Photo Challenge: Containers

Photo Challenge: Containers  From “Don’t judge a book by its cover” to “Don’t look at the jug, but at what it contains” (an old Rabbinic saying), we’re constantly taught that the contents of things are more important than the vessels, wrappers, and boxes that hold them in place. This week, let’s give outer shells their due and focus our lenses on things that contain other things.

I have been learning all sorts of new things from my friend who has dairy cattle on her farm.

Cedo checks the milk storage tank at her farm.

Cedo checks the milk storage tank at her farm.

The milk truck comes every other day to collect the milk.

The milk truck comes every other day to collect the milk.

Before the milk is in the tank, it is in these containers.

Before the milk is in the tank, it is in these containers.

Future containers

Future containers

This one was contained only days before, and may become the father of future containers in the future.

This one was contained only days before, and may become the father of containers in the future.

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Photo Challenge: Relic

Photo Challenge: Relic  Share a photo of what “relic” means to you — it could be your still-running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, an historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.  


A little old house I passed while riding in the country.

This building is right in town, and appears to have been a school for little kids.

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Everyday Greetings

It is always interesting to go back to the US and see how it feels. I think the longer I live in Panama the more I notice the differences because Panama has now become my”normal”. What differences struck me the most this time?

People in the US still seem really tall. At first I had to remind myself to speak English. Everything is expensive. I thought imported items cost a lot here but they seemed even more expensive in the US – not that I buy a lot of anything that isn’t local so I’m no expert, but just daily costs of living are much more. Everything seems neat, tidy, manicured, and cared for. There are generally no holes in the roads and sidewalks, the grass is neatly trimmed, farms are planted in rows, cities are zoned, and there are no chickens running through the neighborhoods.

Most of all, I miss the greetings. People in the US generally don’t make eye contact, don’t greet you, and are a bit startled if you greet them. It just isn’t the way things are done. When you live where everyone greets everyone, all the time, everywhere, you feel like a welcomed part of the community. That is very easy to get used to. Funny how such a simple thing can make daily life feel so different.

In the US, things feel easier. I am totally fluent in the language. Even in an unfamiliar city I have a general idea of how things work. Google will navigate you through bus transfers and roads are clearly marked. In Seattle, all traffic stops if you try to cross the road! But, easy is not what I want. I want the challenge of a new country, culture, and language. I want to see how others think, how they live, how they feel about their world. And, I want to be part of my new world. I want the everyday greetings. My trip was a wonderful and very precious time with important people, but it is also good to be home again. There is a tranquility, an openness, and a joy of living here that I really love.

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Sunday morning in Seattle, my daughter’s husband competed in a triathlon. I had never been to such an event and wanted to see it. It was better than I expected, and quite inspiring!

That was certainly worth getting up for in the morning. I was so inspired by the participants who were as old and older than me. There is no reason you can’t be fit and active at any age. I am definitely getting on my bicycle as much as possible!

This is the end of my photo collections from my USA trip, so I will posting about Panama news for the next month. After that, there are more adventures and travels in the works :D

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Microsoft “City”

I know Microsoft is a big company that had thousands of employees all over the world, but the reality hit home when we went to visit my daughter’s work. She was in Bellevue but when they reorganized the teams and moved some people around, she was moved to Redmond where most of the offices are located.

We started on the main campus which is similar to a college campus, with common areas and many buildings for different teams and parts of the company. Then we visited the East campus where her building is one of many more.

It is one thing to hear numbers, but quite another to actually go somewhere and see what is going on. I cannot imagine starting a little company in my garage, and then seeing it grow to something this immense! How many people work here and what are they all doing?! It looks like every bit of office space is being used, and there are bulletin boards and white boards in the hallways. Even this is only a part of it. There are other offices literally all over the world. If I was young and energetic, it would be so exciting to be a part of something like this.

But, since I am old and at this stage of my life work is considered a four letter word, I was happy to be just a visitor and see the company through my daughter’s eyes.

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We have returned to Panama, but I still have some photos and adventures from our USA visit to catch up on. One of the highlights was a trip to the San Juan Islands to look for orcas. We had problems that turned out to be blessings in disguise.

We had made arrangements to go from Seattle to the islands on the Victoria Clipper, take a whale watching tour, and then return to Seattle that evening. We had a very enjoyable morning trip up through the beautiful islands and waterways to the San Juan Islands. After dropping off passengers, the same boat set out for the whale watching excursion. We were only a few minutes away from the dock when the boat stopped, and then announced that one of the engines wasn’t working properly and we needed to return to the dock.

It was now about noon and the whale watching was cancelled. Arrangements had been made to take the passengers on the 3:30 ferry to Anacortes where they would be met by a bus to Seattle, ETA about 7:30 PM. There were other whale watching tour companies but none of them could get us out and back in time to catch the ferry.

What to do? What to do??  It is a wonderful thing to have kids with good jobs and the means to make things happen when necessary!

Plan B – book a tour, and hire a sea plane to take us back to Seattle!

We ended up on this little boat with 10 passengers, a captain who had been doing tours for years and knew the habits of the orcas, and a naturalist who was full of information about the orcas as well. It was wonderful to be out with a couple people who were so passionate about these whales and the wildlife in the area, and loved sharing it with others. The other big boat could never had been a wonderful as this tour, and we also got extremely lucky. Even the pros were saying we saw more orcas and more interesting behavior that most people see in weeks on the water with these animals.


I wish I had better photos! I had ordered a camera and the company took 11 days to ship it so I had not only left CA when it arrived, I had left the USA. Grrrrr! So, all I had was my iPad.

Anyway, after a fantastic few hours with the orcas, we made our way back to town, had some dinner, and then took the sea plane back to Seattle. What a fun experience!

We spent the rest of the evening walking back to the car through interesting neighborhoods, along the waterfront and through a sculpture garden. We wouldn’t have done this either with our original plans. Sometimes when things go wrong, they can go way better than expected. And, when my daughter called the next day she learned that the boat was going to refund the money for the entire trip! How nice to find out the dent in her bank account wasn’t going to be quite as big as it could have been.

What a day of wonderful experiences!

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The Ferry to Bainbridge Island

Thursday I decided to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, a spot not far from Seattle. It was an easy trip on the bus downtown and a short walk to the pier. The day started off cool and overcast but soon cleared up and became another sunny, beautiful, northwest summer day so it was a really scenic trip.

This is by no means all of the adventure I had in the Seattle area! If I don’t get anything else posted today, I will have plenty of time to prepare photos and blog posts on the way home. I leave early in the morning, meet up with Joel in Atlanta (he has been in Maine and Kansas visiting other family), and then we finish the trip together back to Panama City and David.

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Next Stop, Seattle

My younger daughter lives in the Seattle area. I decided to spend a week here so I could explore the city and the area a bit since I haven’t spent much time here before.  She gave me a card for public transportation so with the help of Google maps and directions, I have been out and about while she and her husband were at work. Except for one unplanned excursion to Tacoma (where I met interesting people on the bus and had fun), I have managed to get where I wanted to go.

It is fun to photograph city scenes, something I don’t usually do. I ordered a small camera which unfortunately didn’t get shipped out in a timely manner so my iPad has been my camera. It takes decent enough photos to keep me entertained for a while though, so I have lots of photos to sort through and share.

These photos were taken over a few days. There will be more coming about specific activities in the days while I have been here. Seattle in the summer is a fantastic place with a lot of both natural and made made beauty, and a lot of things to do.

If you want to know more about the sculpture garden, google “Olympic Sculpture Park”.  It is a part of the Seattle Art Museum.

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Visiting Family

We are back in the US. I haven’t posted anything for many days because I’ve been too busy doing things to talk about them. We have been having a fantastic time!

First stop, California, home of my older daughter and family. It was a short visit because they are busy and working and juggling all the things of a young, working family. It was great to see everyone though! Needless to say, my grandson had changed a lot since we saw him last winter. It was so interesting to see his brain in constant motion watching, learning, and mastering new activities.

Next stop, Seattle, where I have had more time so I have lots of photos and adventures to share.

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New Ads on the Photos

Apologies to all my readers for the ads on the photos. They look so annoying!

From what I have been able to learn, they are something new from Word Ads, the folks who put the ads on the bottom of blog posts. I think those ads are acceptable and I appreciate that they now earn enough to cover my hosting costs.

These new ads on the photos are apparently from Luminate. I have written to WordPress and WordAds support to ask how to get them removed. I also found this op out link.  It might be worth a try.

I hope to get this resolved soon, and meanwhile I thank you all for your patience.


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