Sunday, November 23, 2008
I had never been over 110 pounds in my life (of course, except when I was pregnant)! When I ended in the hospital drama (between July and late August) I ended down under 100 pounds. I thought something was really wrong... but contrary, it seems that whatever the Dr's took out of me, it's weight is multiplying.
Yesterday I weighted myself and I was 128!!!! 128!!!
I have had to go clothes shopping the last 2 weeks because most of my pants don't fit me for my life. I am frustrated, I have never wore anything over a 3, they where even huge sometimes and my last pair of purchased jeans (less than 3 days ago) was a 7 and pushing it!
I do not understand, I don't feel fat, I do notice a bit of a less shapely waist, but nothing to worry about.
I have been eating, I would say a bit more than normal, but again, nothing to worry about.
As usual, Horacio says its all good, that he does not see me fat, he loves me, no?
I'll try to take some half decent pictures so you guys can see what I am talking about.
I'll update you all on the move in couple of days.
Love ya all,
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Between birtday celebration and a darn throat infection I have been somehow busy. Thank you all for your wonderful birthday wishes and if you have not said anything yet it's ok. I celebrate the whole month. :)
On Saturday I had a great day (that would be 11/1. Had lunch @ Johnny Rockets and then for dinner we went to Boston Lobster Feast. I still have no idea as to how or where I acommodated all that food. Furthermore, after thta day I've become a vaccumm cleaner when it comes to food. I don' seem to be gaining any serious weight, but my pants seem to finally fit correctly.
Horacio took me shopping in between meals. Aeropostale had a great deal on tank @ .99 each so I took like 12 I think, all very cute. Then we went to Charlotte Russe and there he threw the wallet out the wndow. 2 pairs of jeans (not the cheap kind) and couple of blouses at regular price. I am still in awe. I love this man, even if he did not got me nothing at all.
Now, Sunday, the pain in my esophagus was too much to bare so I ended up in the ER surprinsigly enough I was in and out in 3 hoiurs. The medications they gave me this time worked like a charm. It may have something to do that by coincidence the same Dr. that sent me home on July 9 was the same Dr. that took care of me his time. I have a feeling that my case ended up in review because she even apologize for sending me home that day. She said that she should have admitted me. I told her that it was water under the brigde. All forgotten as I am all good now. more later. writing from cell
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina
(AP) Argentina's capital Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city best experienced through its monumental passions rather than its monuments.
Argentines adore steak and red wine dinners that stretch on for hours, the sultry nostalgia of tango dance halls, a nail-biting match between rival soccer titans and spirited conversations that keep the vibrant cafe culture humming - and their fervor is contagious.
Visitors get the most out of their stay delving into these pockets of passion in Argentine life, rather than scurrying from cathedral to war monument - many of which are often less impressive than their European counterparts.
When London or New York City has called it a night, portenos - as Buenos Aires' port-dwelling residents are called - are just putting on their dancing shoes, heading out until dawn to tango halls, clubs pounding experimental cumbia music or bars that only kick out frolickers once the sun comes up.
The city is also a bargain compared to Europe or the U.S. The Buenos Aires tourism industry has grown accustomed to the steady wave of visitors since the Argentine peso plummeted to a third of its value following a devastating 2001 economic crash. While some tourist hot spots have hiked up prices, there are ways to keep costs down while exploring portenos' many passions.
Many cultural activities are free thanks to hefty government subsidies and a political push to uphold Buenos Aires' reputation as one of Latin America's cultural reference points.
Browse the city's Spanish-only cultural Web site for a list of free tango and jazz performances and film festivals. Or visit the city's biligual tourism site for self-guided tours and free goings-on.
Now, for the first local passion, according to portenos: beef. Argentines lead the world in beef consumption, eating an average of 65 kilograms (143 pounds) per person a year.
When choosing one of the city's ubiquitous grills, or parrillas, steer clear of Puerto Madero. The city's newest neighborhood is also one of its most expensive. Stop in one of its upscale restaurants for a glass of Malbec red wine for about 18 Argentine pesos (U.S. $6) along the docks. But then head a few blocks east to the Costanera. Here dozens of grill stands serve up hamburgers and the like for around 6 pesos (U.S. $2), right at the entrance to the Nature Reserve - a favorite haunt for bird watchers and Sunday strollers.
Rent a bike nearby in San Telmo at La Bicicleta Naranja (Pasaje Giuffra 308) for 8 pesos (U.S. $3) an hour to pedal through the reserve to the banks of the Rio de la Plata, one of the widest rivers in the world. It's best to visit the park and the Costanera on a weekend afternoon, rather than at night.
Few dances are as passionate as the tango, next on the list of local obsessions.
But few stops on the tourist "to do" list are more expensive than an elaborate tango show, which can run upward of 300 pesos (U.S.$ 100) per person with dinner.
Go to a tango dance hall, or milonga, instead, where entrance is usually around 15 pesos (U.S. $5). Most people go to dance, but you can sit and have a drink while dozens of intertwined couples prove romance isn't dead.
Just don't look too intently at anyone - in milonga etiquette that's a sign you want to dance. If a muse does inspire, however, many milongas offer inexpensive classes before the regulars hit the floor.
Explore the early days of tango in colorful La Boca neighborhood with Cicerones. They offer personalized tours in English led by volunteers who love sharing their inside local knowledge. They can take you to the city's best museums or famed soccer stadiums like Boca Juniors "Bombonera." Cicerones recommends reserving five days in advance and a donation of 30 pesos (U.S. $10) per person for the three-to-four-hour tour.Divide the weekend by neighborhood - Saturday, Palermo, and Sunday, San Telmo - to be sure catch each barrio at its best.
Head to Plaza Cortazar - or Plaza Serrano as it's popularly called - to delve into the almost comical frenzy of consumerism that make portenos some of the most stylishly attired people in Latin America. Eager to capitalize on the neighborhood's notorious trendiness, real estate agents have aptly dubbed the area Palermo SoHo.
Hit up the ring of bars and restaurants encircling Plaza Serrano. They temporarily stop serving on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m.-8 p.m., opening their doors to dozens of young designers who transform the bars into impromptu stores, selling shirts, purses and accessories on the cheap. Outside, scores of artisans sell handicrafts.
After shopping around Plaza Serrano, relax with a glass of wine for about 10 pesos (U.S. $3) and gloat over bargain buys while deciding where to go for dinner.
Great eats in the area include Social Paraiso (Honduras 5182) and the popular La Cabrera parrilla (Cabrera 5099), where diners can split a gluttonous 2-pound steak for less than 54 pesos (U.S. $20). With each bite you begin to understand the buzz about Argentine beef.
Confer with the online restaurant guide, a helpful local version of Zagat's.
If an after-dinner coffee puts a kick in your step, head out for a cocktail for about 15 pesos (U.S. $5) in preparation for the next leg of the never-ending Buenos Aires night: dancing. There's no need to rush: Most portenos wouldn't be caught dead at a club before 2 a.m. Popular clubs in the Palermo area include Niceto Club and Pacha, where entrance is less than 50 Argentine pesos (U.S. $15).
Take a taxi. Even crossing the city, it will rarely cost more than 30 pesos (U.S. $10). Radio Taxi is the safest option.
Ease your transition back into daylight Sunday morning with the typical Buenos Aires breakfast: a cafe con leche, fresh-squeezed orange juice and three croissants, or medialunas, for less than 15 pesos (U.S. $4).
Pick up Spanish-daily Pagina12 and flip to the supplement Radar, which has one of the best weekly cultural calendars.
Other great cafes are La Biela (Av. Quintana 600) - under an enchantingly expansive tree and right across from the must-see Recoleta Cemetery where Eva "Evita" Peron is buried; the classic Cafe Tortoni (Av. De Mayo 825/29); Bar Britanico (corner of Brasil and Defensa) and Las Violetas (Av. Rivadavia 3899).
The neighborhood of San Telmo is a microcosm of porteno charm, with its elegantly decrepit 19th-century buildings, cobblestone streets and a quirky mix of expatriates and Argentines who all frequent the same butcher shop in the 1897 San Telmo indoor market.
The neighborhood hosts a not-to-be-missed festive street fair every Sunday, running for 10 blocks along Defensa Street.
Meander all morning without spending a cent, listening to live tango orchestras, laughing at street performers and people-watching. One of the better parrillas in the city, Desnivel (Defensa 855), is on the route, where you can get a juicy steak and a good bottle of Malbec red wine for less than 65 pesos (U.S. $20). Or try La Brigada parrilla around the corner (Estados Unidos 465).
Grab a slice of cheese-filed pizza, called fugazza con queso for about 3 Argentine pesos (U.S. $1), at Pirilo's (Defensa 841), a tiny joint with standing room only. Accompany it with the traditional cup of moscato, an Italian sweet wine.
The most local charm for your pesos is on the bar stools at Carlos Calvo 471, where you can buy a choripan for about 3 pesos (U.S.$ 1) - chorizo sausage on baguette bread, an Argentine favorite. Pile on the chimichurri sauce and be mesmerized watching the owner tend a grill full of meat.
Stick around for the free outdoor milonga from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on Plaza Dorrego, held every Sunday, weather permitting.
Another Sunday option is the Feria de Mataderos, a gaucho arts and crafts fair with folk dancing and traditional food from Argentina's north - about half an hour from the city center. The free fair is held Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless it rains, and is well worth the short trip.
A nighttime diversion is walking along Buenos Aires' luminous theater strip, Corrientes Avenue. Catch a show or movie (English-language films are subtitled rather than dubbed) and then eat some Argentine pizza - a delicious missing link between thin crust and deep dish. Sweeten the night with a dulce de leche ice cream.
You'll have to sleep some time, and boutique hotels are surprisingly affordable in Buenos Aires, with double rooms for around 500 Argentine pesos (U.S.$150). Check out: Hotel Home; Hotel Bobo and Malabia House.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I had to remember to make the "calls and texting" as required and needed. It was very odd. And another thing, while autum and winter is rapidly approaching here in Florida, in Argentina, it's the beginning of spring getting close to summer. ODDDDDDDDD!!!!
One thing I must remember is to hit the Old Navy Store before we go south as the winterwear is really affordable there because we don't really have a winter. Trendy gloves and scarves @ 5.00 is a deal hard to beat.
I have been feeling rather good the last few weeks. I get tired easily but I feel like I am in great general health.
I have been able to eat basically everything, even what I cook. Therefore, I have been cooking a bit more. Missed the taste of a home cooked meal by me, Horacio is a great cook, but the taste is his taste.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
She did not mess up, I thought she was gonna make me go to stitches in the debate. Honestly, she held her ground but.... She did not bring anything new to the running. She basically defended a man that she barely knows. But the intensive training seemes to have worked.
By the way, if you do not know what the heck am I talking about? Well it is about the Vice Pres candidate for the Reps. Governor Sarah Palin.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I have already made arrangements to start driving again on Monday, hopefully everything will work out OK. We are so darn broke and we need to start working the financial side to get the heck out of the USA and on our way to Argentina.
The other drivers I've spoken to say that the job is so slow, but I know I'll do fine... Just need couple of weeks to get used to the beat again.
I guess that if my blogging was slow, now it will be once a week or so, unless I take the laptop daily, maybe I will. AFter all, if it that slow, I may as well take the Laptop.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Who the heck dropped the ball or decided to look the other way? How long did they think that the US economy was gonna hold?
What I want to understand is...
How is this 700 Billion dollars going to help me and my neighbors, how is that money going to help the 2700 ex-employees of Bill Heard Chevrolet, that out of nowhere where told yesterday that the company was shutting down and yesterday was the last day of work and pay?
How is this 700 Billion dollars are going to help people like Horacio and I, we work driving taxis in a Touristic Area, if there are no Tourists...then we have no income.
We are the entrepreneurs that try and survive with the breadcrumbs of what the Hospitality and Theme Parks Industry leave on the roadside.
The parks are so empty... It's ridiculous, the people that are in town for the Neurosurgeons Convention (that normally would create a very good economic week for the taxi drivers in this town) have been provided Bus transportation by the convention center.... sucks!!!!
Then at night the convention has also arranged for bus transportation to wherever they will meet that night, let it be Downtown Disney or CityWalk....
Ahhhh and speaking of how much more bad can it get? Pleasure Island will close down for renovations on Friday or Saturday!!!! I know it is needed, but it will definetively put more strain in the drivers income or possibility of income.
While people go to Downtown Disney because of the restaurants and shopping, thursday thru sunday Downtown Disney is the center of the quick runs and easy money. What else is this country going to do to kill the independent self employed citizen?
Well I had a Doctor's appointment last Tuesday which was supossed to be the last one for full discharge, but the Doctor did some weird movements while examining me and actually hurt me. Therefore, he gave me more meds and gave me 12 more days of "rest"... Ohhhh frustration. I need to get back to work, I need to get out of this house, we have bills to pay, money that we need to save. Poor Horacio is killing himself day and night and we are hardly and barely making it month by month.
Anyway, today @ 3PM should be my LAST DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT. I'll keep you posted. If everything goes well, I should be back working my van sunday or monday.
I have couple of things in my head, but I'll write them in different posts.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
7 years ago, at this precise time (7:31 am) I was hopping on the J Train from Brooklyn to Broad Street (off Wall Street). At around 8:20AM, I was walking into the South Tower Concourse to go get my breakfast. Normally I'd go straight to my office and have breakfast later (around 9-9:30) but that day I was hungry early, so I went to breakfast.
8:46 AM - I was on the line to grab breakfast, when the whole floor started shaking, as if we where having a 3.0 or so earthquake. Next thing we know is that all the fire alarms around us starting going off but people thought it was just nothing, not many people paid too much attention to it.
Next thing we know is that the Fire Dept Personnel started running around the concourse screaming to get out in an orderly manner. We had no clue what was going on at all. They would not tell us, they just said to get out.
I come out the same way I came in, south entrance, facing Deutsche Bank... As I finally made up to the street level and looked outside, I saw people running in all directions and screaming, looking towards the north tower, high up. I could not see what they where looking at.
I did notice that there was a lot of strange debris floating in the air... Papers, what appeared to be ashes, but very weird type....
The firemen where telling everyone that "something" had hit the north tower and they where taking care of it, to just go to Broadway (2 blocks east).
I started walking up towards Rector & Broadway (the corner of my office) towards Trinity Church. I had a very important international conference call at 9AM. It was already 8:55 as I ran as fast as I could. When I actually got to the corner mentioned before, I decided to finally look back towards the tower to see what the heck was going on.
I freaked out, the hole on the north tower was rather big, the something must have been huge, the tower was obviously "cut". I started walking ino 65 Broadway and got into the elevator to get to my 5th floor office. Made it in the nick of time ... the phone was ringing already for my conference call.
Got inside my office, closed the door and joined the conference call with Canada. As I joined, many of the participants was aware of my location and started asking me if I had seen anything. I commented on my recent experience and what my receptionist had told me as I was walking in, that the rumor was that a Helicopter had crashed into the north tower.
All this took about 3 minutes to discuss, we started the actual meeting and as I was on the speakerphone with everyone hearing all my background noise, suddenly, a deafening noise (like something breaking the sound barrier right over me) and I turned to the window that faced Bank of NY (all reflective windows on their side, not clear windows) I witnessed the second plane hitting the south tower with my own 2 eyes, thru the reflection. All the conference got quiet, I excused myself after telling them what I had seen, I started to run around my office doing the head count as the whole building shook with the closeness of the plane to the surface and the consecuent explosion.
Everyone was there, except my boss, Chris was at JP Morgan, by Battery Park with a new recruit that was to start working there that very day.
I started trying to get him using the landlines to call his cellphone but, by this time, all cellphone line where dead and unusable. I started getting all the people from the office down to the lobby to join the other offices to finish the head count and get out of there.
I gathered all the employees outside of the main entrance of 65 Broadway and told them to try to get home and that we would work remotely as we all had the capacity to do such. That we would play it by ear as I was not really sure what was going on or what was going to happen later.
I was stupid, I just walked back up to my office, hoping to get a hold of Chris somehow. When I walked back into the office, the switchboard was flashing more than a Xmas Tree. I sat down on the reception and started fending and answering calls. One of the calls was from Eliott from PR, that working on the news in PR saw more than I did as he had video footage already. I called my house to tell them I was fine and on my way home.... somehow.
He was the one that explained what the news was saying and what the rumors where. I thanked him for the call. Other calls where from our home office, I reported what actions I had taken and the fact that I had not been able to get a hold of Chris yet. They told me to just get out. I proceeded to go around the offices shutting down the computers. By the time I finished Chris walked into the office, asking me, what was I still doing there, I answered, trying to find you. We walked outside together and agreed to try to get a hold of each other over landlines later today.
I struggled to get to the Broad Street Station, most people where going against the way I was going, so it was a pain. It was already around 9:25 or 9:30, I can't remember.
As I was getting close to the station a loud roaring noise was coming from my back, like from the WTC area, I did not want to stay around to find out what would that be. Walked inside the station and miraculously, a train was just there with doors open. I saw this from the stairs and started running so I can get to the turnstyle and inside the train... The roaring sound got louder and closer.... As I made my way into the subway car, a big white cloud covered me from top to bottom, and the doors closed.
As we started to move, there was about 5 people in the car. Everyone was quiet, more than usual, their faces where obviously with looks of deep shock.
Suddenly, somebody open their mouth to say, isn't this train going too slow? Indeed, the route that normally would take 5-6 minutes to the bridge, was apparently taking over 12 maybe even 15 minutes.
As we finally made it outside of the tunnels to the bridge that was bringing us to Brookly, my cellphone signal bounced from another tower and I got a call from home. I was asked where I was and I said... the bridge, they asked me if I could see from there to the WTC area, I said... Yes, the fire must be very dense, because I only see one tower and lots of heavy dense smoke.
This is when I found out that one tower had collapsed, I basically screamed, the other people in the car asked me and without hanging up I told them, also I was asked via phone, if I knew about the other stuff, I was like "What other stuff?"
This is when I was told about the Pentagon and the missing plane from Logan. At the same time, the Subway's PA went off telling us that Lorimer St. (first stop in Brooklyn) would be the end of the line for us. That the city had suspended all subway service until further notice. That buses would pick us up and run around all the subway stops. I notified the person calling from home that I should be home in less than 1/2 hour. I asked him to check the girls schools as I was fully aware that the ones in the elementary school had a clear view of Downtown and also 2 of my girls knew my complete schedule for the mornings because the week before was bring your daughters to work day and they knew where I was supossed to be at in the mornings.
I got out of the train in Lorimer St. Walked downstairs, and as most of the people that came down with me, we live in Brooklyn, we work in the City, we DONT KNOW BROOKLYN. Most people know how to get from your house to specific places that you need to know. We where all lost and confused, no buses where coming about, 10, 15, 25 minutes. I suddenly had an epiphany, walk under the elevated rails, I knew where the rail divided to go to the L line, so I just had to walk underneath the rails. The only problem was that I had not a clue as to how far I was from my destination.
I decided to call my family in PR to let them know that I was OK. Hoping my signal would bounce from the tower it bounced before. Unfortunatelly, it seemed that every Boricua in NY was calling PR or viceversa, all lines where busy.... frustrating.
I was able to get a call from home thou and the person asked me if I knew where I was and I said Broadway and Black.... Next thng I know, about 10 minutes later, ther he was, picking me up. We drove to the girl's school to get them.
I walk into the principal's office and I sign them out.... My daughters saw everything, more even than what I saw. They actually thought I was inside the Towers at the moment based on the itinerary we followed the week before. Thank God I was not. I would normally be having breakfast @ 9-9:30.
I am tired, physically and emotionally right now. I'll continue later.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Well, I'll be darned, he was right!
I was rather uncomfortable for a bit there, sitting straight in a van is nothing I have done in about 2 months, but I got used to it after a while.
He asked me to go because after his regular shift he had to go get all his van tires replaced and that would bring him back home rather late and he did not want me to stay alone for all that time. So there we go.... I went with him.
I felt good, strange (maybe because of the actual outdoors) but good. He treated me with fast food dinner (what a delicacy after 2 months with "diet" food, the fries tasted heavenly), which he normally he avoids with passion, he's not really a fast food eater, so it was a double treat for me.
I thought that I was going to regret it all this morning, but seems that I was wrong. I feel rather fine today (except the normal belly bloating, I have surrendered the complaining about this), have ate a healthy helping of grapes and other finger foods, yeah, I can't think about cooked food done by myself yet. That is still Horacio's department, but I still have to eat, no?
Well, seems that my recovery is actually jumping leaps and I'll be back running around in circles in no time.
Ohhh another thing, the relocation seems to have been rescheduled, We are looking now towards March, April 2009. We need to recover financially of this economic disaster that my illness has tuned out to be.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
On August 13th, 2008; I had my last surgery, supposedly to be out of the hospital the very next day, but as usual with me, things got a bit complicated and I ended up staying in the hospital until tuesday, yeah, 6 darned days.....
More complications, more blood transfusions, more medications, more poking and probing, yeah my arms have the proof.... Black and blues all over the place. Nobody seems to be able to make a decent IV puncture on me. Well, maybe because I had run out of decent veins, when you are anemic, well your veins are plain dry.
Now the question would be, How do I feel now? I have no clue! I have no real pain, I mostly feel bloated and constantly uncomfortable. It's difficult to stand up for more than 5 minutes straight. I barely get any sleep (thanks to the meds the doctors gave me) I am tired 24/7. I can hardly eat solid foods without getting nausea, well that is actually getting better, now I can eat, but as Gid is my witness, I can't go into the kitchen to cook for my life. I get very fatigued just thinking about it.
My hero through all this has been my Horacio, I don't know how he's doing it. He works like a maniac, comes home to cook for us, clean up, take care of me and tends to my every need. He's been so slefless throught all this. I love him.
Our move to Argentina is still in place, maybe couple of weeks delayed right now. Finances are very tight, he's the only one bringing money into the household. I can't wait till I can go back out to work, maybe couple of weeks, I really don't know much about that. Some people say it should take 3-4 weeks after surgery, some other say that 6-8 weeks is what I need to feel A-OK. Right now I am leaning to the latter.
By the way, I forgot, my HD controller in my desktop went bananas so, while I know what the problem is, we curently have no moolah to fix it. So it will have to wait. So now I only have the darn laptop, which I dislike with passion.... ewwwww, but it will have to wait.
Well this is a sorta update for the people that have been asking where the heck did I go. Until I have the strengh to get back up on the computer and write, this will have to do.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Why Argentina is the best place to buy property
I've been to about 175 countries, and lived in 12. All the while, I've felt the US and Western Europe in particular (but also Canada, to a somewhat lesser degree) are on a slippery slope. So I've always had an eye open for a real second home.
My longtime subscribers will recall my enthusiasm for New Zealand back in the late '90s. Since then, its currency has risen about 75% against the dollar, and well-selected property has roughly doubled or tripled in addition.
New Zealand is still a great place to hang out. I bought a bunch of property and still go there about three months of the year, mainly to play polo and just enjoy the mellow lifestyle. But New Zealand is no longer the bargain it once was; far from it.
I think it's imperative to have a crib outside your home country in today's world. I don't want to get into a detailed discussion of all the possibilities here; that would take a book. But my bottom line is that Argentina is simply the best place in the world right now, all things considered.
It's certainly the cheapest "nice" country in the world. Indeed, Buenos Aires is absolutely one of the world's greatest and most livable cities. The country is running a massive balance of trade surplus. The government (most surprising of all) is running a big fiscal surplus. Rich Europeans are piling in, since Argentina is now ethnically and culturally the most European country in the world. And it should be fairly insulated from WW3. All the stars are aligned for this place. Even as stupid as Argentina's government has traditionally been since the days of Peron, the bull market has a long way to run.
So I'm looking to spend around half the year there. Along with a partner, I bought a ranch in Patagonia 10 years ago, and it's been a spectacular investment.
But if I'd been familiar with Salta province – in the northwest – at the time, I'd never have bothered. The province averages about 5,000 feet in altitude, but is at about the same latitude south as Cuba is north. As a consequence, the climate is perpetually mild. And it's dry. Most of it is indistinguishable from Northern Arizona, New Mexico, or Colorado.
It's possible to buy huge parcels of land very cheaply (e.g. 100,000 acres for US$1,000,000), but that's literally in the middle of nowhere and of very little practical value. You're a feudal lord for the people living there. But if you want a latte and an International Herald Tribune, or anything to eat besides an animal some of the peons have butchered, forget about it.
It's a long-standing tradition at Casey Research that we eat our own cooking, so we've bought a lot of property in Argentina in the last few years. But frankly, I wasn't looking for a bunch more trading sardines; that's what stock certificates are for. I really wanted something I could personally use and enjoy. What we did, therefore, was buy 1,200 acres on the edge of the town of Cafayate, in the south of Salta.
Like San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Cafayate is going to become another Aspen. Or maybe the resort town of Taos, New Mexico, is a better analog. Located in a huge bowl, surrounded by the high Andes, it's quaint and picturesque. Especially since it's the center of a large wine region. So the area is really more like a "Taos meets Napa."
What we're doing on this land is putting in a world-class golf course, spa, health club, vineyard, equestrian facilities, and, in fact, lifestyle amenities of all types. A library, billiard room, cigar bar – you get the idea. Since good workers go for $200 a month, costs will be low, and services will be excellent. My personal vision is to take the best features from developments I know all over the world and put them together here.
I think we've got the right place, the right idea, and the right time. I also think the cost will be right. I expect it will, initially, go for something like 10%-20% of what something similar – but not even close to as nice – would go for in the US
I hope early buyers will be successful people of a libertarian character; no jerks need apply. Then, as soon as possible, we're going to raise prices as high as possible to keep out the riff-raff.
So that's the story right now. For travelling or an outright real estate purchase, Argentina, all things considered, is my favorite place in the world.
This article was written by Doug Casey of The Casey Report for the Daily Wealth newsletter.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I just went to the hospital again today to get all pre-operative paperwork done and I will be admitted to the hospital around 10:30 Wednesday morning, surgery is scheduled for noon and according to the Dr., I should be discharged no later that Thursday afternoon.
And again, according to the Dr.'s opinion, after this intervention, I should be totally in the way to full recovery and hopefully working again within 3 weeks. THANKS GODDESS!
So people, don't freak out I will be away from the computer for several days but I will be doing fine.
This is more confirmation of the demise of the North American economy.
STORE CLOSINGS AND LAYOFFS If you have gift cards, hurry up and use them!!
Just passing this along - FYI
Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores will be shuttered. It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month
Eddie Bauer to close more stores
Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.
Cache closing stores
Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide The owner of retailers Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug , Catherines Plus Sizes will close about 150 underperforming stores this year.
The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer that info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.
Talbots, J. Jill closing stores
About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22 underperforming stores.. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill , another chain it owns. The closures will occur this fiscal year, according to a company press release.
Gap Inc. closing 85 stores
In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic . The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.
Foot Locker to close 140 stores
In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store closures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be. The company could not be immediately reached for comment
Wickes is going out of business
Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores, Wickes, a 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.
Goodbye Levitz / BOMBAY Company - closed already
The furniture retailer, which is going out of business. Levitz first announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910 when Richard Levitz opened his first furniture store in Lebanon , PA. In the 1960s, the warehouse/showroom concept brought Levitz to the forefront of the furniture industry. The local Levitz closures will follow the shutdown of Bombay .
Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores
The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 underperforming stores. The company said it's n ot pro viding a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are stores.
Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores The Walt Disney Company announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. Walt Disney in the news release said it has also obtained the right to close about 98 Disney Stores in the U.S. The press release didn't list those stores.
Home Depot store closings (E. Brunswick, Rt 18, NJ just put up their closing sign)
ATLANTA - Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its core retail stores, The Home Depot Inc. announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S. economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. Its shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the underperforming U.S.stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.
CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store closings Any extended warranties purchased for products through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time during the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.
Macy's - 9 stores
Movie Gallery - 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit
bankruptcyThe video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery
and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental
chain closed last fall.
Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores
Pep Boys - 33 stores
Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 postpaid customers in the fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7% of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores, while remaining mute on other rumors that it will consolidate its headquarters in Kansas Sprint Nextel shares are down $2.89, or nearly 25%, at the time of this writing.
J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back
Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+
stores in an effort to cut costs.
Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores
Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four underperforming Demo stores closed last May.
Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.
Bombay Company: (Freehold Mall store closed) The company unveiled plans to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores. The company's online storefront has discontinued operations.
KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys Information web site, and click on Press Information
Dillard's to Close More Stores
Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing underperforming stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six underperforming stores this year.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
So yesterday we broke the news of the move to my Daddy, well actually, I kinda blurred it while I was updating him on my health.
Well, guess what? He was actually OK with it. I should not be surprised, my 64 year young father has always been a free spirit as much as his circumstances has allowed him. I guess I get that from him.
His reaction was what I was hoping for, but I was not sure what the real time reaction would be.
"That is great baby, be sure to let us know when you get settled down. We've (Daddy and my step-mom, Alma) always wanted to go to Buenos Aires but never really had a clue how to go about it."
Well.... this is one less possibly dramatic moment we don't have to deal with anymore.
My oldest daughter is still in some kind of disbelief, every time I remind her that she will have to start paying for her cellphone sometime on December-January her answer is.... "Sure Mommy, we'll talk about that when and if it is needed"
About my own Mommy, we will try to see if she hears "From the vineyard" as she will either have a heart attack or just won't care at all (hoping for the latter) as she is the DRAMA QUEEN of the family. We are hoping that someone that reads this blog comments it to her. Yeah, kind of cowardly behavior, but with my Mommy, it's about the only way to deal with things.
My brother is coming over next weekend for an "Asado" and I plan to give him the news in person then. I believe he will be OK. He's my baby brother, I'm the oldest and he's the baby, baby. There's 2 more in between us. And those 2 are the ones I worry about, we have one (sister) that will probably be static because we are moving to the other side of the world. Then comes my brother Pepito, I really do not have a clue how he will react. I hope he takes it lightly.
Anyway, the only one that has rather constant contact with me is the one that lives here in Florida. The other 2 live in Puerto Rico and we hardly communicate, same issue like my Mommy.
I think I have been rambling, but I also think it is OK as this is my blog and part of what you do here is to rant away. Hope I did not bore you to death!
Friday, August 1, 2008
From the above linked article:
The nation's unemployment rate climbed to a four-year high of 5.7 percent in July as employers cut 51,000 jobs, dashing the hopes of an influx of young people looking for summer work.
Payroll cuts weren't as deep as the 72,000 predicted by economists, however. And, job losses for both May and June were smaller than previously reported.
July's reductions marked the seventh straight month where employers eliminated jobs. The economy has lost a total of 463,000 jobs so far this year.
And what is our USA government going to say now?
I knew something strange was going on when gas prices started to "go a bit down". I kept telling Horacio, "What are they getting ready to do now?" And it seems that this is it. I think that they are getting us ready to declare full blown recession.
The numbers that where quoted on yesterday's postings are based on the numbers that are being released from the first half or quarter of the year. I heard last night on CNN the economists speaking openly of the huge possibility of the US being in recession but as the figures are "delayed" nobody is being able or willing to accept it.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
From the above linked article:
New York, which faces a steep budget deficit due to declining tax revenues, will slash spending by $630 million by laying off workers, imposing a hiring freeze and other measures, Gov. David Paterson said on Wednesday.
The state's budget director, Laura Anglin, said New York is "officially" in a recession, noting that the state's five last contractions averaged 25 months, more than double the national average of 11 months.
Aqui esta la noticia en español:
El estado de Nueva York se declaró en recesión
US News and World Report has reported on the same subject of my previous post from earlier today:
American dream, changing to the American Nightmare.
Well it's not exactly the same, but still goes to the same end. Americans leaving USA to live abroad permanently.
Argentina estará atada al humor de Riquelme en Pekín
Los cambios de humor de Riquelme suelen influenciar al equipo entero y cuando tiene uno de sus tristemente célebres días malos, Argentina lo sufre.
Growth weaker than hoped; economy shrinks in Q4
From the article linked above:
The country didn't get the energetic rebound in economic growth hoped for from the government's tax rebates in the second quarter, and the economy jolted into reverse at the end of 2007, raising new recession fears.
In my opinion, they are just coming to the realization that they cannot possibly hide the sun with one finger anymore. We are all very intelligent and smart.
From the article that is linked above:
Washington - Some 1.3 million illegal immigrants have left the United States since Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the summer of 2007. If the trend continues, according to a new study, the nation's illegal population will drop by half in the next five years.What they are not noticing about this is that these people have lived in the US for 8-20 years and have families. They are not leaving alone, they are most likely taking their families and believe it or not 3/4 of this families are composed of legal USA citizens. Either one of the couple is a citizen or; one or more of their children are legal US citizens by birth because they where born before the massive prosecution that 9/11 created. They where able to creep thru the cracks of the unjust system that this Country has.
I know a lot of this so called "illegal immigrants", they came to this country legally, they got a Tax ID, they got a driver's license, they have properties, THEY PAY TAXES (more religiously than many US Citizens I know), their kids go to school like any other kid, the parents are part of the PTA's you and I belong to. They had the paperwork ready to request residency circa 2000-2001 as they came in legally, but the system changed unexpectedly, right from underneath their feet. There was nothing wrong wiht what they tried to do at that precise moment, but they got swept with the "illegal" wave.
So they are really not "illegal", people make that mistake too often. Illegal is people that hide, skeem and willingly come into this country with the intention of deceiving the government and other people.
These people become what you would call "undocumented immigrants", they came in legally, again, I want to really make this point, they came into the country LEGALLY and due to unexpected circumstances, they over extended their visa. Or they got caught up in the terror that the raids (ohh I have seen those personally) infunded in the general immigrant population (yeah, there was a point in time here in Orlando, that the immigrants, even if they are temp. residents, permanent residents and even sworn USA Citizens, started going out everyday with their passports in their bags or pockets).
What is going to happen when the USA realize that not only the "illegal and indocumented immigrants" are leaving, but also, for each one of these people, anywhere from 3-5 more people, American Citizens, are also leaving the country? Are they actually going to acknowledge such thing?
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I started browsing thru my lovely blog roll (here on the right!) and I decided to go to Discover Buenos Aires . Dave and Mersal have done a wonderful job of narrating in a very easy to understand way, the things that must be done in the last month of the US part of your life, just before getting on the plane.
They cover things like pet transfer, credit card issues, banking in general issues, packing, Craig Listing what you don't want to take, car insurance, lots of things. I think I have to sit down and start making my own lists. January is coming fast and furious and we really have not done much besides agreeing to move and tell our families.
I wish Dave and Mersal a wonderful trip as I believe they are leaving the States rather shortly, actually I think this week or even today. I hope to get to meet them when I get to Baires.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
A while back, I read somewhere, I can't remember where; There is an empty lot near La Bombonera (the stadium that Boca uses) and some Hinchas, I believe part of La Barra Brava (a group that has gone beyond being fanatics, they are just plainly obssesed). That was interested in getting a hold of this empty lot and wanted to make it a cemetary exclusive for Die Hard Barra Brava corpses. Kind of gory, but that is passion.
This one is courtesy of Daniel Quiroga (all the way from Ushuaia, but a huge Boca fan) in a phone call a while back.
Daniel: Horacio te tengo 2 noticias amigo.
Daniel: Me queda una semana de vida
Daniel: La otra es que me hice hincha de River
Daniel: Es que para que se muera un hincha de Boca, mejor que se muera un Gallina!
Gallina= chicken shit, scary cat, just plain scared out of their lives. The name the Boca hinchas call the River sorry hinchas.
PS: Before I forget, Diego used the number 10 all his life in the teams he belonged to. The number 10 had been retired from the league until a certain young man made his debut in the Argentine league. This young man is Juan Roman Riquelme, my favorite player.... well, I am aware that he has no diplomatic skills and that he has an automatic connection between foot and mouth. But all this is forgiven when you see the skills of the player. Watch this player, he will be one for the history as well.
I specially loved it today as I found a picture either him or his girlfriend Erika took of one of the Argentinian members of "Free Hugs" Campaign. This is a cause that is very dear to me, very close to my heart and one I plan to continue working on as long as I have breath.
This is a post from couple of days ago, maybe last monday. I guess he was not familiar with the campaign so he felt odd when the young man said it was OK to take a pic of him but he had to accept a "abrazo gratis" in order to do so.
So Jackson, be open minded, Buenos Aires and Argentina in general, is one of the friendliest countries in earth. Don't be surprised if the next "Free Hugs" person you meet up in the streets is me, already in Baires and doing what I love most, sharing my love with the world.
Sent about 12 more CV's to online openings.
Went to the interview I landed on my official first day of search. I'll be darned, it was a pre-screening process. I think I did OK, now I have to wait for the darn call for the next step of the interview process.
And decided with Horacio that we are definetively going tomorrow to Prime Outlets to do the App Pick up and then We'll do the App Drop off friday or saturday.
Arrgghhhh, this is kinda frustrating!!!
Had to vent, sorry, isn't that part of what people do on their blogs?
One of the most curious and funny (in my opinion) was the one of my oldest daughter, Nannette Marie.
This conversation came up just after I was discharged from my recent, unexpected, hospital stay.
Goes something like this......
Me: So baby, did I tell you that we are moving?
Her: No mommy, where to? Arizona? Puerto Rico?
Me: No baby, we are moving to Argentina?
Her: WHAT? Did you leave your brains in the hospital bed? Did they also do a lobotomy?
Me: (laughing inside) No sweetie, Horacio and I have been discussing this for a while and the decision has been made. The hospital stay had nothing to do with it.
Her: Mom? You are moving to a 3rd world country, are you insane?
Me: Where do you come up with this assumption? Argentina is NOT a 3rd world country and even if it was; don't you go all the time on mission to what you call 3rd world countries? What makes you think that Argentina is such?
Her: Isn't that in South America?
Me: Hmmmm DUH!
Her: Well, aren't all countries down there considered 3rd world countries?
Me: Thank God I am not paying for you college education because I would "shoot you" right now! And you call yourself a college graduate? Education is not only what they teach you in school. It also comprises what you care to learn on your own. Instead of BSing all day on the net, you should do some searches and learn about Argentina before making such an unjust judgement.
Her: Sorry mom, did not mean to "insult" Argentina.
Me: I know you didn't, but rather than jump to conclusions based on information you have not even verified, I'd do what my grandma told me. If you have nothing good to say about something, better not say anything at all.
Her: You are right mommy. I'm sorry. So mommy, how do we get to see you then?
Me: Well you put that darn passport to good use. Your sisters will do as they choose. I am pretty sure that when you and your sisters visit, you will change your whole idea about Argentina.
Her: So when are you leaving?
Me: Around January 2009.
Her: So soon?
Me: If we could, we would have left already. This country sucks!
Her: (after a minute silence) Well mommy, if you think that is what you and Horacio want, so be it! It may be a fun experience for you and also for us to go visit. Know most of Mexico already and it will be fun going further south.
Me: Good so it is settled? Are you talking to your sisters?
Her: Yes mommy, I'll talk to the girls. Bye mommy, I love you.
Me: I love you too, love you with all I am.
I truly don't think they have really assumed it quite yet. They have some time to adjust. After all, they don't live here with me, they live across the country in Arizona. So we are just moving "a bit further" Je jejejejeje....
Monday, July 28, 2008
I know it will be deep cultural and social shock, but I am immersing myself with all I can find.
Something that I am doing is reading several blogs from expats (ahhh I have to define this, don't I?).
Expats.... An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence. The word comes from the Latin ex (out of) and patria (country, fatherland). Thanks WIKI....
On the left side of this blog you will see my blog list. A more or less accurate list of the blogs that I read at least once a day or when they have new posts.
I have not included there the source to most of this blogs. http://www.expat-blog.com/ . Go visit the blogs and see for yourself what a wonderful experience this can be.
I have achieved an interview, from all places in the world, LITERALLY, 1/2 mile from my residence! Odd, odd. It was one of the first resumes sent this am and I had a feeling that it was close (it had a zip code listed), but I had no clue it was this close. Hopefully it would be great if I get that as I wont have to deal with transportation or gas issues!
Other updates, trip to Prime Outlets has been placed on hold until Friday maybe as I have this interview tomorrow and Dr's appointment on Thursday. Maybe we will go on Wednesday, otherwise, Friday.
I am out of practice, I am rusty. I have not done any serious job searching in over 6 years.
Monster and Career Builder seem like weird places to me. Career Builder tells me that I had not signed on since sometime 2003... I really did not think it was so long.
I was comfortable driving for "The Company" for 4 years and I thought I was going to do this for a longer time. Well, I guess not.
I have sent over 15 resumes today. Can anybody tell me how long am I supossed to wait? I am in a total loss. I do not remember.
In a few, Horacio and I are going to go to Prime Outlets. All the stores are hiring and to be brutally honest, I think I will do better in that kind of environment because of my old skills and knowledge of the business and the flexibility that it offers. So there I go to pick up applications and spend a whole day filling out repetitive information. The repeptitive writing will most likely create the situation where I'll get callbacks thanking me for my interest but that I am overqualified for the positions available. Darn if you do, darn if you don't.
I had been "successfully" employed for about 4.5 years, the longest I've ever been employed in my life, seriously. This was a job that I truly loved, made lots of friends and honestly had lots of fun while doing it.
What was bad about the job was the management. While we are all independent contractors, there is still a big cheese on top of all of us. When I started working, till the today's day, the owner of the company has been the same, no change there. What has changed is his attitude towards us and towards the company. And with the type of changes that I have seen within this person, this is a company that I wish not to be associated to any longer. FINITO!
Besides that, the stress that the changes in the company was creating on me, was a big contributor aggravating the state of my health. And my health is something that I am not going to gamble with anymore.
After the huge scare I had this month, I have placed my priorities in better order and ME and MY HEALTH are right up there on the very, very top.
In the same time period, several other things have gone from "plans" to solid goals. Such as our move to Argentina. This had been a plan that "was on the table" and now has been etched in stone.
We had been thinking out loud about this for a while, pondering, wondering.... and now we are pondering no more. It will happen! We are scheduling this move around December 2007-January 2008. We need the time range to be this big, because it is a BIG HUGE move! Takes a lot of time and preparation and bureaucracy.
And this part of my life is what this Blog is mostly gonna be about.... Our move from US to Argentina. It seems to be the next big adventure coming up in my life... (besides finding a way to support this household in the meantime we leave for good).
Till next one
Yeah, why did it take me this long to start this?
I do a lot of things in life with no sense or reason. But this (writing about my life, our life) it is something I have wanted to do for a long, long time. Lack of time? Lack of ideas? Lack of guts? I think the latter.
Well now I guess, I will have some time in my hands for a while. FYI, I have officially resigned to the job I had for about 4.5 years. In total honesty, I have no idea what is next. Bills are approaching fast and furious.... Horacio does not want to say anything out loud, but I know he's worried. He supports my decision of leaving my job, he wants me to get all better for good, and he knows this was part of what was making me sick, but never the less, he's worried.
I have "so-called" started many projects involving my creative side and normally, responsibilities take over my research and transcribing time, therefore, they remain unfinished, work in progress.
This time I will follow thru till the end.
Are you going to join me for the ride?