transformer Feed

Thinking about pet adoption?

Your-New-Pet_1024x1024

I can't recommend enough how rewarding adopting a pet from an animal rescue or shelter can be.    HomeoAnimal.com has an excellent guide for anyone looking to adopt.  They gathered their information from hundreds of rescue groups and shelters.  I strongly advise you take a look at their guide before you adopt. 

The Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption

I'm not a fan of puppy mills, mall pet stores, etc.  I understand the desire for many is to have a purebred, but I also know some breeders do so primarily as income revenue.  One common myth is rescues and shelters don't have purebreds.  That's not true.  Purebreds have just as much chance as mixed breeds to be offered for adoption.  They don't end up at a swanky hotel for pedigree pets and while away free time perusing a list of potential human companions.  They end up at the same shelters and rescues as lovable mixed breeds. So there's no real excuse for not at least taking a look at the guide above from HomeoAnimal.com.

 


¿Por qué mi café está frío?

"Why is my coffee cold?"

I pour a fresh cup of hot java, take a sip, then set it aside for a few minutes.  The next time I take a sip, there's a noticeable drop in the coffee temp.  I'm a fast coffee drinker normally, so I was at a loss until someone explained what was happening.  

At higher elevations, water starts to boil at lower temperatures.  This is due to the decrease in atmospheric pressure the higher you are in the world.  At sea level, water boils at 212°F.   But at 7500 ft, it boils at 198°F.   Water starts to boil for me at 195°F, since I'm a little higher at 9100 ft.  So with cooking you have to compensate for the lower boiling temp by increasing your cooking time and not the cooking temp.  You can't increase water's boiling temperature, unless you use a pressure cooker.  So if you try increase cooking temps, you'll just boil away water faster and dry out what's being cooked.  I noticed this cooking with chicken.  The meat dried out quickly and I should have covered the dish in the oven to retain the moisture.

So my high altitude coffee never gets as hot as it could if made at sea level, thus it will reaches room temperature faster than a sea-level coffee since it's coming down from it's boiling point of 195 vs sea level's 212.

Speaking of coffee, I'd like to end with a nice graphic from Coffee for Less.

Coffee-bean-growing-belt-1024x556

 

 

 

 


¿Como se llama?

IMG_20170805_152804167
 Camino Antiquo a Nayon

This magnificent view overlooks the back of my neighborhood and the city valley below.  You can see the steep inclines leading up to the apartments.  While breathtaking to look at, it's also breathtaking to walk.  My endurance is slowly increasing as I get use to the high altitude that comes with living in Quito. (9350ft)  I'm getting use to the small hills around my building, but this climb usually requires a minute break just prior to reaching the peak.

One of the first phrases I've gotten use to asking is "¿Como se llama?", since I regularly run into dog walkers.  Lucia has already tallied up friends' names such as, Alberto, Luna, Fidel, Ella, Pepo, and Corky.  All them vary in breeds from German shepherds, Siberian huskies, basset hounds, golden retrievers, schnauzers, shih tzus, and Yorkshire terriers.  The dog park is now a daily stop in Lucia's routine.

IMG_20170804_180043398

IMG_20170805_072959351

IMG_20170804_175858997

IMG_20170804_175315510_HDR

IMG_20170804_175855604
With all the dog walking at a higher elevation, my appetite hasn't quite caught up with the calories I need.  But I've gotten use to forced snacking through out the day and drinking more water to help me adjust.  Some of the popular supermarket chains in the city are SuperMaxi and MegaMaxi.  Since I'm still waiting for my car to arrive, I use a taxi for my weekly shopping.  The taxi rates are surprisingly cheap, usually costing $2 for a one way trip to the store.  A nice tip for the driver helps me get the bags to my apartment door.

Supermaxi

IMG_20170806_175300277
A selection from this weekend's SuperMaxi trip

While it's nice eating familiar name brands (Snickers!), it comes with a higher cost due to obvious import fees.  Fortunately, I've always liked trying local products since it's cheaper and tastes (usually) just as good if not better.

I've been working on my Spanish more now that I'm here.  It definitely helps when you're trying to see more of the city and what it has to offer.  Everyone's been extremely patient and tend to help me as I practice.  I think I called my dad a potato once when I didn't accent papa (papá) correctly.  Sorry Dad, I'll just say padré next time..  

¡Hasta luego!


Departure of state

 

IMG_20170730_085017199_HDR
My new neighborhood


No, I didn't leave the Department of State, but I did leave Virginia for my next assignment overseas.  I've arrived in Quito, Ecuador and started the next chapter in my life.  Adapting to change is a prerequisite for working in the Foreign Service.  The last time I left the country, all I had to contend with was packing up an apartment and getting on a plane.  This time, I had to sort through a full house, prepare the property to be a rental and arrange travel for my faithful companion Lucia.

IMG_20170701_213557471
"For the record, I was not consulted on this."

I've been in Quito for two weeks now and I'm getting use to my surroundings. My apartment is in a beautiful neighborhood and overlooks an amazing vista.  There's a postage stamp-sized park just outside my apartment building and another larger park for dogs just a few blocks away.  This park is Parque Lomas de Monteserrín.  Lucia adjusted quickly as the newest diplomat to the park, she's always ready to go off leash and play with her new acquaintances.  

As I mentioned, the view from my balcony overlooks the valley and on a clear day you can see several volcanos. From my patio I believe my view is of Cotopaxi, Antisana and Cayambe.  I'll add more photos once i have clearer pics.

IMG_20170730_090650131
My patio view

That's all for now.  I'll be posting more in the future now that I'm back online.

 

 

   

 


Project Underground: Accomplished!

Version 3

The entire project has taken over two years to complete but it was well worth it.  The hardest part was the just gutting the basement, letting contractors replace the water displacement system (sump pump and drainage), and then waiting a year before I did any construction to see if water still found it's way into the rooms.

The actual construction took about 14 months. 

Looking back the basement went through many different looks.  It started with the original finished basement with horrible carpet, no insulation, bad plumbing runs, a sump pump pit in the main room, and multiple leaks.

After a few major rainstorms and the loss of power several times, my sump pump just wasn't able to keep up. I knew I had to decide if I was going to redo the basement or give up and just use it as an unfinished basement.  I went with the former and hired contractors to cut up the perimeter of the interior floor, replace the drainage tubing, and move my sump pit.  (See eariler posts)

Jump to a year or so later, and I began the long road towards finishing the basement.  With B's help, I hired plumbers to replace the poor pipe runs that were always in the way.   Next came the carpenters to put up the framing around the rooms.  B and I worked on the electrical after that.  Then along came drywalling. I still have visions of drywall dust lingering everywhere.  Actually, I think I'm still finding places in the house where dust came from the basement.

Then the real fun began with the brick walls, ceramic floor tiles, glass tile back splash, and dri-core flooring projects.  After that, painting began and the light of the end of the tunnel was starting to show.  Next came the engineered hardwood flooring, wall trim, and actually putting all the light fixtures, electrical covers, and final touches into place.

It wasn't until the final weeks of putting in the flooring and touching up the paint that I realized how much work it took to remodel a basement.  My back still shudders at the labor that went into it.  Now when I see drywall waiting to be installed, I can help be think of all the sanding I had to do for mine.

Here's the before shots of the stairway, bar area, and back room when they were completely gutted.  Check out the ugly carpet on the stairs. That use to cover the whole floor.   

So happy that it's finished and I wouldn't change a thing.  And a huge Thanks go out to B and N for all the support and help.  I couldn't have done it on my own.

  Master 001  

Master 002 

Master 006

Master 009