks it was done intentionally.

I would have called that last pitch a “ball” – rather than a strike.  It seemed too low to me to be in strike zone (which clearly I don’t have a perception of yet).

It is tricky, because the camera is placed to the right side of the pitcher (as you are looking at the batter).  So it is always a distorted view.
What pisses me off is that they do have the technology to truly determine strikes and balls, but they refuse to incorporate it in the name of tradition.  It IS either a strike or a ball.  Why not make it completely fair, instead of letting a bunch of old white guys try to make the call?
The Royals hitter was clearly thrown a ball (the graphic after the pitch clearly showed it to be low and on the outside, by at least six inches.  But the umpire called it a strike.
I do not understand why MLB owners refuse to make the game more up to date.

What are those paper maché Pandas about?

I have no f’n idea...

Anyway, I want to say congratulations to the Giants!  You earned it.  But we’ll be back.
And Emily and Scott, looking forward to seeing you guys in Puerto Lopez soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sweet Spot

October 25, 2014

Jorge's beach tienda
It was a little bit of a re-adjustment for me when I returned to Ecuador after spending two months in Germany with family, but I’ve fallen in love with Olón all over again.
I feel so lucky to live here – this really is just a great, great little town!
Olón is situated along one of the most beautiful, wide beaches on the coast of Ecuador, the weather is generally mild (though a little mucky this time of year), fresh seafood is readily available, and produce is cheap, diverse, and plentiful.  The pace of life is simpler, slower and more relaxed than in the States.

But I think more than anything, it is the local Ecuadorians who make this such a sweet spot to live.  They have been unfailingly kind, generous, and warm to me in the years that I have lived here.
Everywhere I go in town, I am greeted by friendly waves, sunny smiles, and hearty “hola Lees!”  (for some reason, virtually all my local friends call me “Leese” – adding an “s” to my name.  It’s taken me awhile to figure out the reason for this, but I think it’s because the name “Leigh”/“Lee” is an unfamiliar name to them, but the name “Liz” is not, so that’s what they call me).  At any rate, I am grateful for the congenial manner in which they have made me feel welcome in this community.

This “winter” (June through November) has been much milder than in years past, although the last couple of weeks the weather has been overcast, with a steady drizzle.  The locals take this in stride, and the town bustles with the normal daily activities (vendors on foot and bicycles hawking their wares, kids playing in the streets and the park, lots of construction continues to go on).

Every year around this time, a couple of
aerobic teachers show up several afternoons
a week to lead a large crowd of townies
in exercises.

Garage sales and thrift stores are not
concepts that have "caught on" in Ecuador, so
this relatively new vendor selling used
clothing in our park on weekends is somewhat
of a novel idea. 

Birthday parties for kids are a
BIG DEAL, and I recently attended one for my
4-yr old buddy, Sebastian.
His parents Vicente and Tomasa run
Johanita's tienda near my house.
It was really cute.  Total "Spiderman" theme.

I started taking Qi gong classes a couple of weeks ago (at Casa del Sol, with Tito).  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done any type of workout, so I figured Qi gong was probably a good place to start.
I’ve been going a few mornings a week, and already feel the mental and physical well-being of going to these classes.

I've also recently gotten into the habit of buying a fresh coconut on the beach each day, and enjoying the milk, and then the meat.  I’m hearing and reading so much lately about the benefits of coconut water that I decided it was silly not to try it, since fresh coconuts are sold right on the beach ($1.50), ready to stick a straw in.
I am hooked now.  Coconut water is refreshing, nourishing, tasty, and rejuvenating.  And after I finish my drink, I return to my vendor Jorge, who obligingly hacks the coconut open, digs out all the meat, puts it in a plastic bag, and I have a healthy snack to bring home.

Jorge's son Teo preparing my
coconut meat "to go" after finishing my drink.

Photo courtesy of Robyn
I’ve been treating myself to some awesome massages (which are reasonably priced here and a number of specials are being offered during low season).
Last weekend, I enjoyed the $40 special combo of Spinal Alignment Thermal Massage and Deep Tissue Massage being offered the Bromelia Lodge in Dos Mangas.  It involved  40 minutes lying on a heated spinal alignment massage table, followed by a delightful (!) massage by Robyn Luck, a Licensed Massage Therapist, who normally works out of Punta Cielo Spa, on the point in Montañita (next to Casa del Sol).  Robyn also offers facials and scrubs, and just began teaching a Pilates class on Saturday mornings from 9-10 at the Montañita Gym.  Robyn can be contacted by phone at 097 964 6151, or through her FB page 

Additionally, I’m fortunate that my new upstairs neighbor, Colleen Geis is also a massage therapist who offers:
  • Massage Therapy:Advanced Training
  • CranioSacral Therapy:Advanced Training
  • Visceral Therapy
  • Pranic Healing:Advanced Training
I’ve enjoyed a couple of sessions with her (and how very convenient that I only need to walk upstairs to get one - $30), though Colleen also will travel to your place (Cadeate to La Entrada) for an additional $5.  She knows her stuff, and worked out a few of my kinks after I returned from Germany, sore from lifting my grand-kids and fiddling with annoying buckles.   Her phone number is  093 982 6410.

Enjoying a sunny day at the beach
playing dominoes with some buddies.

Notice the KC Royals colors in the foreground?

But I guess the biggest highlight of the last few weeks was that I finally broke down and installed satellite TV.  I’ve gone four and a half years without broadcast television, and confess that on our more wet outdoor days, I’ve enjoyed catching up on shows I haven’t seen in a long time.
One of the bigger catalysts spurring me to install my dish is because Kansas City is my hometown, and the KC Royals are in the World Series.
I really want to watch these games!  

(Did I actually just say that???...I am not a big sports fan, and never imagined the words “I want to watch baseball on TV” would ever come out of my mouth).
Anyway the fourth game is about ready to start, and I am hooked, even if the broadcasts I am receiving are announced in español.