Snapshot Sunday ~ 01/03/2015

A gaggle of gatos.

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El Jugo de Naranja

reward (rɪˈwɔːd) n

  1. something given or received in return for a deed or service rendered
  2. profit or return

Our vecino stopped by early this afternoon to thank SU for lending him his saw to clear some brush.  After we chatted about how hot it is he indicated that he’d brought with him a saco de naranjas del granjero como regalo.  As I had answered the door I thanked him back and took the sack of oranges that were our gift straight from the farmer into the house while SU chatted for a few more minutes.

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I pondered the gift, grateful on one hand, but at the same time kicking myself for not following my instincts and purchasing an electric citrus juicer I’d seen recently.  The native oranges can be sweet and juicy or sour and not much good for anything but flavouring other foods.  These were lovely juicing and eating oranges but these native oranges have a large amount of seeds unlike the Florida or California oranges whose seeds have been mostly bred out of them.

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I set to work while SU mostly disappeared somewhere to help the vecino with something else.  By the time he returned I had juiced the bag, and eaten two.  I used the time for contemplation, mostly about how juicing the oranges by hand was probably doing a world of good for my biceps and triceps.

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Now we have a full jug of juice in the fridge for my return for taking the time to juice the oranges and a few bags solidifying in the freezer for future use as our reward for SU’s good deed…in the campo.

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5 To see other entries in this week’s photo challenge visit the Daily Post Photo Challenge.

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Talk Thursday ~ Muchas Palabras

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.             ~ Robin Williams ~

Most evenings, SU watches the news channel that begins with “F” and ends with “X”, mainly to watch Bill O’Reilly opine about Obama and the state of world affairs.  I usually skip this part of the evening’s festivities otherwise I might through my flippy through the screen when Mr. O’Reilly interrupts his guest/co-worker/paid contributor for the bazillionth time to give his “fair and balanced” view.

I often think that SU watches because Mr. O’Reilly offers a “word of the day”.  It’s usually an obscure word that one would not usually use in daily language and I’m often tasked to explain the word or “Google it” as we say in our household when we’re curious about something.  Examples of new words added to SU’s vocabulary would be: vacuous: mindless, inane, silly (that one I knew, I equated it to being vacant in the head), mordant: biting, caustic, sarcastic (I know a few people like that) and jackanapes: an impertinent young person, a whippersnapper (a bit of an old-fashioned word).  It’s interesting to note that most of the words used at the end of the program have to do with human behaviour.

Learning language is a lifetime process.  And for those of us learning a second language it may very well be the death of us.  No, not really but sometimes it feels like it.  Language is words, a whole bunch of them strung together to communicate in the distinctively human way (although studies have shown that animals communicate), using a series of words shared by people who are of the same community or country, the same geographic region or that share the same customs.  But, I digress: (leave the main subject temporarily in speech or writing) so I’ll just bring on today’s video, which is about words.  It’s brought to you by Mental Floss this week and tells us a bit about words used in daily language that were invented by authors. When it’s all spelled out language, no matter if it is your first, second or third  is all about bringing people together…in the campo.

 

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 25/02/2015

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.  ~ Anne Frank ~

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Mi Amiga y Su Bici

My friend Kris came for a visit over the weekend in a non traditional kind of way, traveling part of the way on her bicicleta.  I rode out to meet her at the edge of town and here is her arrival.  You can read her first post about her trip here.  We were so very glad to see her arrive safely even if it was for a short time…in the campo.

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La Araña Grande

For many weeks we had a very large spider living high up in our biggest palm tree.  Once Dry Season began, bringing with it some of the strongest winds we’ve ever experienced, we noticed that the web was getting very tattered.  Every day we’d visit but soon it was obvious that the spider had moved on.

More often than not lately I’ve taken the time to walk around our small yard to note how the sun lights each small space at different times of day.  While taking my contemplative walk today I looked under a tangle of Coconut Palm, Red Passion Fruit Vine and White Bougainvillea.  And there in a slightly more sheltered spot was La Araña Grande in her beautiful golden web.

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To see more entries in this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge you can go here.

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Talk Thursday ~ A Path Appears

At the end of the day helping people is harder than it looks and our efforts to help other people have this somewhat mixed record; but we have this almost perfect record of helping ourselves.  ~ Nick Kristof ~

I’m currently reading “A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity” written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning, married journalists.  These same authors who wrote “Half the Sky” a book I’ve mentioned before.  Neither of these books is written to be page turners that are read at one sitting, they are both well thought-out, researched books which should be “absorbed”. This book is a collection of ideas and examples of how to fight inequality and help others globally and in our own communities.

The video today is an interview with the authors and in it they cite several examples of stories in the book and give a good outline of its contents.  The book itself is a great place to start or even expand on how people can give back even in small ways and offers tutoring on how to be an effective contributor.  It doesn’t always take a lot of money to make a difference. Just a short way through the book I’m astonished about how a few simple things can make a huge difference in the lives of others. It’s definitely not filled with “roses and sunshine” but it is meaningful if you’re thinking about how to make an impact no matter how small. Come on, you can do it.

 

Other resources for “A Path Appears”:

http://apathappears.org/

http://www.npr.org/books/titles/347663239/a-path-appears-transforming-lives-creating-opportunity

http://news.yahoo.com/katie-couric-interviews-nicholas-kristof-and-sheryl-wudunn-212259011.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/the-wisdom-of-kristofs-an_b_6171734.html

 

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 18/02/2015

Today I’d like to share and expand on a recent item on Facebook that Daughter #2 posted recently.

The words of the tongue should have 3 gatekeepers:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it necessary?

I have thought about its meaning to practicing kindness and how we treat other people in our community that we interact with, not only with words, but actions.

The Three Gates of Right Speech

The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers. ~ ARAB PROVERB ~

Before words get past the lips, the first gatekeeper asks, “Is this true?” That stops a lot of traffic immediately. But if the words get past the first gatekeeper, there is a second who asks, “Is it kind?” And for those words that qualify here too, the last gatekeeper asks: “Is it necessary?

With these three on guard, most of us would find very little to say. Here I think it is necessary to make exceptions in the interests of good company and let the third gatekeeper look the other way now and then. After all, a certain amount of pleasant conversation is part of the artistry of living. But the first two gatekeepers should always be on duty.

It is so easy to say something at the expense of another for the purpose of enhancing our own image. But such remarks, irresistible as they may be, serve only to fatten our own egos and agitate others. We should be so fearful of hurting people that even if a clever remark is rushing off our tongue, we can barricade the gate. We should be able to swallow our cleverness rather than hurt someone. Better to say something banal but harmless than to be clever at someone else’s expense.

~ Ekanth Easwaran ~

Living in another country has meant learning to appreciate and respect different traditions and culture.  As Carnaval has now drawn to a close (to us one of the quieter celebrations in our memory) it serves as a reminder that our lives are short and to live each day to the fullest.  Today however; I am grateful for the almost deafening silence.  Oh, and internet that is back to being fully functional.  Happy (Ash) Wednesday.

Photo by: Julio A Melais R

Photo by: Julio A Melais R

 

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The Apparition

Not long ago SU called me over to see a rather large Stick Insect on the screen door. To quote National Geographic; Stick insects are part of the Phasmida order, the name of which is derived from a Greek word meaning “apparition.”

We’d seen Stick Insects before but this was one of the largest so far so SU placed his hand beside this unusual creature, giving scale to this rather large bug.

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 You can see more “scale” on The Daily Post.

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Talk Thursday ~ V is for Vaccine

Today, I thought I’d treat you to  a little research on vaccines.  Given that I had Dengue Fever over the Christmas Holidays (a virus), and that I’ve just recovered from a bout of the Flu (a virus) and that there seems to be a minor epidemic of the Measles (a virus) in some areas of North America I thought it seemed quite relevant.

There have been indications that the Chinese used smallpox inoculations as early as 1000 AD, as well as in Africa and Turkey as well, before it spread to Europe and the Americas.  In the mid-20th century vaccine research and development was very active. New methods for developing viruses in the laboratory brought swift discoveries and improvements, including the creation of vaccines for polio. Researchers then began to target other common childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella.

When I was a child I don’t think that there was ever a question that I would be immunized with any of the vaccines that were available then.  I remember have some of the inoculations given to me in the nurses office at school, back in the days when every school had a nurse.  The one I remember the most was the Polio vaccine that was given by putting a few liquid drops on a sugar cube. I also remember one of my friends who could not receive some of the inoculations because of an allergy to eggs.  When my own children were born I didn’t question getting them vaccinated.  It was not a pleasant experience with Daughter #1 and I wish that the vaccination for Chickenpox had been available for them.  Luckily there were no complications but having one after the other come down with Chickenpox wasn’t fun, and then SU got it.  Luckily they were all good little patients.

Herd immunity (protection of everyone in a community by high vaccination rates) works as long as the community is insulated from outsiders or can insure that outsiders coming into the community are not carrying any diseases.  In today’s world I fear that is near impossible.  We try to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep.  Still SU came down with the Flu and then passed it to me.  Where he got it from, who knows?    Normally, we would have received the Flu vaccine, living in Panama we haven’t really thought about it.  I don’t know that it would have helped with the dose of Flu we just had, a relatively minor one by all accounts.  I hope that one day there will be a Dengue vaccine developed, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, even a minor case.  I know there are many differing opinions on innoculations but keep in mind that this is mine…in the campo.

Related:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/02/04/383567862/once-a-vaccine-skeptic-this-mom-changed-her-mind
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/03/health/measles-gupta-fact/
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/index-eng.php
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/measles-outbreak-the-loopholes-in-canada-s-vaccination-laws-1.2943583
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/countries-pays/country-pays-eng.php?id=347
http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/minsa-vacuna-contra-varicela/23798432
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