Monday, January 31, 2011

Ring the bells that still can ring...

There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in,
That's how the light gets in...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hallelujah! and Happy Birthday!

Happy 70th Birthday Tony, and Hallelujah, not because as Cohen says in his song, "it all went wrong", but because it's all gone right, and I stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! for the years you've shared with me.

This video affords a 360 degree view from a helicopter as it flies above Nimmo Bay, turquoise-coloured rivers, the coastal mountains and glaciers. It's like being in the cockpit. You can look ahead, to the sides, down and behind. Probably the most magnificent look at the province we live in that I have ever seen.

Click to start the video:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

January KIVA Loan

Manuel Lara Quillay

And as a nod to my fine husband who is soon to turn 70, our 22nd KIVA loan goes to 70 year-old farmer Manuel Lara Quillay, who is married and lives with his wife in Chillanes Canton, Bolívar province Ecuador. Manuel and his wife have five children.

Manuel is a corn and broad bean farmer. His purchases and sales both take place at the Chillanes Canton Market on Sundays. He asked for a loan to buy seed, manure and fertilizer so that his crops will grow well and be of good quality. The loan will help him economically to meet the farmer's seasonal challenges like insect infestations, plant diseases and variations in the weather.

His hope is for continued good health so he can carry on working and provide an education for his children. His dream is that they can improve their lives through education.

Good luck Manuel, we will be rooting for you in the months ahead!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Ian knows what to get his Mama for her birthday. For the second year he sent me a KIVA gift certificate.

And seeing as how today I officially became a senior citizen, a golden oldie and one of the first of the boomers to turn 65 I decided to find someone "old like me" to loan my money to.

Now, there's no telling how old is "old" but the KIVA description says Mr. Thai Hong and his wife, Mrs. Sakhorn Sbaung are "old", but still strong enough to work.

Mr.Thai Hong and his wife are rice and lotus farmers who live along National Road Number Six, about 20 kilometers from Phnom Penh Cambodia.

Farming is their main business, and you have to feel respect for anyone, let alone "old" people who can do the back-breaking work of maintaining a rice paddy. They asked for a $500 (USD) loan to purchase seeds, fertilizer and pesticide to maintain their farm.

So, in my small way I hope to give them a bit of a hand, and thanks to Ian for helping me do it! I'll make my regular monthly KIVA loan in a few days when the loan repayments have been credited to my account and the money is available to top up and loan out again.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

As The World Turns

Our little world anyway. Of course it turns daily, on its small pivot. The daily round of cook and clean, the conversation over morning coffee. But it's about to spin 180 degrees.

As much as we have loved it here, and regret leaving neighbours who have become valued friends, we've made the decision to return to Calgary. Many reasons, which I will not belabour, but we are looking forward to being close to Ian, and paradoxically, to Zak and Mandy, since they can combine visits to her family and us.

So we are looking for a condo in Calgary and will put the Beach House up for sale. Hopefully a new owner can be found who will love the flowers and garden, and enjoy the deck, as well as the glorified tin can itself.

Ian is serving as leg-man in Calgary, looking at condos and video-taping them for our inspection. Zak is coming in a couple of weeks to help purge and pack. Everything not essential to daily living will be packed, lots of extra flotsam will be tossed, donated and freecycled. (Amazing the amount of stuff one collects as soon as the wheels stop rolling.)

These four years have been an interesting experience. A good RV park is a community which you settle into, quickly or over time, depending on the situation. At Bel Air we were treated as old friends the day we arrived, as people came and went with the seasons and the atmosphere was very much "Hail fellow well met!".

Here the permanent residents are much more stable, many having been here for 10+ years, and though everyone was friendly and helpful from the first it took longer to find our place. But find it we did, and this has been a wonderful place to live. But we've realized that it's the community around you which makes a situation livable. We lived in a building in Calgary for 11 years, and got to know one neighbour in all that time. You might as well live on a desert island like Robinson Crusoe in one of those buildings.

So while looking for a place to buy in Calgary we found that there's an interesting form of housing there which is not available here. A development company has built four condo buildings with age restrictions - 55+ or 60+. These four buildings offer a wide range of amenities. Each resident owns their condo - an apartment with a complete kitchen, bath, bedroom, living room etc. but all share the building's common amenities. There are daily social activities, a bus for shopping trips, exercise, games and craft/hobby rooms. There's a library and a media/computer room. There are gathering places with comfy chairs, big screen TVs, fireplaces, and a dining room where you can have dinner if you don't feel like cooking. Each building adjoins a park with walking paths.

It's this kind of unit in a community that we are looking for. Alas, along with the age restrictions these buildings have pet restrictions. Only certain areas in each of the buildings will allow a cat and so far we haven't found the perfect match. But we will, or at least we hope so. The realtor just e-mailed to say the second of the three available buildings has enacted a new by-law and now doesn't allow pets. It's frustrating to say the least.

So, while we pack and purge and keep up a constant stream of e-mails with the realtor, the banker and Ian, we remind ourselves not to be sad or anxious that this wonderful phase of our lives is ending, or to worry about finding a new home, but instead to look forward to new challenges, new friends, and a new chapter in our ever-evolving adventure.