Quito, Ecuador–First Day

OK, so I’m not going to add a new article for every day.  We just thought it would be nice to get something out there for our first day.  We got into Quito a bit late so it was after 1:00am today (12/26/2010) when we finally got to our room.  So we got a kind of late start to our day.

We spent the day getting our bearings on the part of Quito we’re located in.  We’re sort of Presidential palaceequidistant between two of the most visited parts of the city, the “Old Town”, ie. the historical central part and the “New Town, known as Mariscal Sucre which is where most tourists find what they’re looking for in the way of entertainment and night life, aka Gringolandia.   Today we walked the major part of the Old Town, including the Plaza Grande, the colonial heart of Quito.

Every other Sunday several streets are closed to vehicles so they are filled with bicyclists and pedestrians.  Today was one of those times.  In several plazas we visited there were musical performances and dancing with large crowds watching and participating.Plaza Grande

We had visited the Mercado Central for breakfast and had the typical Ecuadoran Menu del Dia for lunch.  All in all, a good first day.

Tahoe

IMG_8492Our friends Steve and Wende offered us the opportunity to join them at their beautiful place in Tahoe and get a shot at some skiing before we left for Ecuador.  So on December 10th, Tim and Dinah joined us for a few days of early season skiing at Homewood and Heavenly.  Unfortunately, there hadn’t been any snow since the early storm during Thanksgiving so you had to be alert for rocks and, in the early part of the day, for icy patches.  But, we had a good time anyway.

IMG_8526The good news is that on the 14th, we got a foot of new snow and the following day was picture perfect.  No wind, blue skies and new snow.  Couldn’t get any better.

Dale Hollow 2010

Cooper Family Reunion 2010 089Saturday was rainy and the temp dropped about 15 degrees just before dark.  Sunday morning, the rain turned to light snow.  The spaghetti sauce was late arriving on Friday night.  (Amy, really?)  The kids were alternately raucous and ear splitting in their joy and impressive in their ever increasing maturity and height.  Noah is now apparently the same height as Effie.  Olivia managed to keep her shirt on this year.  Good progress, Alyson.  And naturally, there was too much food.

In the end it was exactly what we had intended.  The Cooper family spending a few hours together away from home, work and distractions.  This was the 8th installment.  Amy presented a slideshow of the first 7 years.  Very nice indeed.  Thanks, Amy.

The annual family gathering at Dale Hollow began on December 2, 2010, as usual, on the weekend following Thanksgiving weekend.  The first night, there was just me and Valerie, my sisters Cynthia and Sheila, Cynthia’s husband Tanny and my brother Hew.  The next day, the others arrived, my nieces, nephews, their children and their spouses, etc.  We occupied the two “Bigfoot Chalets” which are side by side next to Dale Hollow Lake.

We were saddened that some of our group didn’t make it.  We hope that in the future we’ll all be together again.  For 2011, we expect good things and begin looking forward to next year’s event at DH.  Certainly Valerie and I will be turning a new page next year and appreciate all of the good wishes from the family.

Endings

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November 24, 2010 was my last day working at American Honda.  I began there in January 2001.  So it lasted 9 years and just over 10 months.  Actually, they asked me to carry the Blackberry for the next 4 weeks just to answer questions that might come up regarding any details that we didn’t cover in the transition.

I enjoyed the work, basically doing the same thing for the entire stretch.  I was able to work independently with little supervision or intrusion.  I was a contractor so I was not subject to the usual issues facing employees, no annual reviews or no need to chase the next step in the career path.  The work environment was pleasant and without any significant stress or pressure.

At the risk of being overly dramatic, my period of every day work life has ended.  I’m free now to pursue the remainder of my life in a manner of my choosing.  I’m most likely not through with “work” or some activity related to earning money but my plan is to be through with going to work every day, all day.

Let’s move on.