Snapshot Sunday ~ 20/07/2014

Meet John, the newest addition to my brother’s family.  He’s a little carbon copy of Dos Gatos.  Somewhat fitting since they are “cousins”, yes?




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Containers that Move ~ WP Weekly Photo Challenge

A couple of evenings ago my mom and I went to watch the new multicolored LED lights that are recently installed on the High Level Bridge and lit for the first time on Canada Day.  The river valley is a hub of activity with runners and walkers and valley gazers even at 10:00 at night.

Here I’ve captured the LRT crossing the North Saskatchewan River from the south side to the north side while the bridge glows red.  Moving containers with people inside.


 Looking for more containers?
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TED Talk Thursday ~ To the Worker Bees

The few times I’ve gotten together with my friends since I’ve been home it seems that work is the main topic of conversation.  I’ve sat back and listened to the conversation not having much to add on the subject and my silence has been noticed by a couple of people who commented that I must be bored with the topic.   I wasn’t, I just sat back and observed about how each person talks about their job, the pay and benefits, the people they work with, the location etc.

It’s interesting to find that the most vocal people in the conversation are the people who, even though they say they like their job, seem to contradict themselves at every corner.  It would be so much better if I didn’t have to work with this person or I was able to do this instead of this.  The quietest person (aside from myself) was self-employed and had been for many years.  She sets the rules, chooses how much work she wants to take on and takes vacation when she wants, giving her clients notice so they can make other arrangements for services.  She enjoys what she’s doing, seems to be earning fair compensation and has people knocking at her door because of her positive attitude.

Where is this leading?  It got me to thinking about what makes people happy at their jobs and what I enjoyed most out of my working years.  I’m still young enough to return to work if the occasion or necessity arose but I’m quite happy and busy now with life in Panama and I’m anxious to return.  Other than those lean years when I stayed home full-time with my children I’d have to say that my last job at MacEwan was the most enjoyable.  I was somewhat autonomous, working on projects on my own.  The projects I worked on with others gave me just enough contact and team atmosphere to not make me feel isolated.  I had my own, pretty nice space to work in.  I felt I was compensated for what I did and that employer recognized my value and contributions to the institution.  The hours were pretty good; although not perfect.   Most of the work I did allowed me to set my own deadlines, within reason.  And one of the best things was that an evolution was taking place and I was part of it and I was continually learning something new.

Today’s TED Talk is by Dan Ariely, an Israeli American professor of psychology and behavioral economics who teaches at Duke University.  He has long studied how emotional states, moral codes and peer pressure effect a person’s ability to make sensible and important decisions.  His introduction to irrationality took place while he was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion that left him with third-degree burns on 70% of his body.  In this talk he discusses what encourages people to work. Most would say it’s about the money, but not always.  He demonstrates that it’s not about happiness either.  Not surprisingly, to me at least, most people feel the most satisfaction by constantly evolving and feeling valued.  Take a few minutes today and ask yourself some of those all important questions about the work that you do; and if you’re unhappy perhaps you can find some ideas that will help change that.

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 13/07/2014

My mom, the Pied Piper of Canada Geese.

Mom and geese

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Deserted Relic ~ Weekly Photo Challenge

I brought our DSLR camera with me to have the sensor cleaned on my travels back to Canada.  A few days after I got it back from the camera shop was a beautiful day and Mom and I took a walk around the neighbourhood.  There is a small plaza that looks completed but so far has no tenants.  In the small parking lot sat two relics, mere shells of cars.

My mom was telling me that a friend waaaayyyy back when had a car like this one and she and a couple of friends would squeeze in for rides. Mom patiently waited for me I took these photos and wondered who had deserted this relic of the past.

1 2 3 4 5

 Find more “relics” here:


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TED Talk Thursday ~ Past, Present and Future

Study the past, if you would divine the future. ~ Confucius ~

There was an item in the news last night about a survey of Ontario high school students that shows that one-third of all licensed drivers in Grades 10 to 12 admit to having texted while driving.  We all know that this is a very dangerous habit but Mom and I got into a discussion about how most people are attached to their phone and probably do it automatically without thinking of the consequences.   Today’s kids are growing up with rapidly changing technology and who knows what will come next.

It got me to thinking about how far machinery has come since the first version of the home computer came out, or the first cell phone.  I don’t consider myself a “techno geek”.  I know enough to get by. I do enjoy have a lap top handy especially when I want an answer to a question.  In that case Señora Google is useful.  And I love my Kindle, without her I would be lost in the proverbial desert.  I’ve done perfectly fine these last few weeks without my cell phone.  My Panama phone is not fancy.  I don’t have a data plan.  I only use it for talking and texting.   I’ve thought about something fancier but I don’t like using the phone anyway and it’s just another piece of “stuff” that I could probably do without.  So on to technology…

This week I have two TED Talks by Nicholas Negroponte.  He is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. He is on leave from MIT, where he was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. In 1984 he spoke at his first TED event and made five predictions for the future which were surprisingly true.   His method was to see what was taking place in technology and assume that existing trends would continue.   The first talk is from 1984, the original talk number 203, the second one is from March 2014, talk number 2043.  I hope you’ll find his new predictions as interesting as I did.



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Iconic Canadiana

An iconic landmark that is practically on every corner in every town large and small throughout Canada is a Tim Hortons  simply known as Tim’s or Timmies. I only started drinking coffee about five years ago and I don’t mind a Tim’s but SU and I fell into drinking Starbucks as our take out coffee before we moved to Panama. Living in Panama where they grow some of the best coffee in the world I’ve been spoiled and it doesn’t matter what I drink, the cheaper Tim’s or the more expensive Starbucks I still like my home-brewed Panamanian coffee.


Whether one likes the coffee or not most will agree that Tim’s  makes the most scrumptious doughnuts on earth. Last night after supper Mom suggested that we take a walk over to the plaza a few blocks away and get a doughnut. I have to admit that the thought of a walk was appealing even if it meant negating the exercise with a sugary treat, but what the heck I’ve already put on about 10 pounds since I’ve been on vacation.

Tim’s always has a “Doughnut of the Month”. This month the doughnut is Oreo, and it was full of ooey gooey deliciousness. As SU would say; “Go big or go home”, and I’m definitely going to be bigger when I go Home to the campo.


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People come in and out of our lives, and the true test of friendship is whether you can pick back up right where you left off the last time you saw each other. ~ Lisa See ~

I’ve been in Edmonton a couple of weeks now. It seems to have gone by so quickly because Mom and I have been busy every day. I had deliberately kept my visit quiet thinking that it’s summer, people work and have other activities scheduled in between so I didn’t want any special concessions made just because I decided to “pop in”.

As Mom and I had finished a good deal of things we needed to do while I was here I was thinking that perhaps I should call my friends and get together for lunch or a somewhat similar activity. Thursday night Mom and I decided that we would take a quick trip over to Costco to pick up a couple of things and as I was walking in the door I practically ran into my friend Tammy. Once she got over the shock of seeing me we walked around the store together catching up on a few things and she dialed our other friend who was equally shocked that I’d managed to surprise everybody and just “appear”. Upon reflection of both of their reactions I was pleased that they had missed me and that they were happy to see me. After further phone calls, we made plans for the three of us to get together on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon my friend Lee came by in her snazzy blue Mustang and she rolled down the top and we were off to look at show homes catching up along the way. We were to spend the afternoon cruising and then go to Tammy’s for a barbecue that evening. It was a lovely sunny afternoon to be out and about and after stopping at Wally Mart for a few groceries we were off to Tammy’s for supper.

When we got there Tammy was out in the yard, busy with her little granddaughter so we put our groceries away, grabbed a cold drink and went to join her. Once outside I was pleasantly surprised to see that our friend Michelle was also there. Surprise turned to shock as gradually, one by one, more of my girlfriends appeared. What a nice surprise! One of my friends has even hopped in her car the night before with only a few hours notice to drive 6.5 hours from Southern Alberta to see me.

This is a great group of women who have supported each other through the years through thick and thin, in happiness and tragedy and I’ve not known any one of them for less than 10 years and some I’ve known for almost 30. They’ve been my sounding board, my frustration, my joy, my support and brought humour into my life. Most of all, although some were skeptical and wary of the journey SU and I have been on in Panama they are all happy that we are happy even though we are far from the homeland.  Throughout the evening we laughed and exchanged stories about children, plans and grandchildren (and future grandchildren). Several times I looked around at the laughing faces and thought that new adventures are fantastic, but to be in the company of old friends that share a piece of your history is equally wonderful.

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~ Author Unknown ~

The gang from the back left to right: Me, Corina, Robyn, Tammy
Front row: Wendy, Lee, Michelle, Marielle
When we saw Wendy with a missing tooth we began singing the song from “Deliverance”.  Turns out she hadn’t gone hillbilly rogue on us but was getting some dental work done.
We kept telling Wendy that she had some green stuff in her teeth as good friends should do.  She just couldn’t pick it out.
Marielle competed in the Spartan Race on Saturday.  After being covered in mud for a good part of the day she was ready for a drink when she arrived.
Just a bunch of toughies.
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Snapshot Sunday ~ 06/07/2014

This last week Mom and I painted her kitchen and laundry room.  We also collaborated on making curtains with Mom pinning and ironing and me designing and sewing. ¡Gracias a Dios terminado!




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TED Talk Thursday ~ Did you say hip?

Even when a Canadian cheats the system, they do it in a way that benefits society. ~ Allison Hunt~

I often reflect on the differences and similarities between Canada and Panama.  One of the similarities between the two countries is health care.  There is socialized medicine in both, although it seems that there is more availability of private care in Panama than in Canada.  Both countries are in dire need of more facilities and doctors.  Yet in both the current medical communities aren’t overly enthusiastic about admitting foreign doctors to make up the short fall.  This lack of qualified professionals often results in long wait times unless one digs deep into their own pocket and pays for non critical care themselves.

This week’s video is presented by Allison Hunt. Ms. Hunt runs HATCH Research Intelligence in Toronto, managing marketing, communications and strategy development for clients like Kellogg’s, Pfizer and Unilever. In her TED Talk she explains how she used her marketing skills.  It’s a tale of philanthropy with benefits, in a typically Canadian way.

This week’s TED Talk is also for Dusty, a really hip chick.

Get hippy with it:




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