Music Mondays ~ What I Hear in the Middle of the Night

We’re on day 3.5 of Caranaval 2016.  So far the noise hasn’t bothered us and we’re sleeping with our windows open.  But last night I woke to hear this…in the campo.


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Talk Thursday ~ Pass on the Kindness

The talk video today is by John Sweeney the founder of Suspended Coffees, a social movement that has positively affected and transformed millions of people around the world.  The custom started in the working-class cafés of Naples, where someone who had good luck would order a “sospeso”, Italian for “suspended coffee” thus paying the price of two coffees but receiving and drinking only one. The extra coffee then becomes an anonymous act of charity, going to someone else.

On 22 July 2013, an anonymous customer in Edmonton, where I am from, paid for 500 large coffees at Tim Hortons, our iconic Canadian coffee chain. This started a movement that spread to a total of 30 locations with over 10,000 cups of coffee being paid for by donors in one day.

Watch the video and go to the website here.  There is a pretty neat interactive map showing the participating cafés and you can click on the area where you live to find one close to you.  Click on “cafés”, “find a cafe” and click on your location.

Have you ever “paid it forward”either with coffee or a meal?  I have and it’s a wonderful feeling.  Leave me a comment and tell your story.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~03/02/2016

As I mentioned in my Monday post my friend and I were off on an adventure. Today, wisdom from a small part of our day…

While we were on our adventure we met an older couple from North America (I’ll call them the Nickersons for ease of identification).   They are traveling their way around Central America finding snorkeling spots as they go.

We chatted with Señora Nickerson extensively during the day while Señor Nickerson snorkeled.   At lunch they both asked us questions about ourselves and for recommendations of places we thought they should see during their remaining four days in Panama City. In turn we found out that they have been married for many years, spend almost every moment together and couldn’t imagine being apart, even for a day.  They thought it was strange that we were both married but were without our spouses on our adventure.

After lunch, an employee in charge of the area we were visiting asked my friend if we would be interested in escorting the Nickersons to another beach via kayak so they could snorkel.  In return our kayak would be gratis.  As we had planned on taking a kayak out anyway, my friend readily agreed and we stored our bags and commenced our trip.

Our first clue that were going to have issues should have been when mi amiga and I had already paddled out a ways and the Nickersons were still close to shore.  We figured that they were a generation removed from us and a little slower. We stopped and waited for them.  Once they reached us at the point we realized that they were in big trouble, zig-zagging, going in circles and wasting energy for the most part.   After some conversation on the water and talking them through the next leg, we pulled up on the beach directly beside the one we had launched from to come up with a solution.  We discovered that they had never kayaked before but thought it looked easy so they wanted to give it a go.  The solution we came up with was to tie the two kayaks together so my friend and I could do the heavy paddling and guiding and not give up on the adventure.

This is what I reflected on afterwards and my wisdom for today:

1/  No act of kindness goes unrewarded.  Sometimes the reward is the good feeling you get inside from helping someone.  Sometimes the reward is returned in kind.  In our case our new friends bought us dinner and a drink when we returned to the city although we insisted it was unnecessary;

2/  Being part of a team and working together is a great problem solving tool.  My friend and I worked very efficiently in our kayak.  The Nickersons, despite insisting earlier what a great team they were, instead, were quickly humbled and acceded to our ability when we suggested becoming part of a big team instead of two separate ones;

3/  The last time SU and I rented kayaks he insisted on separate boats.  At the time I was puzzled but once I got out there on my own I didn’t want to go back in.  I understand now that it was to teach me to trust my own skills and capabilities;

4/  I expressed my appreciation to SU for the time he took to teach me a few basic knots.  No matter how small a skill it is, it sure came in handy.  I was able to tie a bow knot quickly and efficiently once I managed to untie the knots in the rope on the kayaks.  That knot didn’t budge during the trip.   I’m wondering if the staff were able to untie it;

5/  One should never be afraid to try something new but; when it comes to traveling out on open water it’s best to go in a group with people more experienced.  If the Nickersons had been out on the water on their own they might have drifted to Colombia by now.  At the very least someone would have been sent out to rescue them;

6/  I’m thankful and delighted at how strong we are.  Despite paddling two boats with four people our arms were not sore the following day.  My only injury was a bruise on my butt. I got it from landing on a rock when my friend tipped me into the water getting into the kayak after we tied the boats together. The next time I got in last, lesson learned.  I’m also glad that I had my phone in a dry bag because I went right under; and

7/  I’m proud of how we showed the Nickersons that my friend and I are capable women able to problem solve on our own.  This is because of the things we’ve learned individually and with our spouses.   Once we returned to the main beach Señor Nickerson insisted on a high-five.  Throughout the rest of our day together he continued to comment about how proficient we were at evaluating the situation and coming up with a solution;

8/  Finally, when I talked to SU about the day and told him the story I said I wished that he had been there.  This wasn’t because I felt incapable of handling the situation or because he would have done it differently.  It was because I do love sharing adventures with him.  I also recognize that we don’t have to be in each others pockets all the time and I willingly go on my own or with my friends.  I hope that the Nickersons understand that what works for one relationship is not necessary for everyone.

I welcome comments about any accomplishment or a difficult situation that you’ve had either in a team or on your own.  Let’s start a conversation because I’m still not…in the campo (but SU and Dos Gatos are).


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Palabras, Palabras, Palabras

It occurred to me this morning that yesterday was “Music Monday” and I didn’t post a song.  I did have one for this week I wanted to share so I am presenting it today.

This video was sent to my friend via Facebook and I enjoyed it so much that I hunted it down on YouTube.  The artist, Luciano Rosso is an expert at playback.  He is a dancer, performer, choreographer and Argentine artist from Buenos Aires.   He also creates comical YouTube videos where mimicking popular songs.  Luciano also teaches body percussion, a technique to give sound and movement to the body.

The song is  Palabras, Palabras, Palabras (Words, Words, Words) sung by Silvana Di Lorenzo & Osvaldo Brandi.   The gist of the song is that the man keeps making promises that are only words, she doesn’t want candy and moonlight she wants him to follow through on his promises.  The guy, well…he can’t get a word in edgewise.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  The facial expressions on Luciano are hilarious.


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Talking About an Evolution…Well You Know

I’m in Panama City for a week visiting with my friend.  Lately I’ve been thinking about evolution or reinvention.  Evolution is a good place to start though.   In part, evolution is defined as: the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form. Synonyms: development, advancement, growth, rise, progress, expansion, unfolding; transformation, adaptation, modification, revision.

There were a few big things of note taking place in Panama City this weekend.

1/ La reina del Carnaval Gay capitalino, Ambar Lorena Santander was handed her crown and scepter.  See her here.  To me this speaks of transformation for a group that has been stigmatized in the past.  And I think she’s prettier than the “real”queens;

2/ There was a huge procession to celebrate  San Juan Bosco, one of the most beloved saints for World Youth. He was a priest, educator and Italian writer who dedicated his life to helping young people, taking them off the streets by offering them education.  San Juan Bosco was progressive I’d say;

3/ There was a Greek Fest on Saturday, there was lots of Ouzo, bouzouki music and food I’m sure.  That’s expansion of Greek culture to the masses, in Panama no less.  And the Greeks have a long history in Panama;

4/ And there was an Ironman 70.3 race and a Canadian won it!  How does this one fit in? Two words: reinvention and transformation.  Rather than repeat his story you can read about it here.  

My friend has been busy with a reinvention of her own.  She’s fallen in love with creating organic lotions and potions for the face and body and wonderful smelling natural soaps.  For the moment she’s decided to market her products a home parties a la Mary Kay.  Mary Kay Ash started her own cosmetic business at the age of 45, if you’d like to read more of her “reinvention story” you can find it here.

I spent my Saturday afternoon with a group of lovely Panamanian women, practicing my Spanish and giggling as we were given instructions on how to use everything in the collection.  I hadn’t done anything like it for years and I have to admit it was fun.  Here’s a picture.  As usual I’m the one with her eyes closed:Face party

Today we’re off on another adventure and for now, I’m not…in the campo. But SU and Dos Gatos are.  :)

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 31/01/2016

The kid on the left has a birthday today.  For six whole weeks we’re the same age.

¡Feliz cumpleaños hermanito!Karen and Chris

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Vibrante ~ So Many Choices

Vibrant: (of color) bright and striking.
Synonyms: vivid, bright, colorful, striking, brilliant, strong, rich,  bold
“vibrant colors”

My ankle bracelet, made by one of the indigenous ethnic groups and was bought at a small marketplace during the Patrias Fiestas in November.  When my friend first saw it she thought I’d gotten another tattoo.  This woven creation is full of vivid color.
WP_20160130_07_58_44_Pro I just bought new slippers yesterday, the zig-zag pattern on the foot bed is still bright.WP_20160130_07_12_56_Pro My friend makes these beautiful organic soaps with goat’s milk and various essential oils.  These are in her group of “colorful”.WP_20160130_08_54_00_Pro Nature provides us with an amazing array of striking, brilliant, strong and rich colored flowers like these few around our yard.IMG_0741
DSCF6181 And nature also gives us the bold golds, pinks and oranges of a morning sunrise or a delicious tomate de arbol.IMG_0543 DSCF6295 sunrise Tomate de ArbolI had trouble with this week’s photo challenge, not for lack of choice but for too much choice.  Vibrant colors are all around me…in the campo.

You can see other interpretations of this week’s photo challenge “vibrant” by putting your mouse and clicking here.

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Talk Thursday ~ Motivation

I’m a procrastinator.  When I dislike doing something I leave it until the very last and ooops, if it becomes that magic time in the morning if I don’t get the job done I save it for another day.  So is the saga of the vacuuming this week.  I finally had to get down to business yesterday afternoon after putting it off for several days.

I posted before about how I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead I try to focus throughout the year on changing or trying one thing for 30 days at a time.  I found that I was getting busy doing other things during the day and was often forgetting to drink water other than when I was working out or at meals.  I downloaded an app that reminds me every hour to drink my eight ounces (by the way, I found out how much  you drink depends on so many factors it’s just that eight glasses of eight ounces is easy for people to remember).  Not drinking enough is not good when you’re sweating out as much as you can put in.

So, about my challenge, it’s gotten to the point that after almost 30 days I am grabbing my 16 ounce glass and drinking it leisurely down before the app reminds me.  Often by early afternoon I’ve managed to get my task completed.  This makes those around me happy because they don’t have to listen to the hissing sound (which apparently sounds like a sauna by my friend thinks sounds like I’m passing gas) when the reminder comes up.

For those of you trying to keep resolutions or 30 Day Challenges going I hope you enjoy this little video with some motivational tips.  After seeing this my next 30 Day Challenge may be to learn the dance from Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”.  That might be fun, or not…in the campo.

(If you’d like to find some of my postings about what I’ve tried in my challenges I occasionally post about them and tag items or categorize with “small changes”.  Enter this term in the search box and they’ll pop up.)  


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Wisdom Wednesday ~27/01/2016

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. ~ Carl Bard ~


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Snapshot Sunday ~ 24/01/2016

Annnndddd this is what it is like trying to get anything done on the computer when Boomer wants attention…in the campo.Boomer DSCF6263 Boomer Boomer Boomer Boomer

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