Monthly Archives: October 2007

Stereotypes

We all know the stereotype….  Latino men are machista and women are subject to their menfolk.  North America is much more liberated and women are considered equals (or at least more equal than in other countries).

If Latin American countries think that men are superior to women,  how have they managed to get 2 female presidents elected in the last 18 months?  Argentina just elected their first female president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Apparently Isabella Peron was not elected).  Last year, Chile elected Michelle Bachelet Jeria as their president.   Other Latin American countries that have had female presidents are: Panama and Nicaragua. The US hasn’t elected a single female president and sadly, Canada’s only female Prime Minister lasted a paltry 5 months.   So much for equality of the sexes!

I found an interesting website that lists female presidents around the world.  I discovered the additional following countries have had elected female presidents:  Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, The Philippines, Germany, Liberia, India, Iceland, Malta, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Latvia, Finland, Indonesia, United Kingdom,  Dominica, Norway, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Mozambique.   The list was actually longer but included women who were acting presidents which is not the same as being elected by the will of the people.

Stereotypes are simply generalities that we use to fit people into nice neat little boxes so we can relate to them.  The problem with generalities is that they don’t always fit the specifics and we do a huge disservice to the individuals that we deal with if we treat them based on the general stereotypes.   Just my thought for the day.

Update on Tire Saga

Thanks for the tip Benney!  The door sticker says 35PSI (we had inflated them to 40) so we will be deflating our tires tonight to 34-36 PSI. 

A mish-mash

  Hallelujah!  I have a quilt finished.  Or finished enough to call it finished.  I need to sit down for a movie or two and pull the thread ends into the inside of the quilt while I am watching.  The second quilt is hopefully on target to get finished this weekend.  I am not sure as I am binding it differently.  Both quilts were supposed to be bound with a ‘self-created’ binding.  In other words, the back or the front is a little bigger and it gets turned over to the other side to create the binding.  This happened successfully in the first quilt.  I made the front a little bigger and turned it over to the back to create the binding.  Unfortunately,  I somehow made some type of measuring mistake and the quilt back on the second quilt is about 1/4 inch too short in a spot or two so I will have to take some of the left-over backing and create a binding to attach to the quilt.  This is a multi-day process that I will be starting tonight! 

We decided to look at the PSI rating on the tires after some advice that we received.  The rating on the tires was 44PSI.  Perhaps 30PSI really is a little low despite the fact that the SUV didn’t complain about all of the tires.   We went to our local gas station and figured out how to use the AIR thingie and filled the tires up to 40PSI.  For some reason, one of the tires didn’t want to register 40PSI immediately.  We were debating whether or not we should wait for the customer after us (and he waited a long time for us to inflate our tires!) to finish so we could check our tires when the little alarm blipped off.  I am still not convinced that this technology is the greatest thing since sliced bread but I am willing to admit that it might have been right.

This weekend zoomed by so quickly.  Where does it go?  Saturday we headed out to Manassas so Eduardo could apply for a job.  We did some shopping in some specialty Hispanic grocery stores then went to our favourite Peruvian chicken restaurant and had their yummy roasted chicken.  It is absolutely to die for.  Afterwards,  some grocery shopping then hanging out at the house until Eduardo headed out to a party that a friend of his was having.  I decided not to go this time.

Sunday,  Eduardo made some masamoro morado for breakfast.  Apparently, this is a very common breakfast in Lima.  It is sort of like runny Jello.  I liked the taste of it but I found it a little sweet for a breakfast.   We had some for an after-dinner dessert and I liked it much better then.  After, we cleaned up the house and headed out for a late lunch at a Peruvian restaurant in Arlington.  Again… absolutely yummy.  This time, we had ceviche.  The first time I ever tried ceviche was on a date with another Peruvian several years ago.  I did not like it at all and my date said that the ceviche was not well-made.  Eduardo didn’t pressure me to try it again because he knew I had tried it once.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, we were invited to a birthday party of one of Eduardo’s friends.   The menu was… ceviche!  I told him I would try it again and keep an open mind.  If I didn’t like it again then it was obvious that I didn’t like ceviche and we would leave it at that.  Her home-made ceviche was absolutely delicious.  I could have ate it until I exploded.   I guess my date was right… it was poorly made.

On the way back from the restaurant, we decided to  drop in at a liquidator store.  We were curious what the  store was like.  Both of us ended up buying some much needed clothing.  I only had a couple of long sleeve shirts for winter and yesterday I had just discovered a major hole in my weekend pants.  We now have some winter clothing in our closet.   They had lots of toys there so we will have to go back to do some Christmas shopping.

I tried another recipe from my Peruvian cookbook.  This did not go over well.  The instructions were not clear enough to get the right consistency and the meal didn’t taste at all like Eduardo expected.  We have agreed that it is better if I don’t tell Eduardo that I am making something from the book.  This way, he won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t turn out at all like he expects.  In fact, this one went over so poorly that he doesn’t even like the meal.   Total of 3 recipes: One was good but not what we were expecting; one was perfect; one was a total failure.

 

Old-fashioned can be good

Every day I
am finding out new things about our Patriot.  Shortly after I bought
it,  I discovered that it comes with a flashlight that pops out of the
ceiling in the back of the vehicle.  Yesterday, I realized that I had a
back windshield wiper and I figured out how to use it.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that we have a sensor on the vehicle that
tells us if our tire pressure is low.  Doesn’t this sound nifty if you get
a slow leak?  This feature is only nifty right up until you realize that
the sensor is screwed!  It has come on multiple times to tell us that the
tire pressure is low in one or more tires but the vast majority of times, the
tire pressure in the ‘bad’ tire is exactly the same as the other tires. 
If 29 or 30 PSI is good enough for the other tires, tell me why its not good
for the tire that it is flashing the warning about!  It makes no sense
whatsoever.

Last time, it complained about 1-3 tires each time I turned on the engine. This
went on for several days then finally stopped.  Only the front passenger
tire seems to be safe from the low pressure sensor.  Every time,  at
least 1 tire (or all tires) will be at exactly the same pressure as the tires
that it is not complaining about.  Well… that silly sensor is acting up
again today. It says that a tire pressure of 29 is not correct for 3 out of the
4 tires.  And what is the tire pressure of the fourth tire you ask? 
Why 29!!!!

I am starting to think that the old fashioned technology of just looking at the
tires is about as accurate as this new-fangled sensor!  Progress is not
always good.

I have to shake my head

I mentioned briefly that Eduardo’s new job was not everything we had hoped for.  He went to interview for one job and got another job that he wouldn’t have even interviewed for.  He is trying to be a good sport and think positively about the fact that he will learn things on the job and practice his English but in reality he absolutely hates this job and it is a torture for him to show up every day.  He has been checking out the newspaper and craigslist to find a new job.

Sunday,  he sees several jobs that are part-time but pay quite a good hourly wage.  The result is that the part time work would actually equal the wages he is working now.  This sounded like a good deal for several reasons so I helped him put together a response to the two jobs and we fired it off.

He got a response back yesterday.   He received a nice little letter saying that they were sending this email because he responded to a job posting.  This email was an advertisement for a job to cash cheques.  All you needed to do was cash their cheques in your bank account and then wire the money to them minus your commission of course.  It definitely sounded like one of those scams where the cheques are bogus and they get your money and you are left with bounced cheques!

Later last night, he saw an ad for the same company that he applied to on Sunday.  Let’s just say that this ad was probably the real ad.  The hourly rate was actually less than what he is making now.  Something that we thought was strange was that the previous ads didn’t point the job hunter to a web page to apply.  And indeed, the real job had a web page to go apply to the position.  It makes me strangely incensed to see people prey on others who are potentially down on their luck or at the very least just simply trying to better their position in life.   The job advertisement that they responded back with sounded legitimate.  I could easily see someone who wasn’t as educated or maybe just a touch too trusting signing up for said job and getting totally screwed over.  My guess is that most people who would apply for these jobs would hardly be in a position to be able to afford to lose any money to a scam and yet its these people that the scammers are targeting.  It doesn’t seem fair that you can’t even apply for a job without running the risk of being scammed.

Cancer Free

As soon as I saw the letter in the mail I knew I was home free.  Nobody… absolutely nobody… sends you a letter saying you have cancer and you need to go to the office.  For that, you get a phone call to make a doctor’s appointment.  Surprisingly enough, I really hadn’t been worried about it.  I have just been too busy going to work, dealing with the quilts and the other minutiae in my life.

I am so close to being done with quilting the second quilt.  I have the entire center part finished and now just need to deal with the border.   My hope is to be finished with the quilts by Nov 6th. Yippee!!!

This has been a hot fall.  Normally I would think that is fantastic but they have already turned over to the heating so we have no air conditioning in the condo.  Last night, our condo was so hot that you just couldn’t get any energy together to do anything.  (OK, I did my homework)  We even ended up sleeping separate because it would have been a torture to have the body heat of the other person next to us.   It is supposed to cool down today so hopefully tonight or tomorrow will be better.   Tomorrow, we are heading out to the hills to go hiking and hopefully enjoy the fall foliage.

The mystery of airline ticket pricing

I have to admit that I have often been puzzled about airline ticket pricing.   It is only marginally more expensive to go to Guatemala than it is to Canada.  It is more expensive to go to Los Vegas or Puerto Rico (both within the US) than it is to to go to Guatemala.  Hawaii is only marginally more expensive than Los Vegas but twice as far away.  Does any of that make sense to you?  If you thought that didn’t make sense… try this:

I booked tickets for the kids to come from Peru to DC.  We did this through Spirit Air because they are the cheapest BY FAR!!!

I started by looking at the prices for November and December.  I discovered that prices go up after Dec 10th and naturally it is more expensive to go on weekends.   This left us with finding a flight before Dec 10th on a week day.

We only need one way tickets so I priced one-way through Spirit Air.  1561$ for all the tickets for Dec 10th.  OUCH!   That is a little expensive.  Spirit Air is  very cheap from Lima to Miami so I thought… why not price both legs of the trip separately and pick up a national carrier from Miami to DC?  I checked Orbitz and to price them separately was just about 1100$.   Interestingly enough,  Spirit Air was on Orbitz and their Miami  to DC flight was one of the cheapest.   So we could either go with a national carrier or just buy the Spirit tickets on Orbitz.  It seems a weird way to go but hey… whatever works.  This was Friday.

Sunday rolls around and we decide to actually buy the tickets.  I went trolling for prices on Spirit Air and found tickets for Dec 6th that were 125$ cheaper for the Lima to Miami leg.  This was also the moment when I discovered that booking tickets on SpiritAir.com from Lima to Miami and then from Miami to DC  was cheaper than purchasing a ticket from Lima to DC.  It was 600$ cheaper to be exact.   Does this make any sense at all?  Can anyone justify paying 600$ just to get their luggage from one plane to the next without having to pick it up in-between?  That is totally insane.  On a whim, I then decided to check out the price of a round-trip between Lima and DC although they didn’t need a round trip.  If they left Dec 5th and came back Dec 7th, a round trip was 1058$ about 50$ to 60$ more than purchasing the two one way legs separately and considerably cheaper than the same one-way ticket.   If they left Dec 6th and came back ANY DAY,  the minimum price for a round trip was 1800$+  Tell me what possible difference there is between leaving Dec 5th and Dec 6th that would justify almost doubling the price?

To recap Spirit Air’s pricing:
Lima to DC purchased one way: 1561$
Lima to Miami then Miami to DC one way: 1002$
Lima to DC round-trip leaving Dec 5th: 1058$
Lima to DC round-trip leaving Dec 6th: 1800$+

So we decided to go with the round-trip leaving Dec 5th so they wouldn’t have to deal with re-checking in their luggage.  I can justify that for 57$ more.  It is a huge convenience for very little extra money.

And at the end of all this,  I am considering myself lucky that I managed to find a reasonable price for them.  It definitely takes some research to figure out the cheapest way to travel by air.