Category Archives: Video

Ecuador Part 3: Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

Standard

Banos, EcuadorIt is pretty much impossible to go to Ecuador and not jump or repel off of something (or so I was told). We chose to head to the town of Banos – right at the edge of the Amazon Basin – to seek out our eco adventures.  And here is where I found myself thinking, I am either the coolest parent in the world…or the most negligent – maybe, they go hand in hand.  But I digress.

First, Banos.  A cute little town nestled in a pocket of the Volcano Avenue.

Banos, Ecuador

Banos, Ecuador,

For the obvious reasons, it is popular with the back packer set as there is no shortage of adventures and beautiful vistas to be found.  The town itself has the same colorful attributes found in other parts of Ecuador:

Banos, Ecuador

Banos, EcuadorIf not a little rustic (in a good way!)

Banos, EcuadorBut, what we really came for was the adventures and we were not disappointed.

Unlike our usual, we (and when I say “we”, I mean my husband) did not do much research as to which company to use.  Something we learned during our time in Ecuador is that Ecuadorians are candidly straight forward.  Generally, what you see is what you get, no hidden agenda or secret costs or over exaggerated offers.  So, we drove into town and went to the first company we came to for our initial adventure:

Banos, EcuadorNo way,  not biking! We are just not ambitious enough for biking up the mountain! (I just like the picture)

Our first excursion was Jeep on and off-roading.  It turned out to be a great way to see the mountains, canyon,waterfalls and almost get killed trying to drive a stick shift up hills and through tunnels (my non-licensed teens may or may not have taken turns driving…but you didn’t hear it from me).

No, I would never let my kid ride on top of the car...never.

No, I would never let my kid ride on top of the car…never.

Next up – Zip Lining across a 600 foot deep canyon.  Again, we just drove along the mountain edge until we came to a Canyon that looked beautiful and walked right into the Zip Line office to sign up.  And here I am going to give Canopy Agoyan a shout out because they were fun, safe and I kid you not, $15 per person to Zip line across the canyon and back.

The main attraction on this zip line was the exhilarating fly over a deep canyon and view of the waterfall pouring into the river at the canyon basin.  We were able to choose how we zipped across, and we chose to fly!

Zip lining in Banos, Ecuador

But all involved agreed, the bungee jumping was hands down the coup d’etat – or, you know, the most fun!  I myself did NOT jump (how stupid do you think I am).  No, I had my kids do it. I stood on the bridge across from the jumping bridge to video and dodge traffic – like this guy who came tearing across the bridge (well, not quite tearing, but I did have to get out of the way…)

Banos, EcuadorIt was at this moment, as I was taking video (by request) that the thought from the beginning of this article occurred to me – either I am either the coolest parent in the world for letting my kids dive head first off a bridge over a rocky river…or the most irresponsible ever (jury is still deliberating).

But, I did not have much time to contemplate because I had to attend to the task at hand…video taping and making permanent record of my parental negligence.

After the first jump facing forward, both Teen1 and Teen2 agreed it was “so fun” they needed to jump again… this time backwards.  Lucky for them, the second jump came at a discounted rate and I am never one to pass up a deal.

It wasn’t until after the event Teen1 and Teen2 pointed out to me on the video(see below) how the handler flipped their feet up and out as they jumped to insure they would clear the bridge (and that they did not try to change their minds)…

Photos just did not do justice – so here goes – a sampling as it were.  One jump forward (Teen1) and one jump backward (Teen2). And yes, that is me screaming in the background:

You game? Or rather, do you have any kids you want to throw off a bridge?

Last post – Lost somewhere in Ecuador.

For other posts on Ecuadorian:

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

For More Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Standard

Quito, Ecuador

“Y’all ever been ta Queeetto b’foa?” …

Were the first words we heard from fellow passenger on our flight to Quito, Ecuador -(picture Forrest Gump meets Yosemite Sam).  Unfortunately, having to answer “No” to this question opened us up to a complete narrative including statements such as “Lordy, Lordy it’s high up in there” (the high altitude?).  Actually, only my husband was treated to the full show (’cause he is too polite), as Teen1, Teen2 and I shrunk into the sanctuary of our devices, picking up only enough one liners from our new friend to be annoying later on.

Starting out the trip under such auspicious beginnings could only mean one thing…of course, a completely memorable travel experience.

Initially the main goal in going to Ecuador was to, duh,  stand on the equator(and to go anywhere warm).  However, in the very first moments in Quito, we fell in love with the country, its people, its mountains, its cities, and its cheap gas!

QUITO – THE CITY

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE PLAZAS

Plaza Grande

Plaza Grande

Quito, Ecuador

Plaza San Francisco

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

PEOPLE WATCHING IN QUITO

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman.

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman as she sold her fruit. I don’t think we helped her sales.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE REAL EQUATOR

Apparently, the original monument, Mitad del Mundo (“middle of the earth”), is not actually in the middle of the earth, but rather 600 feet away from 00 coordinates – who knew? The French scientists, who calculated the original coordinates, did a pretty good job in the 1700’s given the tools of the time.  But like indoor plumbing and shows with zombies, GPS is better.

We tried all the “tricks” at the equator – walking the line with eyes closed (harder than you think) to feel a magnetic pull between hemispheres, balancing the egg on a nail, which is supposed to be easier at 00 (only Teen2 felt the magic), and watching a demonstration of water swirling different directions in the Northern and Southern hemisphere.  Truth or trick?  I have no idea, but we had fun trying to figure it out!

The Equator Water Myth:

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

The symbol of the city – Virges del Panecillo

Virges del Panecillo

She overlooks the city from atop her hill and can be seen from almost anywhere in Quito.

We were able to ditch Forrest Gump at the airport before he made good on his offer to show us around. But he was right about one thing… Lordy, Lordy, it is high up in there!

For more on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Ecuador Part 3:  Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

The Halloween Hamburger Murder

Standard

Happy Halloween, Sweet Spot Style

Video by H

Other Sweet Spot Videos:

Boy Meets Tree

What’s Your Idea of a Good Time?

Every Good Rebellion Deserves Documentation

Sweet Spot Halloween posts:

Nightmare on Doddridge Street

To Spider With Love

Accidental Farmer: The Rest of the Story

Every Good Rebellion Deserves Documentation

Standard

soda ban

Before I had kids, I tried to imagine the type of parent I would be.  In all scenarios, I feel pretty confident I was the coolest, most inspired and creative mom ever!  I also feel fairly confident in none of my Norman Rockwell-esq Mom visions was I referred to as the “food dictator” or “nutrition tyrant”.  But, sadly, these terms have both been used to describe aspects of my parenting.   I all at once resent and resemble these remarks.  It is true, trying to make sure my family is eating healthy and not ingesting poison hidden in food has been a primary goal in my parenting strategy.  My kids would say the goal consisted more of terrorizing them with whole grain bread and massive amounts of broccoli.  But the truth is, I just want them to be healthy, strong and not have strange tumors growing out their ears by the age of 20.

Like any good dictator worth his/her salt, I have had to work very hard to protect my subjects from themselves.  Along the way, this has meant not only supplying them with healthy foods, refusing to purchase foods deemed unworthy and limiting questionable foods, it has also required declaring the occasional all out Ban on the most harmful and unacceptable food creations.

For instance, there was the “Sugar Ban” for my first born when he was 0-2 (he maintains the applesauce sweetened cake I made him for his first birthday  party is a clear cut case of child abuse) and “Sugar-Ban #2” for my second born when he was in preschool (he says he will work it out in therapy later).  Then came the “Soda Ban” , the “Artificial Sweetener Ban” (seriously, ants won’t even eat it),  the “Hydrogenated Oil Ban”(it does such great things for the butt), the “Nitrates Ban” (who cares if your lunch meat is gray?), the “All Plastics and Canned Goods with BPA Ban”, the “Microwave Popcorn Ban” (that one really hurt), the “Doritos Ban” (I believe this was when the term “Nutrition Tyrant” emerged),  and the “Gatorade Ban” (because what better way to reward an athletic body than by dumping flame retardant into it?), to name just a few.

However, the most recent ban left all my subjects shaken and cowering in fear on the kitchen floor…”The Microwave Ban.” You see, a few months back, I decided we had dumped enough microwaves into our bodies for a lifetime and pulled the plug on the microwave – literally.  Playing right into my hands was the fact that the monster had taken to running with the door fully open and at times, refused to shut off.

As if we had never warmed food in the dark ages before microwaves, I began to come upon bizarre and disturbing scenes in the kitchen – soup being heated up in the oven, beans being burned in a frying pan on the stove, blank stares at mugs of water needing to be heated, whole dinners in the oven on the actual dinner plate – or even worse, person trying to eat off the scorching hot dinner plate after coming out of the oven.  But despite begging and pleading on the part of my minions, I unrelentingly held my ground on  “The Microwave Ban”.

History will tell you, every dictator must endure his/her share of rebellion and subversive decent.  I don’t fool myself that there haven’t  been plenty of insubordinate acts occurring behind my back.  Lucky for my kids, they have always found a willing co-conspirator in their Dad. However, with help from sometimes eager informer (Pre-Teen) and my  keen sense of observation (empty Doritos bag in the trash) many of these mutinies did not go undiscovered.

But, with age and oppression comes ingenuity.  One morning, several months into “The Microwave Ban”, I walked into the kitchen to find the microwave missing from its place on top of the refrigerator.  You see, even though I had relieved the microwave of its duties, even my tyrannical heart had not been able to evict it altogether.

Me:  “Where’s the microwave?”

Teen: “Outside.”

Me:  “Ok….why?”

Teen: “We were doing something with it.”

Apparently in the night, Teen had found a willing rebellious accomplice in a friend staying for the night.  They had decided, somewhere after the midnight hour when the dictator was fast asleep, to haul the microwave outside onto the back porch a do what they had always wanted to do…zap stuff you are not supposed to zap in a microwave…ever!

Later the next day, these videos appeared on Facebook:

and the crowning glory – two rebellious acts all at once (I am sure there were some empty soda cans nearby as well)

Because, every good rebellion deserves to be documented.

More tyranny on Sweet Spot:  Down With Fish Tyranny

Payback to the Food Dictator:  The Rebellion Rages On

The Hippie: What’s Your Idea of a Good Time?

Standard

There is this guy who lives in my house.  He has been around for a long time.  Point of fact, I married the guy 17 years ago this week.

He has some special skills:  he can fix most anything, never panics and makes me laugh on a regular basis.

He is fond of sending me notes like this – Destroy This Note After Reading, and this No Joke Left Behind.  And he is never one to shun a gratuitous laugh.

Every once is a while, when he has exhausted his home audience, he takes his “act” on the road…or rather, down the street to our local theatre, where he is sure to find  a fresh group of listeners (victims?) for his humor.

To celebrate my anniversary, I wanted to share the laughter with Sweet Spot readers in the form of a recent performance of his character,  The Hippie.

Gratuitous? probably…Funny? definitely.  In fact,  I can promise you some laughs. The wig alone, should get you started.

Enjoy

The Hippie

How we met:  True Love By Way of a Kitty Dance and a Bucking Horse

Other stuff: Til Death Do Us Part, Which May Be Sooner Than You Think

 

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Standard

I love to laugh.  I don’t believe this could possibly be a secret to anyone.  Lets face it, the internet is filled with funny, ridiculous stuff always ready to give a good laugh (or cry).  But, every once in a while, I come across those items that make me laugh not once, not twice,  but over and over again. I  keep track of these little gems for times when a laugh is desperately needed…like, on a daily basis. I refer to them as the gifts that keep on giving.

The other day, my son was having a bad day.  Why?  Well, because he is a teen and some days are just like that.  So I searched out one of my recent favorite gems.

“Hey, Teen, come here and watch this with me.”

“Why, I’ve already seen that one.”

“I know, come anyway.”

A few minutes and several views later, with laughing tears streaming down our faces, life did not seem so bad.

Good even.

That, is a gift.

Here is my gift to you.

Love, Sweet Spot

Boy Meets Tree

Standard

It’s only funny until someone gets hurt, then it is hilarious

Rest assured – boy is tough, boy walked away with only a few scratches, boy then biked 9 miles down a treacherous mountain trail,

boy thought the video hysterical!

It is always good to laugh, even  especially when it is at yourself.

Sweet Spot: Marlette Lake – Lake Tahoe, CA

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!